Café Middle Eastern

Rustic Pearl – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

This is a review of Rustic Pearl, a small hole-in-the-wall cafe that offers coffee and Turkish-inspired foods for takeaway only during the COVID-19 period.

The original “BOMBA” ($12) is basically a lavash toastie with eggs, sausage, tomato and filled with lots of cheese. The bread is thin and crispy, and the contents very hot and overflowing with tomato flavour. Definitely eat this one hot, it gets quite boring once cold.

The meat burek ($8) is cheap and wonderful, and in fact everything I thought the Bomba should be. It’s basically a giant ravioli filled to the brim with sauce, vegetables, and meat. It comes with an excellent chilli dippling sauce, which unfortunately isn’t available for solo purchase (however they tell us they’re working on a business case). This is an absolutely unmissable component of Rustic Pearl’s 2020 offerings.

The brownie was rich, and I really appreciated the nuts.

The Angel cake was rich also, but not too sweet. A winner.

This caramel cookie was light and crumbly, so much so that it crumbled upon holding. Yum.

Special attention should be paid towards Rustic Pearls’ dark hot chocolate. It is rich and dark and not too sweet, something which is often hard to find. I would rate it together with Bourke St Bakery’s hot chocolate.

Overall I can definitely recommend paying Rustic Pearl a visit. Start with the meat burek with the chilli sauce, and explore outwards.

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Rustic Pearl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Asian Fusion Café Italian Korean

Amuze – Darlinghurst NSW Restaurant Review

This is not a criticism of Amuze at all, but as I was driving to Amuze in one of Sydney CBD’s many 40 km/hr zones a man in a white Porsche Cayenne aggressively tailgated me, beeped his horn at me, then ultimately did an illegal U-turn through double lines. As I was looking for parking near Amuze I once again saw this man, still in his car, parked adjacent to one of the only free spots directly outside the restaurant. As I didn’t want to be assaulted by this bad man I had to keep driving and eventually park around the corner.

Amuze salmon steak

I had the salmon steak ($19.50) consisting of a piece of pan-fried salmon atop salad with spiralised zuchini, sun dried tomatoes and carrot and a side of potato. The salmon itself was delicious, with crispy skin and a partially cooked inside. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed the spiralised zucchini salad – it was really tasty with its zesty flavours. The potatoes had a nice fried exterior however I felt the interior was too starchy.

While I ate outside, the interior of the restaurant looked really nice. There’s plenty more on the menu that I’d like to try – the cafe pride itself on a number of Korean inspired dishes, and has a few Korean chefs.

Will come back soon I hope.

UPDATE 15/11/2020

So I did come back, five days after my initial meal – this time with my partner and one of our emergency medicine friends.

Amuze cream cheese pancakes

The cream cheese pancakes ($17.50) were good. The pancakes themselves were soft with a complex slightly sourdough-like flavour, and not too sweet (yum). There was a huge serving of cream cheese topping (yum), compote (yum), and fresh strawberries and blueberries (standard).

Amuze spaghetti white truffle ragu

The spaghetti white truffle ragu ($19.50) was delicious! The sauce was creamy and flavourful. The sausage mince added additional bursts of flavour atop the sauce. The spaghetti was cooked a bit too al dente for me, but still yummy.

Coffee ($3.80 for a latte), was unfaultable – very good.

Closing comments – while Amuze bills itself as Korean-Italian fusion, my impression is that their menu consists of either Korean or Italian dishes. The three dishes that we’ve tried (and the chicken parma that my ED colleague tried – not pictured or reviewed) were all firmly in the Italian camp of things, with no real Korean touches. I wonder if the other half of the menu – which consists of kimchi ramen and bibimbap among other things – have more Western elements in them. Not a complaint – just an observation.


1 Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
0487 037 757

Amuze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Bakery Chinese

方包 Square Handmade Bread – Waterloo NSW Bakery Review

We happened across Square Handmade Bread after eating at Luckfood Fish Dumplings in Waterloo. It is a small bakery with modern facilities offering high-priced luxury breads as well as some desserts on a pre-order basis. Most breads were $15.80 per loaf, coming to $16.04 after credit card fees. They also serve coffee made from Grounds of Alexandria beans.

We ordered a loaf of garlic bomb bread – garlic bread loaf with cream cheese filling.

The square garlic bomb bread was quite good. It was not like a normal garlic bread, more sweet than salty. There was a lot of cream cheese filling, which I thought was actually to its detriment. I more enjoyed the crusty, less flavoured anterior, than the greasy creamy interior.

While good, I didn’t feel like this small half-loaf sized bread was worth $16.04. I concur with Robert H’s review in Google Reviews in this regard. For this reason, I am giving a 3/5, which could easily be a 4 if half the price.

方包 Square Handmade Bread
Shop 7, 5 Potter St, Waterloo NSW 2017, Australia
0415 353 369

方包 Square Handmade Bread Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Asian Fusion Café Chinese

Flour Drum – Newtown Brunch Review

I’ve wanted to eat at Flour Drum for some time, but had avoided it in view of the terrifying parking situation in Newtown. I was finally able to bundle up the spoons to brave the King St parking situation this weekend, only to find that parking isn’t so bad on a Sunday morning. We had a dish from their regular menu, and a dish from their Spring inspired menu. Allow me to discuss.

The handmade pappardelle with 8-hours slow braised South Australian Lamb Shank Ragu shallot and chili infused olive oil and Cyprian volcanic black sea salt ($26.50) is a very long name, but one which adequately describes the components of this dish. This was a safe choice, and a very delicious one. The pasta was cooked softer than al dentre, which was good for me, because I’m basic. I really enjoyed the flavours, and the fresh chopped chilli gave the ragu the perfect amount of spice. I couldn’t identify the volcanic black sea salt, but have no doubt it was present. I don’t know what this really added to the dish over and beyond what normal salt would have added.

I’m going to be honest, I was highly skeptical of the Handmade Pork and Prawns Dumplings with Egg Noodles in a Chicken Broth, Chinese Bok Choy, Japanese Roasted Seaweed and Parsley. I am often wary of Asian food in a predominantly Caucasian restaurant, as more often than not it is more expensive, and less good. Flour drum’s pork and prawn dumplings were the exception to the rule. The dumplings were bursting with umami flavour, and could compete with any other dumpling and wonton in wide circulation. They were really the star of the show, with the fresh bok choy a close second. I thought that the noodles and soup were a bit too plain and mild-flavoured, an opinion my partner originally held but subsequently changed her mind on. I would recommend this dish for the taste of dumplings alone, however the price ($22-25 from memory) is far too much, and a dish of similar quality and construction would not surpass $12 at your local Chinese restaurant (I’m aware one of the co-owners of Flour Drum (Victor Li) is of Asian descent)

This giant M&M cookie was like $7. It was fine. Its structural rigidity was poor but I don’t know how they could have done better with such a large surface area.

Overall I think Flour Drum is just fine. The food is good, and I’m impressed by how they are able to create both Eastern and Western dishes quite competently. My big criticism has to be the price however, especially for strictly Chinese dishes that have an obvious and equally high quality counterpart in your local Chinese restaurant for half the price.

3.5/5 (including price adjustment)

Flour Drum Newtown
531 King St, Newtown NSW
(02) 9565 2822

Flour Drum Newtown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Café Modern Australian

A1 Canteen (Revisited) – Chippendale NSW Brunch Review

When we heard that A1 Canteen in Chippendale was closing down, we knew we had to visit again to try their famous curry eggs before they disappeared off the face of the planet. These were the same eggs that mesmerized me during my previous visit to A1 Canteen back in July.

Armed with months of insider parking knowledge, we booked ahead and found street parking early in the day. This was a much less awful process than last time.

Curried scrambled eggs

While visually arresting, the curried scrambled eggs ($19) were ultimately a bit of a disappointment. The dish basically consists of three elements – egg, sausage, and muffin. The egg is meant to be the star of the dish, but I found it the weakest component. Despite its orangey look, the eggs were in fact not that curried. The curry flavour was quite weak, and did not live up to the expectations set by the eyes. They were cooked just fine, but definitely were not as light and perfect as those at Dopa. The muffin component was superb. They were toasted to a crisp ideal of perfection, contrasting synergistically with the runniness of the eggs. The sausage, which is from local delicatessen LP’s, was complexly textured and enjoyable. My partner specifically remarked how nice it was to get a normal sausage as opposed to a chorizo which she feels is a bit overdone in the brunch scene.

Panna Cotta

A1 Canteen also served me my first ever Panna Cotta ($13) with stewed rhubarb ( I thought it was strawberry), long pepper, and olive oil. I thought it was fine. My partner was more enamoured with it than me, so I will let her explain in her own words: “The olive oil added a lot to it in a surprising way. It was creamy and yummy and I really liked the olive oil and it was not something I thought would go with it, but it really brought out the flavours. I never experienced such an olivey flavour before.”

Overall I was again a bit disappointed by A1 Canteen, but I would’ve been equally disappointed if they had closed down without me every trying the curried eggs. Go if you want.

A1 Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato