New to Westmead this year, Keramic is a religious café and restaurant situated within a 100 year old (1921) Uniting Church owned cottage, the result of a collaboration between the Kongfucius team across the road and the Parramatta Mission. Originally a family home and subsequently a church coffee shop, the café is nicely decorated with period appropriate furniture, ornaments, and photographs of dead people.
Though there is adequate outside seating with park benches, we chose to sit inside in a well appointed family dining room for our post nights breakfast. I want to draw particular attention to these nice candles that my partner would’ve liked to see. She recently spent $16 on a candle stick from some inner west concept store because she thought they would melt nicely. As the owners of cats I really don’t see when they will come into use. My cat set herself on fire on the stove as recently as last night. (She’s OK)
I ordered Hannah’s Favourite ($15) for my 8:30AM breakfast, a fully lunchy meal consisting of a chicken curry of the day (massaman), sticky rice, and a fried egg. This was a very standard lunch meal that you could get from essentially any Thai restaurant. There was nothing particularly remarkable about this dish – just chicken breast in massaman curry sauce, a cylinder of well proportioned sticky rice, and a moist well-fried egg – though I guess you could say it is remarkable to have such a cultural lunch dish amongst Keramic’s otherwise mostly Western menu.
Takeaway service at Frango’s is instantaneous. Stacks upon stacks of charcoaled chicken are on display in the window, ready to be cut into quarters, lathered with chilli sauce, and popped into foil-lined paper bags.
This review needs to be read in consideration of the following two facts:
Chicken travelled for around 40 minutes in the boot of my car as we then went to Hakiki’s before home.
With these caveats in mind, I still found the chicken at Frango’s disappointing. I have heard a lot of good things about Frango’s over the past few years, however never had an opportunity to try until now. My reference point for charcoal chicken in Sydney is El Jannah, compared to which Frango’s chicken is decidedly dry. Frango’s chicken has a light mushroomy taste, and what seemed to be a generous basting of chilli sauce turned out to be utterly inadequate – any sense of chilli flavour was difficult to find. I will admit to adding some Nando’s peri peri sauce at home, while my partner ate her chicken with some Pilpel garlic sauce.
Oddly enough Frango’s greek salad had red capsicum and celery inside. It was fine, nothing to write home about.
Frango’s is listed in a wide array of top-lists for charcoal chicken in Sydney, however I didn’t think Frango’s lived up to the hype. If I may be so bold, I would even say that when it comes to Portuguese chicken I have enjoyed chain restaurants Oporto, Nando’s, and Ogalo more. A bit of a let down.
Kepos Street Kitchen came highly recommended by a vegetarian colleague of ours. Naturally we went without him to share a meat-heavy meal before a swing at nearby Moore Park.
The Charred broccolini salad, shredded chicken, coarse burghul, herbs ($18) was delicious. As a group we are not the biggest fans of salad, but all members of our party ended up enjoying it. There is a surprisingly generous amount of chicken tucked in with all the greens and grains.
The Burrata cheese, Persian eggplant, pine nuts, volcanic salt ($22) was pretty good. The cheese was firm on the outside and less firm on the inside, as expected. The real star of this dish was the crusty, freshly toasted bread. Delicious.
The Grilled prawns, chermoula, grilled lemon ($27) came with five prawns. The prawns were quite large and tasty, and the lemon was too (though I was tricked by a colleague into an entire quarter of the lemon pictured in one mouthful by itself). I’m still trying to come to terms with paying $5.40 per prawn though.
Kepos meatball sub, coriander paste, grated haloumi, ciabatta ($18) was very good. Plenty of meat and red sauce on crusty warm bread. Very yum and a good serving of meat. A strong recommendation for this one.
The Arayes pita of wagyu mince seasoned with parsley, onion, olive oil, cumin and paprika, chili tomato salad, tahini, pita ($18) started off good, however quickly we found it to be too flavourful and too saucy. You will recognise this complaint of “too tasty” from many of my reviews, and in this case you can rest assured that this was a view that was held by the majority of our group. I would not recommend Kepos Street Kitchen’s Arayes pita.
Pictured here is a half serve of chips, which were provided complimentary as they had forgotten to make our chips. Even this half serving was quite a lot of chips. The chips were fresh and fluffy on the inside, with a cripsy exterior. They may just be the best hot chips I’ve had in a long long time. There’s definitely something special going on, owing perhaps to a proprietary cooking method. At $7 (for twice the chips listed) I would give them a go.
Pretty much everything we had hit the spot. I can recommend.
We had a really special meal last night at Corner 75, a local Randwick restaurant that has been open for over 40 years.
I had made a reservation earlier in the evening, and on arrival we were greeted by name by Paul Varga, owner and host, and led through the dimly lit but bustling restaurant to our table. Before I get to the food, the service and atmosphere at Corner 75 must be commended. The restaurant had a real family feel – after all it is a family venture. We dined among both younger groups and older couples, many of whom seem to be regulars of the restaurant and know the staff very well. Throughout our meal Paul continued to address me by name, which impressed me so much as remembering names is something I have a lot of difficulty with.
The hortobayi crepe of shredded chicken and paprika sauce ($15) was special. The chicken filling was tender and juicy, and the paprika sauce added a umami flavour that I had never experienced before. This entree really set the scene for a truly memorable meal of new Hungarian flavours.
The Veal Goulash with nokedli ($29) was not what we thought it was. Our last experience with goulash was probably at Stock Market on the UNSW campus around 7 years ago. This goulash was much less of a soup and more of a main meal. There were many large chunks of tender veal, and my partner commented it was much more tender and delicious than any meat I have ever tried to stew or slow cook. The nokedli, a kind of formless pasta dumpling, were a bit underflavoured for me, even when used to mop up the sauce. My partner liked it however, and liked how springy it was too. I would’ve liked this dish to have around twice as much sauce, as we did end up wanting for more with nokedli left over.
We were upsold on the Fresh Cucumber Salad ($6.50) to pair with our goulash. We hadn’t originally intended to have it, but the proprietor recommended it, citing the ability of the sour cucumber to cut the rich taste of the goulash. It was actually pretty good. The cucumbers had been long marinated in a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, and sugar, and topped with paprika. Paul later came back and admitted to the upsell, but we had to admit that we liked it.
While the Corner 75 house specialty, Crispy Roast Duckling with mashed potato & red cabbage ($37.50) is sold without it, it really needs to be eaten paired with their delicious cherry sauce ($3.50). I was initially a bit hesitant about eating duckling, until my learned colleague reminded me that it was the birthright of my people to eat every animal that walks, swims, flies or squawks. This was a really good dish. The duck was soft and tender, with a nice crispy skin. The red cabbage was sweet and delicious, and was a good foil for the rich duck. The potato mash was buttery. The cherry sauce was an absolute treat, with a sour and sweet flavour that added a really special touch.
The Cherry Strudel with vanilla ice cream ($12.50) was yum, the cherry being more tart than in the cherry sauce served with the duckling. The sourness of t he strudel’s filling worked well with the pastry’s sweetness. The vanilla ice cream was good, if standard. It was thoughtful of them to split our one serving into two to share.
I can really recommend Corner 75 in Randwick. Somewhere over the last forty years the restaurant has found and managed to keep something truly special. I can’t wait to come back, and maybe over the next four years of my partner working in Randwick we will become regulars too.
$110 for 2 including one glass of red 5 little roasted ducklings
This is a review of the Soul Dining modern Korean tasting menu as at 13th November 2020. All portions shown were served for 3 people, at $65 per person.
Our first dish was Kingfish in kimchi water with avocado puree, white kimchi. We had six pieces between the three of us to be eaten in one mouthful each. The kingfish sashimi was tender and fresh. The avocado puree added a surprising dimension of creamy umami. The kimchi water added a mild tanginess that was not too kimchi for my partner (an anti-kimchi individual) to eat and enjoy.
The wagyu tartare with singo pear and egg yolk (yukhoe) served on tempura seaweed was special. The wagyu was soft and minced and the egg yolk mixed in expertly by my partner coated it with a level of umami. The tempura seaweed provided a nice crunch for a fun mix of textures. A great dish.
Kim’s grilled eggplant with anchovy paste, tomato jam, manchego was in my opinion the weakest dish of the meal . I guess I’m not a big fan of eggplant and the histamine feeling in the mouth and throat to begin with. I could not at all identify the anchovy paste. The manchego shaved over the eggplant provided a nice sweetness, and melted by the end of the dish.
The Lamb backstrap in potato bun with cabbage salad, green tomato relish, cumin was also a bit weak. The lamb backstrap was steak-form, not minced, and crumbed. It didn’t really feel like more than your standard burger. I wonder if our three person serving was the same size as the two person servings, but just cut in 3 pieces. My partner took a fork and picked up the middle piece first. She thought it was a bit too lamby and could’ve used more cumin, however both myself and her brother thought that the lambiness was just fine. This was one of the favourite courses for my partner’s brother.
The Half free range chicken ‘traditional way’ with Korean chilli glaze is basically Korean fried chicken with a twist. The chicken was fried but not battered. The meat was tender and juicy, and my partner thought it was more tender and juicy than the crispy chicken at Khoi’s Vietnamese in Surry Hills that we had had the previous night. The presentation was really nice with a nice mix of colours. A good dish.
The Cinnamon Churros with espresso glaze, salted caramel ice cream, sea salt and coffee peanuts would be my pick of dessert. The churros were nice and crunchy. I am not normally a fan of salted caramels and while it was true again today I did not mind it. I liked the difference in temperatures between the churros and cold ice cream.
As a non-fan of honey, I actually quite enjoyed the honey in this Snow bingsoo with baked mango, mango sorbet, milk snow, honey and nutmeg. What I didn’t enjoy so much was the sheer volume of baked mango which added too strong a concentrated, sticky, and dry mangoness to this mango dessert. Despite this I enjoyed this bingsoo more than the last time I had bingsoo at Hello Happy in Strathfield.
The house provided this Green tea panna cotta with chantilly cream & strawberries, dango, rice syrup dessert for us for free. It was very generous of them to allow us to try all three desserts, as normally with two diners only one dessert is provided. It’s hard to judge this dessert as it was served last, after our palates had been sweetened by the previous two. The green tea panna cotta was not sweet.
The omija with five berries spritz was good. Not too sweet. The yuzu iced tea I thought was a bit too sweet, and not iced enough on serving. It could’ve done with a few more shakes to cool the liquid down a bit.
Overall we had a great meal at Soul Dining. Service from one of the Caucasian front of house staff was also very good. She was very friendly. $65 per person for a tasting menu of this caliber is also a very good price. I’d love to come back for a few more things on the a la carte menu, for example their octopus.