Categories
Chinese

Hungry Paulie 愛呷囝仔 – Eastwood NSW Restaurant Review

Tucked away on Trelawney St on the Chinese side of Eastwood is Hungry Paulie, purveyor or fine Taiwanese breakfast foods.

The Traditional Egg Pancake with Fried Bread Stick (P15 台式蛋饼包油条 – $9.50) is similar to but not quite the same as the jianbing guozi (煎饼馃子) that I had in my childhood. Thin pancakes with a layer of egg omlette are wrapped around freshly fried yóutiáo, with a bit of very light soy flavoured dressing on top. The yóutiáo at Hungry Paulie are seriously good and well worth a mention, each hand-prepared on site from scratch by artisans working behind a glass window. I can recommend this.

My partner was a big fan of the Black Pepper Pork Pastry with Shallots (Paulie Pie) (P1 胡椒饼 – $6.50), which was essentially a large spherical pie with a huge amount of peppery beef steak filling. There is little in common between this meat pie and the classic Australian meat pie. The shape is almost spherical, with a more dough-reinforced base at the bottom and minimal crust up top. The filing is steak-dominated, with big chunks of chewable meat in a black-pepper rich semi-solid gravy. It was pretty good, and at $6.50 good value and worth a try.

My partner, keen on a dessert dish, ordered the hot Roasted Peanut Rice Milk (D2 – 花生米浆 – $4) This wasn’t quite what she expected. Rather than being a dessert, it was more of a staple meal, with quite a significant size and warmth to it. It had a distinctive peanut flavour and it wasn’t too sweet, but neither of us was a big fan of it. Perhaps it just wasn’t what we were looking for this morning.

The Taiwanese Anchovy Congee (C16 – 台式吻仔鱼粥 – $12) is a loose, wet congee flavoured with little dried anchovies. It is much looser than the congees of my childhood, though not to its detriment. The toppings of youtiao and fried wonton skins added a nice amount of crunch, but unfortunately the anchovy added only a slight almost-imperceptible umami flavour. Though this was a nicely warming bowl overall, I don’t think I really got much out of the anchovy flavouring. I think that if I were to come back I would get a more standard congee, like the one with preserved egg and pork, which is a known favourite.

The Braised Combo Noodle Soup (N6 – 红烧手工牛肉三宝面 – $18.50) was ordered essentially because there was a portrait of it sitting in front of me at the bar seats. It was probably fine, but to be honest at this point in the meal we were a bit too full to enjoy anything properly. The noodles had a slight mala flavour, which I normally don’t mind (and even enjoy) but didn’t appeal to me today. It was packed with protein of multiple bovine sources – muscle, tendon, rumen, and probably some reticulum too. Whilst I enjoyed the muscle, I could only bring myself to nibble on the other beef parts – I think it really is a dish best ordered hungry. The noodles were otherwise good, and the baby bok choy was very tender and sweet. I feel like I disappointed this dish, not the other way around.

The Savoury Rice Pudding (T1 – 碗粿 – $7) was a creamy, almost radish-cakey lump of starch in a bowl of gravy and mince. It was tasty and good, though I’m still not really sure what was inside

SUBSEQUENT VISIT
We re-visited Hungry Paulie around 7 months later, under a cloud of general malaise (short-lived, and well worth the extra protection) following the third dose of a COVID vaccine.

The Soy Bean Jelly with Sweet Soft Peanut (花生甜豆花 – $5.50) was like a wet, loose dou fu nao. There was less tofu than I would’ve liked, but I felt it was still adequately soft and silky, suspended in this soy milk soup. My partner, in a moment of surprisingly conviction, said that she thought that the tofu in this was still not as silky as what she gets at yum cha.

The Braised Soy Egg (滷蛋 – $2.50) was a soy egg, cut into quarters, and presented with a bit of garlic and chilli sauce. While there were no surprises with the egg itself, the addition of sauce was completely unexpected, as was the addition of shallots and lettuce. The sauce was ultimately quite tasty, and added to the experience. It’s interesting that there is a price differential between ordering this in the restaurant and via an online ordering app. It appears to be cheaper delivered, which is just strange.

The Fried Radish Cake in Garlic Sauce Dressing ($5.50) was unexpectedly enjoyable. I’m normally not a believer in the radish cakes, but this one had me surprised. The outer layers were crispily fried, whilst the gooey inner layer was only modestly thick and barely noticeable. These radish cakes were drenched in a similar sauce to the eggs, which was very valuable to adding flavour. I think that with optimal frying dimensions and garlic sauce dressing these radish cakes were able to be enjoyed even by the non radish cake lover.

The Traditional Shallots Pancake with Braised Beef (牛肉捲餅 – $11.50) was not as good as the egg pancake, and not as good as I hoped. The actual pancake itself was stellar – thin, hot, and crispy, and with good shallot flavour. What was unfortunate was the filling that the shallot was wrapped around – a huge mass of lettuce, with a small amount of dressing and some cold braised beef. I think some warmth on the beef would’ve gone a long way, and it was certainly not helped by the mass of cold, internally wet lettuce. They really need to rethink this one.

The Taiwanese Pork Thick Soup with Bamboo and added Rice (嘉義赤肉羹 – $17) was quite enjoyable. It had a quality similar to a hot and sour soup, with plenty of white pepper flavour as well as something similar to bonito flake on top. It was thickened, with a reasonable amount of meat, bamboo, and mushrooms for the price. We were almost going to riot for not getting our rice, until we realised it was actually hidden inside the soup. So it was essentially a kind of congee.

This Wintermelon Iced Tea ($3.50) was super fresh, a bit sweet but not too sweet, and quite importantly, cheap. It makes a joke out of Hong Kong Bing Sutt charging $7 for a (delicious) iced milk tea.

VERDICT
I quite liked Hungry Paulie, and I’d like to take my parents to the Mascot branch once they feel safe enough from a COVID-19 to leave the house. There are plenty of things that I remember from my childhood on offer at Hungry Paulie that I think they would enjoy.

Hungry Paulie 愛呷囝仔 Eastwood
Shop 3/3-5 Trelawney St, Eastwood NSW 2122
0411 660 866

Categories
Café Japanese

Kurumac – Marrickville NSW Cafe Review

Kurumac’s hanging basketball

Kurumac is one of the first Asian cafes I ever visited, and one of the ones that got me hooked on the concept. An inner-west spin off of Kirribilli’s cool mac, Kurumac delivers some of the best and only Japanese-focused breakfast and brunch in the city, with the added benefit of not having to rub shoulders with the sleazy political types that haunt its North Shore sister. While most Asian cafes do their best to fuse both Asian and Western flavours, Kurumac proudly serves a focused Japanese meal.

Assorted sashimi seafood, sushi rice, miso soup

The Assorted sashimi seafood, sushi rice, miso soup ($19 when eaten in June 2020, now sadly $25 in December 2020) is a revelation. It was the first and still one of the best sashimi bowls I’ve ever had. The top layer of salmon sashimi is lightly grilled and slightly sauced to perfection. The salmon roe is delicious and it is clear that they took effort to source some high quality produce. The scallops are sweet and fresh, as are the cooked prawns. The miso soup was the perfect accompaniment to the remaining rice at the end of the dish. While not mini in size, I would consider this a mini-version of Simulation Senpai’s Hoseki Bako, very high quality but missing some of the luxury elements.

Grilled samlon congee, salmon skin

The grilled salmon congee with crispy salmon skin ($17) was so good that we had it twice. The congee is warm and wholesome, with a nice serving of grilled salmon and a topping of delicious salmon roe and shallots. The grilled salmon provides a umami flavour that permeates the entire congee, while the crispy salmon skin on the side adds a delightful crunch with an additional burst of salt. The preserved vegetables on the side are more sweet than salty and thus help to add balance to the dish.

The Pickled mustard, Cod Roe Omlette, Rice, Tonjiru Pork and Veg Soup ($19) is the weakest of all of the dishes I’ve had at Kurumac. The top half of the egg was nice, but it wasn’t immediately obvious that the cod roe would be in discrete parcels of saltiness and spiciness rather than mixed in with the egg – this led to lost opportunities as it was quite a while into the dish that I found them. The soup of strong onion and radish taste was a bit too salty and tasted a bit too agricultural for me. I wouldn’t recommend this dish.

Spicy cod roe melt

The spicy cod roe melt ($12) is an expensive but delicious piece of toast with a huge amount of heavy, rich spicy mentai mayo on top. This was one of the dishes that rekindled my interest in cod roe, and I actually tried to recreate it at home to much less success. Not Kurumac’s healthiest dish, but well worth a try.

Japanese Style White Toast, Seaweed Butter

While the spicy cod roe melt is a heavy and decadent piece of bread, the Japanese Style White Toast with Seaweed Butter ($6) is much lighter. This is a simple dish of a very thick piece of toast (in my opinion it is too thick) and a small bowl of seaweed butter. The seaweed butter provides a nice umami flavour, but in my opinion is a bit too mild to enjoy with such a large quantity of bread, even when fully spread over the toast. This would suit individuals with a more delicate palate.

The seasonal milkshake ($9.50) changes with the season. Mine was a large kiwifruit milkshake made with gelato from Newtown’s Mapo (one of my favourite gelato stores). It is huge and expensive, served within the metal milkshake tumbler. I would recommend the Hojicha Milkshake, available for the same price, if available.

The Latte ($4) is just normal coffee.

The Matcha Latte ($4.50) is quite good, served in a nice little stone cup. It is not sweetened.

CONCLUSION

You may be able to tell that I really like Kurumac. It’s one of my favourite cafes in Sydney, and I expect that as time passes and their menu changes you will also see new items added to this review.

5/5 basukettobōru.

Kurumac
107 Addison Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 8593 9449

Kurumac Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories
Asian Fusion Café Chinese

Quick Brown Fox Eatery – Pyrmont NSW Café Review

There are few things I love more in a café than a competent all-day menu with Asian-fusion dishes. Quick Brown Fox Eatery in Pyrmont, owned and run by siblings with a menu designed by consulting chef/wizard Tomislav Martinovic, fits the bill perfectly.

Quick Brown Fox is set up in what feels a lot like a gingerbread house, with both internal and outdoor seating. The café was decorated with lots and lots of Christmas themed decorations (in early January), and had a board which read “364 days to Christmas” in storage at the back between the main café and the restrooms. I’ve typically put off trying out restaurants within the CBD on weekdays, however there is surprisingly plentiful two hour ticketed street parking located within a short walk, and if you’re having problems there’s also the nearby fish market parking at a reasonable price.

The Koshihikari Rice Congee ($24.50) with confit ocean trout ($9) was expensive and delicious. It was warm and wholesome, as all congees should be. The general flavour of the congee was mild, not overseasoned, however with a hint of unexpected ma and la added by the fermented chilli relish. We loved the familiar Asian tastes of coriander and enoki mushroom, though thought that the chilli fried egg was just a touch too fried and wonder if this already very good dish would have been even better with a slow egg instead (a la 3 Rōnin). The maple glazed bacon was so thick cut that it was basically pork belly at this point, though no complaints from us at all. I think it was probably too much to expect that a $9 piece of confit ocean trout would live up to the standard set by Tetsuya’s, though a hungry man can dream. It was fine though – the serving size was a bit small, but the taste, especially the additional umami and variety it added to the dish, was good. Overall a really great dish.

The Buttermilk Pancakes ($23.50) were my partner’s choice, and in my opinion the inferior choice. It consisted of a very generous serving of 4 buttermilk pancakes (although for $23.50 what is generous and what’s just to be expected?) topped with toffee, blackberries, salted pecan crumble and served with some passionfruit ice cream. The pancakes were adequately sour, and the toppings did not make the dish too sweet. I enjoyed the pecan crumble and the ice cream, which were in a league of their own compared to the rest of the ingredients. My partner thought that the toffee sauce tasted a bit stale, and while I could see what she meant I’m not certain that that wasn’t just the intended taste. Faced with a number of delicious looking and sounding savoury items I wouldn’t order this again.

My partner did indulge in a pretty standard Mimosa ($13) whilst I as the very responsible designated driver had a very good soy latte. Quick Brown Fox does offer bottomless mimosas for $30 per person for 90 minutes, or bottomless cocktails (bloody mary, aperol spritz, espresso martini) for $40 per person however we decided against this as my partner never really uses up her full allocation of alcoholic beverages.

VERDICT

Part time chef, part time wizard Tomislav Martinovic has essentially done it again with a beautiful menu of Asian-fusion delights, even better than at Three Williams. There are many more things I’d like to try at Quick Brown Fox and I can’t wait to go back.

Five tomislavs.

Quick Brown Fox Eatery
22 Union St, Pyrmont NSW 2009
(02) 9660 6345

Categories
Asian Fusion Café Middle Eastern

Paramount Coffee Project – Surry Hills NSW Cafe Review

To their credit, Paramount Coffee Project is situated near some pretty adequate and convenient 2-hour ticketed street parking.

I’m not usually one to complain about poor service but Paramount Coffee Project takes the concept of not trying to a new level.

After a brief wait for a table (they don’t take reservations) my partner and I were led to a very small table, given a menu, and essentially left to our own devices. During the next fifteen minutes we exchanged anxious glances with the middle aged couple at the table next to us, wondering when or if our waiter would reappear to take our orders. There was a moment of slight absurdity and an empathetic look from the gentleman on the adjacent table when our waiter took their order, didn’t look at us, and returned leisurely to the mothership to process it before returning to us.

A further point of friction occurred as we ordered our meal. I asked our waiter if we could add an additional side to one of our dishes, and he told us he’d check. He never got back to us, leaving us in suspense until our food arrived. The aforementioned size of the tables became problematic not for us, but for our comrades in the PCP experience next door. Their very normal sized order of two mains were unable to fit on their very-small table. The waiter helpfully suggested that they lay their water jug and glasses on the floor as they ate.

I was initially not convinced by the Maple Iced Coffee with almond milk ($6.50) but it grew on me. It started off a bit too sour as almond coffees often do, but then the sweetness of the maple came in midway and add an interesting and nice dimension.

The Vanilla Malt Shake ($8.50) was expensive but quite tasty. The flavour was not too sweet, and the shake was really well aerated, as you can see in the photo. I would recommend this.

Ginseng Congee ($25)

Pictured here is the Ginseng congee ($25) with kale, fried enoki, soy egg, pickled ginger, furikake , with chilli ground pork, and brisket. The congee itself at its basest vegetarian state is $15, and an additional $4 was added for chilli ground pork and a further $6 for brisket. The brisket is originally on the menu as an add-on to Paramount Coffee Project’s bibimbap, but given we weren’t going to order both the congee and the bibimbap we thought it would be worthwhile to see if we could get the beef as an addon to this dish instead. When asked our waiter told us he wasn’t sure if this was possible but would check – something that he literally never closed the loop on. It wasn’t until the food physically arrived at our table that we knew what we would be getting.

I actually quite enjoyed the ginseng congee all loaded up. It had a nice heartwarming feel to it, and the flavours were not too strong (avoiding having too much of the pickled ginger). I quite enjoyed the strange addition of deep fried enoki, which is not something I’ve had before. The soy egg was yummy with the congee but I wish there had been more than half an egg for this $25 bowl. The chilli ground pork was a good accompaniment for the meal, while the wagyu brisket which did not really feel like wagyu disappointed. While a bit pricey I can definitely recommend this dish, perhaps with just the chilli pork mince. My partner didn’t really like this dish as she felt like she had to eat the pickled ginger.

Soft baked eggs

My partner’s (much weaker) choice was the baked eggs in habanero salsa, topped with blanched kale and garlic toast with LP’s pork sausage and housemade labneh ($23). It was a very sour dish thanks to both the salsa and the labneh that we ultimately didn’t finish. The only redeeming feature of this dish was LP’s reliably good smallgood. I wouldn’t recommend thsi one.

CONCLUSION
I didn’t really have a great time at Paramount Coffee Project, and I would recommend you spending your hard earned money and free time there either. While the congee is good, Sydney is full of good congees to try. Add PCP’s to the end of your list if you must.

2.5/5, actively bad service

Paramount Coffee Project
80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 1122

The Paramount Coffee Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Café Thai

Boon Cafe – Haymarket NSW Thai Cafe Review

We walked past many enticing restaurants this morning to eat at Boon Cafe, a Thai cafe, restaurant and grocery store in the Sydney CBD.

Boon Cafe has minimal dining space, we counted a total of five tables and not much room for expansion. The tables were small, but somehow able to fit all of our food, condiments, and even some flowers snugly.

We started with a Pork Skewer ($3.50), which was pretty standard fare. I found the skewer a bit too tasty/salty to eat by itself, and think it would’ve been better with some rice (which luckily they offer as a meal) .

I really enjoyed the Chicken and Ginger Congee ($12), to which we added a Century Egg ($3). They got the flavours just right, with a generous serving of ginger. The century egg I would regard as essential for this dish, to add another dimension of umami flavour and texture. We found that the congee was very wholesome and warming, and can strongly recommend this. My girlfriend remarked that as a child she hated congee, but as an adult, getting to eat these wholesome and varied congees has really taught her to love it.

The chicken wings were nothing to really write home about but not bad either. They were a little on the dry side, but the flavours were good, as was the dipping sauce. They were split in half for ease of consumption, which was a nice touch.

The Khao Dtom Sen ($14) is a member of the Winter Special menu, and not to our taste. I thought that the soup had a bit of an undesirable coat-your-mouth feel, and my partner thought it was fishy however I suspect that’s just her brain’s explanation of something she doesn’t like.

I ended up quite liking Boon Cafe, in particular the congee. I would definitely consider going back and just getting more congee! I wouldn’t stray too far from that though (although I can’t speak for the lunch or dinner menus).

This is a handsome little street cat from around the area.

Boon Cafe
1/425 Pitt St, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9281 2114

Boon Cafe Eatery & Jarern Chai Grocer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato