Roastville Coffee Roasters – Marrickville NSW Restaurant Review

I love a good all day food menu, and while I’ve been delving into the world of making espresso at home, it’s been a two in one action to try out cafes with their own beans to see if I manage to find something I really like for the home machine.

The Tasmanian salmon fish cakes ($22) featured two rounded fish cakes atop a bed of yuzu aioli and covered in herbed slaw and radish, with a side of poached egg. The slaw was crunchy and fresh, perfectly countering the friedness and unexpected potato-ness of the fish cakes and the creaminess of the mayonnaise bed. It was a tasty dish, kind of reminiscent of the salmon salad at A Man and His Monkey which I also enjoyed, but I wish I had been forewarned about the potato.

The green chilli scrambled eggs ($25 including extra halloumi) was solid, comfort stuff, with a huge serving of tasty eggs with green chilli, red banana chilli, cherry tomatoes and herbs on seeded sourdough. I rarely get scrambled eggs at cafes, but I actually quite enjoyed this. It was, like the salmon fish cakes, a creative dish that ventures outside of café staples.

The side of fried chicken ($5) served with spicy mayo was sadly not good in all the worst ways – damp on the outside, but dry on the inside. There are a couple of dishes on Roastville’s menu that centre around fried chicken, like their waffle dish, so unfortunately those don’t sound too promising either. No one kicks every goal.

Coffee was alright, but not phenomenal enough for me to dial in a new bag of beans.

COMMENTS: Despite being a commercial coffee roaster, Roastville’s cafe operation actually has quite a fun and interesting all day food menu, that matches the expectations set by Sydney’s top notch of cafes. I had a good meal. I’d definitely like to return for seasonal variations.

Roastville Coffee Roasters
157 Victoria Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 9560 4802

Asian Fusion Café

Haven Specialty Coffee – Rosebery NSW Restaurant Review

Just a stone’s throw away from Slurp! Slurp! (our favourite Eastern suburbs dumpling restaurant to date) is Haven Specialty Coffee, a coffee roaster and cafe specialising in that all important Asian fusion brunch cuisine. We paid them a visit the morning after a particularly difficult ICU night shift for my partner – her first run ever without a more senior colleague on site.

I arrived early as my partner trudged through a prolonged Monday morning handover and enjoyed myself a standard large soy latte ($5.70). The price was significant, even for coffee that is presumably roasted on site. Not being much of a coffee connoisseur I thought that perhaps the first sip had a hint of prawn flavour, but subsequent sips were pretty uncontroversial.

The jackfruit ragu toastie with bacon ($20) was an expensive but loaded sandwich. I always forget what jackfruit is, so I ordered this sandwich expecting a guava-like sweetness which I thought would match well with a bit of salty bacon. It turns out that jackfruit, despite looking kind of tropical, is nothing like guava, not really sweet at all, but with an thicker, chewier, almost mushroom like chew and texture. The majority of the flavour of this toastie was thus a result of the hummus, which also donated a degree of stickiness to the mixture, and definitely added to by the bacon, which was thick cut and unusually expensive (a $5 supplement on top of the $15 base toastie). It would’ve been too mild without it, but ultimately well balanced.

Our other choice was the grilled broccolini salad with a piece of fried chicken ($25). It was actually not that dissimilar from the jackfruit toastie, it too being quite based in hummus and chickpea. At this point I’m not really sure why they’re billed as Asian fusion, as we certainly didn’t have much hummus at my house when I was growing up. This dish was ordered as it was felt to be a bit more wholesome than some of the other options on the menu, and indeed the broccolini, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, and random greenery were both tasty and likely relatively healthy. The $7 addition for a piece of fried chicken probably tipped the health-rating of this meal back into a state of badness, but further into the realm of goodness in terms of taste. The chicken freshly fried, juicy on the inside with a crispy batter on the outside. It was seasoned minimally but seasoned well, and really added a nice degree of substance and warmth to this otherwise vegan dish.

I begged my partner not to, but she grabbed a nutella choc chip cookie ($6) on the way out. It didn’t amaze or enthral. Not the best cookie going around, but I’ve essentially been spoiled by the S-tier cookies at Cafe Cre Asion and nothing has really done it for me since.

We had a pretty good meal at Haven, even if we did manage to ruin their only two vegan dishes through the addition of meat. I’d like to come back at some point for their mini French toast with earl grey custard, which looks great.

Haven Specialty Coffee Rosebery
7 Crewe Pl, Rosebery NSW 2018


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.

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

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

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.

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

Asian Fusion Café Korean

CNR58 – Concord NSW Restaurant Review

Brunch that is slightly Asian is my favourite kind of brunch, and CNR58 brought the slightly Korean goods to the table this mother’s day just passed.

The Miso Salmon Eggs Benedict was a commination of things that I generally like, but don’t necessarily go together. This particular miso salmon was my third or fourth in recent times, and compared to its competitors in the Western Sydney sphere I found the salmon to be cooked well, but underflavoured. The miso on offer was really just a hint, and I feel that a stronger flavour could’ve added a lot, especially in view of the similarly low-taste pile of sliced cucumber. The eggs benedict side of the dish, on the other hand, were faultless. Arranged in two separate toast islands for the couple that loves to share, the eggs were poached to a runny perfection often sought but rarely seen. A dish half good half middling (does that make it three quarters good?)

The Chicken & Waffles was a very surprising dish. Having seen all the Korean staff manning the restaurant I had expected some combination of Korean fried chicken and waffle. What I got instead was chicken in more of a tempura batter than the classic Korean fried chicken batter, with a sweet maple-tabasco sauce that made the entire meal highly reminiscent of Chinese restaurant honey chicken. Apart from the unexpected sweetness of the dish the bacon was well cooked, and the waffle had a far nicer texture and flavour than my other most recent waffle experience at 3 Ronin.

I thought the Chicken Sausages were uninspiring.

We actually went to CNR58 in seek of their lunch menu, only to find out that it only starts at 11AM (nowhere online is this suggested to be the case). The dishes I had for breakfast were in the grand scheme of things only OK, but I would still go back to try their promising looking lunch and dinner offerings.