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Café Middle Eastern

Nineteen43 Bakehouse – Rockdale NSW Cafe Review

Nineteen43 is a Lebanese cafe in Rockdale, only a few minutes drive from my work. I visited for a quick breakfast after a night shift, and a takeaway meal to bring home to my partner.

Hummus & Lamb

The Hummus & Lamb ($18), with 12 hour slow cooked lamb shawarma shoulder served w/ Smokey paprika, burnt butter & pickled chillies with a side of fresh baked flat bread looked and sounded like it would be good.

The beautiful plating of lamb floating on a bed of red-sprinkled hummus was really quite appealing – it’s just unfortunate that the taste did not live up to what the eyes predicted. I found the meat to be way too overmarinated and oversalted. It was just too tasty. I had hoped that the hummus would provide some sort of reprieve from the oral salt bath that was the meat, however it itself was also quite tasty. The flat bread was fresh and actually quite delicious, but given the amount of salt in the meal the quantity of bread was just plainly inadequate.

Portuguese Tart

The Portuguese Tart was OK if you’re a fan of the big floppy ones. The filling was quite floppy inside, however I thought that the pastry was actually quite good.

Breakfast Pan

This is the takeaway version of the Breakfast Pan ($23), with two poached eggs, grilled haloumi, sujoq, garlic mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, crumbled feta, avocado and toasted sourdough.

I wonder if the dining-in version really is served in a pan, or merely a plate. I also wonder if the name indicates that all the ingredients were cooked in the same pan, but find that unlikely given that the eggs are poached. My partner quite enjoyed this. She liked basically all of the key components of the meal, barring the feta which she thought was a bit too baa for her. I also indulged in a few choice bites, and can safely say that this dish does not suffer from the sodium load issues of the hummus and lamb. I can recommend this one – a bit like a big breakfast.

Smoked Wagyu Kaak

I didn’t think I would go back to Nineteen43 after the eat-in dishes above, but given the buzz around their toasties/kaaks I thought I would give it a try. I’m glad I did. The Smoked Wagyu Kaak ($19, chips included) is actual wow. The thin slice of Jack’s Creek smoked wagyu was all that was needed to give the kaak a strong and delicious umami flavour. The pickles, slaw, and harissa mayonnaise added a great tanginess to the smoked wagyu kaak, one that I can still imagine on my tongue now. The chips that came with the smoked wagyu kaak were fresh shoestring fries, however I wonder if it can be ordered without them as the kaak stands well on its own without any need for additional carbs. I can definitely recommend this.

The Sujoq & Egg Kaak ($11, $14 pictured) with cream cheese, Sujoq (Middle Eastern Chorizo), Fetta shallots, & two fried eggs and the addition of halloumi ($3) was good but didn’t quite live up to the standard set by the Smoked Wagyu Kaak. I liked the taste of their sujoq, which I often don’t, and I thought that the addition of two eggs in this toastie was quite generous. The flavours were salty and eggy, just as a bacon and egg or chorizo and egg roll should be, however I found myself missing the zesty taste of the Wagyu Kaak’s pickles and slaw. I’d still recommend this – just not quite what I was looking for at the time.

Four Cheese Kaak with Pastrami and Tomato

The Four Cheese Kaak with Pastrami and Tomato ($14.50) was pretty good, but again not as good as the smoked wagyu kaak. I’ve never been a fan of cheese by itself, and I think that the tomato and pastrami were essential addons to the base four cheese. I would rate this above the egg and sujuk kaak just thanks to the freshness afforded by the addition of tomato. I wish I could add some smoked wagyu onto this so that I could have their smoked wagyu kaak for breakfast.

Lebanese chicken Foldover

The Lebanese chicken Foldover ($17) with Marinated free range chicken, slaw, Lebanese pickles, harissa mayonnaise dressing served w/ a side of French fries is a weaker offering than Nineteen43’s kaaks. While the kaaks offered a crispiness in the dough, this was not achieved by the bread wrapped around this foldover. The flavours erred towards the slightly-too-tasty side of things and reminded me of the first bad meal I had at Nineteen43, however thankfully this was tempered by the freshness of the Lebanese pickles. The chips in this dish were seasoned with a bit of spicy seasoning, as opposed to coming plain salted as they did with the wagyu kaak. Ultimately not a bad dish but not as good as the others on offer.

VERDICT

Would I come to Nineteen43 again? Yes- it is close enough to my work with enough unlimited parking in the council railway carkpark around the clock (there’s all day parking which was still available around 11:30AM, and also 15 minute parking suitable for takeaway). I would definitely warn any friends and colleagues away from the lamb and hummus (unless you’re on oral salt replacement – in which case eat away), but recommend the kaaks wholeheartedly.

4/5

Nineteen43 Cafe
7 Geeves Ave, Rockdale NSW 2216
(02) 9597 3595

Nineteen43 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Café Middle Eastern

Silly Tart Kitchen – Potts Point NSW Cafe Review

My partner had a hankering for mimoas last week and it was my duty and pleasure to fill the role of designated driver on our trip to Silly Tart. She had the bottomless drinks, a choice of any four cocktails for $35 per person for 1.5 hours, and we both shared the “feed me” tasting menu, also $35 per person. While the menu lists the “feed me” as being only for a minimum party of 4 people, they were happy to accommodate our indecisiveness as a couple.

We sat in the outside “garden” portion, open to air but with a translucent roof covering which provided a degree of shade. There was a nice breeze and some grapes on the tree outside. Semi-fit for COVID-19 dining.

Hummus with lemon sauce and warm flatbread.

Our first dish of our tasting menu was the hummus with lemon sauce and warm flatbread. This was a good dish to start on. The hummus was mild but flavourful, and as you can see quite well plated with its garnish of shallott, tiny radishes, and cut up cherry tomato. The warm flatbread was indeed warm and served in two forms. There was more than enough flatbread to mop up all of the hummus and even enough left over to eat with the next dish.

grilled asparagus, apple, pecorino with lemon sauce

The grilled asparagus, apple, pecorino with lemon sauce was quite good. The asparagus was drenched in olive oil which I think is pretty much unavoidable for grilled asparagus. The lemon sauce was the same as the previous dish, and I wish they had mixed it up a little. The green sauce was I think a pesto but not too pesto-y.

Hash of pumpkin, salt and vinegar potato, herbs and shallot

This is a hash of pumpkin from the chef’s father’s garden in Goulburn NSW with salt and vinegar potato and herbs and shallot from the herb garden that we were sitting in. I’m not particularly sure why the provenance of the pumpkin was so important to point out, as if the unnamed chef’s father was some kind of famous pumpkin king (if so, why not tell us his name?). We liked this dish overall. Salt and vinegar is one of my partner’s favourite seasonings on her favourite legume. There was a lot of shallot, as with the previous two dishes, which was not all finished.

The house specialty, corn fritters and tomato relish with their house-smoked 2 week crispy bacon was the fourth and final course. The house-smoked 2 crispy bacon was indeed extremely crispy, thin, and delicious. It was just packed with umami and flavour, and we were sad that there was so little of it – especially as this was the only meat we got all meal. The corn fritters themselves were quite bad, with a poor internal texture that was more bready than corny. The tomato relish was nice and just the tiniest bit spicy.

As mentioned, my partner enjoyed three different cocktails while I indulged in a delicious glass of water.

The water was filtered and chilled, served in a glass bottle and drunk from quite a large and heavy glass. I did have the opportunity to sneak a sip of each of the cocktails – Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Grapefruit Gin Spritzer, however take it from my partner that they were all quite good. My partner’s favourite cocktail was the bloody mary, which she thought was bloody delicious.

VERDICT

While ultimately a good time, I would have liked it more if there was more meat. The dishes were all quite repetitive, with an overreliance on shallot a recurring motif. It would even be a very reasonable place to come as a vegetarian, if you’re happy to miss out on a few pieces of bacon. Silly Tart Kitchen otherwise provides good value as a $35 pp tasting menu, as well as a $35 pp bottomless drinks service. They also offer 700mL premixes of their cocktails at a very low price ($15-ish).

4/5 but give me more meats

Silly Tart Kitchen
1 Kellett St, Potts Point NSW 2011, Australia
+61 2 9331 1048

The Silly Tart Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato