Categories
Bakery

LODE Pies & Pastries – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

There is something very special and expensive happening at LODE Pies and Pastries, a venture born during the pandemic as online-order, bake-at-home versions of LuMi’s pies and now come of age as its own little Crown St pastry shop.

This sausage roll ($7) with its filling of differently textured bits of meat was good but did not blow my mind. It is at a high tier of sausage rolls, but it didn’t really do anything extremely special for me to grant it the rank of master.

Lode’s Fruit Tart ($10) changes on a semi-regular basis, and we were treated to this delicious mandarin version on our visit. This tart featured fresh mandarin atop a bed of semi-sweet creme patissiere, itself on top of a nutty and texturally complex mixture of mandarin jam and macadamia frangipane, all of which was encased in and supported by a base of multi-layered flaky pastry. This was a very strong sweet snack, and with Lode’s frequent iterations on the theme of fruit tart certain to be a recurrent drawcard for return visitors.

The Mr Peanut ($11), a log of sugar-dusted croissant dough filled with peanut frangipane, caramelised banana and a hint of dark chocolate was a bit sweeter than its fruity colleague, but still very good. This was an extra-dense log of sweetness and butteriness, with the tried and true breakfast combination of banana, peanut, and chocolate in the filling complimenting but not overpowering the pastry.

The LuMi Pithivier ($20), an unusually expensive pie with a pork and shittake mushroom filling in a laminated pie crust served with a chicken sauce is Lode’s flagship item, and ultimately not mind-blowing, especially at the princely sum commanded. The crust was clearly multi-layered and delicately built, but I didn’t feel that the flavours of the filling was good or special enough to earn it all the accolades heaped upon it online. Maybe the combination of pork and mushroom isn’t so much a novelty to my palate as it is to others. This pie, like the sausage roll, was good but just didn’t blow my mind.

COMMENTS: I thoroughly enjoyed the mandarin tart, as well as the bread-components of each pastry itself, but felt that the fillings of the savoury dishes didn’t quite tickle my fancy. Having said that, my partner is constantly wanting to go back (I resist), and that’s probably a market of goodness in itself.

Lode Pies & Pastries
487 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Categories
Australian British

Fish Butchery – Waterloo NSW Restaurant Review

We were excited to eat at Fish Butchery after reading some pretty glowing reviews online and glowing feedback from our friends about related restaurants Saint Peter and Charcoal Fish. Despite such expectations our moderately-long drive to Waterloo was sadly not met with as much joy as we had hoped.

While I’m not usually one to complain loudly about service, preferring to focus on the food, I think that the ultra-premium prices paid at Fish Butchery does invite greater reflection into what exactly one is paying for. The first red flag of our visit, apart from the prices of the familiar raw fish (Murray cod and Clhinook salmon) in the fishmonger’s display that were easily 50-100% greater than what you’d expect to pay from your favourite internet-based fish market delivery service, was that the staff seemed to be too busy to wipe the crumbs off the tables between customers until the new customer’s food was ready to be served. This meant that we sat with crumbs in front of us, not really seeing a staff member venture outside for about half an hour as we waited to be served.

Though Fish Butchery styles itself as a takeaway joint the reality of it is that it’s a restaurant, complete with both indoor and outdoor seating. There are just normal expectations around the cleanliness of tables when you’re spending $80 between two for lunch, and these weren’t fulfilled.

The Al Pastor Swordfish Tacos (2 pieces for $24) were not what I was looking for. Though grilled, they were not as grilled as I had hoped, and arrived to us lukewarm at best. The internal fish meat was on the raw to rare spectrum, which is not what I was expecting but did not cause any physical bodily harm. The flavours of this taco were highly mild, though the sweetness and juiciness of the grilled pineapple was a very welcome addition to what was otherwise a barren and expensive half moon.

The fish sausage roll ($22 with chips and a Strange Love soda) was the highlight of the situation. The sausage roll, filled with a mixture of Murray Cod, Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, and cured Murry Cod fat had a very good depth of flavour and fatty moistness inside. The pastry was a crust above your average sausage roll, but to be expected given the asking price. The potato chips were unfortunately actually not very good, and even my potato fiend partner was unable and unwilling to finish them. The tomato sauce was rich and good. Unlike the rest of the things we had at Fish Butchery I could actually give a positive recommendation for this sausage roll, though by itself ($14) rather than with the chips.

I didn’t love this hyped up Yellowfin Tuna Cheeseburger Double ($20). I don’t think there was anything special about it apart from the use of fish over mammal, and I don’t think the flavour or texture really lived up to a burger made of methane-producing cow. The inside of these tuna patties was a bit rare, but I think that’s probably OK because we literally eat sashimi and these guys are the fish experts.

The regular salad ($14), half cauliflower and half eggplant was actually pretty good, if oily. A non-fish product that was not weighed down by fishy expectations.

THOUGHTS

I really wanted to like Fish Butchery, but outside of the single sausage roll nothing else that I had really wowed me, especially at its price point but even if they were more reasonably priced. I expected better from a guy who charges $150 for a piece of stainless steel specifically to weigh down cooking fish.

Fish Butchery Waterloo
965 Bourke St, Waterloo NSW 2017
02 8960 0903

Categories
American Australian

BUSH – Redfern NSW Restaurant Review

BUSH’s cheeseburgers were the stuff of legend. Heralded across the internet as some of the best in Sydney, these now-discontinued drew countless intrepid eaters to this tiny 7-item-menu restaurant.

To be honest, I didn’t’ find BUSH’s cheeseburger ($15) to be that much of a revelation. What I found was an extremely standard affair – smash pattie, a slice of American cheese, some pickle, and some tomato-mayonnaise between two pieces of bun. It was just a very normal burger, and I actually think that in its single configuration it was a bit under-meated. Unfortunately I wasn’t aware that it came as a double until a gentleman on an adjacent table received his, as the option of adding an additional patty was not written on the extremely brief menu. Not amazing.

Nan’s Sausage Roll ($6) was an excellent rendition of the classic Australian sausage roll. It wasn’t long – almost party-roll sized – but what it lacked in length it made up in height and width. The well puffed pastry was wrapped around a relatively gargantuan mass of textured beef mince, which was tasty and juicy. The gob of standard tomato sauce was as standard as standard could be.

This MAPO wattleseed ice cream drenched in honey ($5-ish) was pretty good. Light and refreshing, with that unmistakable MAPO quality.

THOUGHTS
While BUSH didn’t quite live up to the burger-hype, their menu has since completely changed and my lukewarm feelings might need to be refreshed by another visit.

BUSH
55 George St, Redfern NSW 2016
0432 439 966

Categories
Bakery

Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie – Alexandria NSW Bakery Café Review

“Textbook is my favourite cafe,” said my friend-turned-anaesthetist one day, “I always go and get a croissant after a night shift”.

Pictured above are the Chicken and truffle pie, Beef and jalapeño sausage roll, and Pork and apple sausage roll. As it has been no less than three and a half months since I’ve eaten these pastries, my memory is a bit hazy. I think I enjoyed the pork and apple sausage roll the most, and beef and jalapeno sausage roll a close second. The pork and apple I remember to be nice and mild with a subtle sweetness.

This pastry with fig was figtastic. I particularly enjoyed the fresh fig.

The green tea citrus dessert was yum but expensive. A soft interior.

My overall impression is that Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie was good, but I cannot state why. Stay tuned.

Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie
274 Botany Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015
(02) 9699 6156

Categories
Asian Fusion Bakery Café

Humble Bakery – Surry Hills NSW Cafe Review

“Humble Bakery is pretty humble and quiet,” my friend said to me after my visit yesterday, “don’t let too many people know.”

“Don’t worry.” I replied. “No one reads my blog anyway.”

Humble Bakery is located on Holt St in Surry Hills, surrounded by plenty of ticketed parking. Venture around the corner onto Hart St, however, and you might just be able to snag a free one hour park. The cafe has high ceilings, large light-filled windows, and an open kitchen, allowing curious diners the opportunity to surreptitiously take photos of their work.

I had brunch on a Sunday morning with just one other customer around a large communal table, with room for at least another ten and some more classic dining tables on the back platform. While Humble Bakery might have been able to fly under the radar up to now, the quality of its offerings suggest to me that this anonymity is unlikely to last, regardless of what kind of review I empty into the river.

The Croissant around LP’s Pig Head Sausage ($10) is widely lauded but I think ultimately not as great as it could be. LP’s smallgoods are generally unfaultable, and it’s hard to not like a dish that incorporates them. The missing X factor is the croissant (ie. the Bakery’s domain), which I felt was colder than it should’ve been. I feel like this kind of croissant sausage roll should be warm inside and out, and even though I was eating in it just felt lukewarm. Not really a great buy for $10, I wouldn’t recommend this.

Pork Belly Roll with kimchi, carrot, jalapenos and mayonnaise ($18)

The Pork Belly Roll with kimchi, carrot, jalapenos and mayonnaise ($18) is truly very good. The bread is fresh and warm, perfect for soaking up all of the flavourful juices of the roll. The pork belly is undersold on the menu – there is no mention of it being five spice pork belly, and an accurate representation of it at that. The kimchi, carrot, and jalapenos (mild) add a delicious freshness to the roll. This was a really great sandwich, much better than the LP’s pig head croissant, and one that I would strongly recommend. A surprisingly coherent Asian fusion roll – just don’t compare it to your local Hot Bread store’s in terms of price.

VERDICT
My meal started off weak but ended up strong. I’d like to come back to Humble Bakery when I get the chance.

Four out of five spices

Humble Bakery
50 Holt St, Surry Hills NSW 2010