Rosso Antico Pizza Bar

Part of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is go through the lists of best pizzas in Sydney online and try every single one of them. This was our first stop.

Rosso Antico accepts no reservations but does takeaway, so if you cannot be bothered to wait too long, you can just get a box and go. We arrived early and managed to get a table after only about ten minutes.

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We started with appetizers of Crocchette di patate, or fried potato croquettes with mozzarella, garlic & parsley and Olive con taleggio, or olives fried in breadcrumbs with taleggio cheese. You don’t see crumbed olives often, and these didn’t disappoint. Everything was crunchy and rather indulgent.

We followed this with a shared pasta with mussels, which while delicious wasn’t anything special. I think my local Italian can do this dish just as well.

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Rosso Antico has billed itself as traditional Italian pizza, taking it back to its “original roots”. My experience with traditional pizza has always been - you have to like crust or you’re screwed. I am the kind of person that grew up leaving the ends of crust (granted it was Pizza Hut) , wasn’t into bread (sourdough changed my life as an adult, but that’s another story) and thus as an adult likes her pizza thin and crunchy. This is not that pizza. That is not to say that it wasn’t good, it’s just not the pizza I would default to.

The first pizza had two different cheeses (fior di latte & scamorza) and three kinds of mushrooms. I don’t think I’ve ever had scamorza before, it is according to google, a pear shaped cheese made the same way as mozarella but drier. I think the combination of cheese made it less rich - but that’s not a bad thing - and made it just the right level of gooey, meaning it still stretched off the plate but not so that it missed your mouth. (And yes, it was good, but I would suggest adding something to the mushrooms so it’s not just that.)

The second pizza was unique, in that it was this calzone where they folded only half of the pizza and left the other half out. This was the best dish of the night. Since my companions are not meat eaters, we asked for the meat to be replaced by anchovies, which they left on the outside so that they would cook properly and not affect the rolled portion.

And yes, I still left most of the crust but I enjoyed the pizza.

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Right before we left, one of the guys came out from behind the counter to show us his pizza throwing skills. He did some breakdancing moves while throwing around some dough!

The verdict: Was the pizza good? Yes.

Will I be back? Yes, but I’m not going to rush and I will try other places first.

Was it worth being on a best pizza list? Ask me again after I’ve tried all the other pizzas!

Caffe Bartolo

Sydney is experiencing an Italian Renaissance, so to speak, and Italian restaurants are popping up everywhere. Every single one of them is meant to be critically acclaimed run by a special chef done by a well known restaurant group that also did something else equally popular during the last food trend. That said, I love Italian food and am determined to give all these restaurants a try! (More food for me, I say!)

For my birthday this year, I chose Caffe Bartolo, a quiet, unassuming cafe that transforms into a bistro at night. We decided to go during lunch time as it is child friendly and my friends were bringing their baby.

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We started our meal with the mortadella. I wasn’t expecting it to come out in cannoli and it was a pleasant surprise. The meat was rich and juicy, like a sausage pate, and the cream livened up the mixture giving it different textures and flavours. If there’s one dish you have to order, it’s this one.

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The polpo (octopus) with salsa arrabiata, nduja and bronze fennel was delicious and well-flavoured. Nduja is such a thing now, I feel like I’ve had it with a lot of seafood, and it goes well with it. (Nduja is spicy, spreadable pork salami)

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We shared everything, including two serves of this savoury sausage and fennel ragu.

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While the food was excellent, I cannot commend the service enough. The service was impeccable. The waiter recommended a fabulous white wine, and all the staff was attentive throughout. I would recommend this place based on the service alone and plan to come back one night to check out the bistro.

Continental Deli

I know it’s been while, so I thought I’d kick start this year with one of my favourite restaurants, Continental Deli. I have dinner here a few times a year - being spoiled for choice in Sydney, that says a lot - and regularly take overseas guests here for a meal. The place is great for dinner or even just hanging out in the downstairs bar with a drink and some charcuterie - my pescatarian and vego friends always find something to eat as well. The restaurant itself has a casual vibe and the staff are friendly and very knowledgeable.

We started the night off with some steak tartare, served with potato crisps. The saltiness of the crisps gave an extra tang to the tartare mix, with the added crunch seemingly enhancing the flavour. I don’t always get tartare when it’s available as it can sometimes taste very raw and gamey but their tartare has a fresh flavour that is good enough to fool you into believing that it isn’t raw. (I think the crisps might help with that too…)

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The charcuterie plate was classic, they use the finest meats topped with pickles and some chili. I would’ve wanted a cheese plate to go with it, but some people in our party don’t like cheese. (I know, right?)

The next dish is one of my favourites, it is barbecued, topped with nduja, romesco, aoili and peppers. (Yes, there’s an octopus under there) The octopus is always perfectly charred, never chewy and in whatever incarnation its in - they change the accompanying flavours occasionally - it is always perfect to me.

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Fennel salad

Fennel salad

The day’s special was a carbonara. It was good, but no different from other carbonaras I’ve had.

The day’s special was a carbonara. It was good, but no different from other carbonaras I’ve had.

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The Angus Beef sirloin with spring onions and smoked celeriac remoulade was also perfectly cooked, a nice medium rare just seared so.

While I liked the Tiramisu dessert below, it was nothing special. Perhaps desserts aren’t their strength

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All in all a lovely dinner, as expected. For me this restaurant can never disappoint, and I’m always happy to introduce people to this place.

Cho Cho San

Cho Cho San is a very popular smallish restaurant in Darlinghurst. (Would recommend booking ahead) It can best be described as Japanese with Australian elements. If you are looking for straight up, classic Japanese or even really good sashimi, this isn't the place to be. Not that their sashimi wasn't good, it just wasn't anything special. If you're looking for a restaurant that's creative and innovative with their Japanese, this could be one to try. The food is fun and light and their banquets are good value. (We had 10 dishes for $80.) There's also an option for a sake pairing, and while I didn't have it, friends that did really enjoyed and found the drinks really complementary to the meal. 

Edamame Dip  - Loved the crunchy chips, not the usual way I would have my edamame, but it was still good, and not as salty

Edamame Dip - Loved the crunchy chips, not the usual way I would have my edamame, but it was still good, and not as salty

Chicken Karaage   - Crunchy and fried and juicy

Chicken Karaage  - Crunchy and fried and juicy

Ocean Trout Sashimi  - the sauce had pre-added wasabi, and a bit of a tang

Ocean Trout Sashimi - the sauce had pre-added wasabi, and a bit of a tang

Kingfish Sashimi

Kingfish Sashimi

Pork Katsu Steam Bun  - one of my favorite dishes of the night

Pork Katsu Steam Bun - one of my favorite dishes of the night

I liked this dish so much, here is a close up. Crunchy, Flavorful and well balanced by the softness of the bao. I could have had more than one.

I liked this dish so much, here is a close up. Crunchy, Flavorful and well balanced by the softness of the bao. I could have had more than one.

Fried Brown Rice, Shitake & Egg   - less fatty than the usual fried rice, went well with a lot of the dishes

Fried Brown Rice, Shitake & Egg  - less fatty than the usual fried rice, went well with a lot of the dishes

Wagyu Beef -  Soft and well-cooked, not hard to chew

Wagyu Beef - Soft and well-cooked, not hard to chew

Matcha Tiramisu -   I did not like this, the texture was powdery and you could just taste powder not cream

Matcha Tiramisu -  I did not like this, the texture was powdery and you could just taste powder not cream

Black Sesame Mochi ice Cream  - my ultimate favorite! Yummy and squishy

Black Sesame Mochi ice Cream - my ultimate favorite! Yummy and squishy

The Banquet Menu that we chose

The Banquet Menu that we chose

Holy Duck!

Holy Duck! My first experience here wasn't great and I was ready to write it off when a friend told me they had revamped their menu and made some improvements. Went back to give it a try and it did not disappoint.

I will be the first to admit that we may have over-ordered! Despite the party of five we did get a little over excited, and with one vegetarian I was afraid she wouldn't have enough to eat. Boy, was I wrong. All the servings are large, designed to share, and good for feeding the hungry! (I haven't even got a photo of the fried rice or the calamari!)

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Roast Beef Short Rib - this was juicy and cooked just right  

Crispy Spring Chicken

Crispy Spring Chicken

Getting ready for duck! Glad the waiter cut it all up for us  

Getting ready for duck! Glad the waiter cut it all up for us  

The star of our show! Duck! Made into pancakes with cucumber and spring onion. I love eating the crunchy bits. 

The star of our show! Duck! Made into pancakes with cucumber and spring onion. I love eating the crunchy bits. 

Handmade Salt & Pepper & Egg Tofu - This was my favorite actually. It was crunchy and crisp and it was like the vego equivalent of fried chicken.

Handmade Salt & Pepper & Egg Tofu - This was my favorite actually. It was crunchy and crisp and it was like the vego equivalent of fried chicken.

Sichuan Style Battered Crispy Zucchini -  a tiny bit spicy, but nice and crunchy we didn't have any of this leftover in the end.

Sichuan Style Battered Crispy Zucchini - a tiny bit spicy, but nice and crunchy we didn't have any of this leftover in the end.

Holy Duck is at Kensington Street, in Chippendale

Porch and Parlour

On a fine, 38 degree summer day, we decided to make it to the beach after work. As soon as we got there, we encountered gale force winds (it certainly felt that way!) and with sand in our eyes, we had to admit defeat. So we went for drinks instead.  On the left, a gin & tonic. On the right, their version of an Aperol Spritz.

Buffalo mozarella with heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, basil and balsamic. I don't really like watermelon, so it was a good thing that I couldn't distinguish them from the tomatoes and just ate it. Very light and refreshing

Pan-fried calamari with chickpeas, cucumber and radish, harissa and lemon. This dish surprised us. I would never think of combining calamari with chickpeas but it kept it fresh and just a bit tangy. The calamari was well cooked too, none of that stringy, chewy business that happens when you overcook it.

The piece de resistance: their Charcuterie Board. I love me a good Charcuterie board, but when the waiter recommended it I didn't think much of it. After all, how hard is it to throw a bunch of meat and cheese on a plate. He was right though, this is the best Charcuterie board I have ever had. Everything on this board was delicious, flavorful and combined well. 

Dessert: Chocolate tart with coconut yoghurt. A fantastic ender to what ended up being a great night at the beach, or rather at the nearby 

Porch and Parlour, 17-18/110 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi NSW 2206

The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay

The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay  has the advantage of being situated in view of one of the most beautfiul sunsets in Sydney. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of this because I was too busy eating. 

Ceviche of Coromandel Imperador Smoked Milk, Pickled Celery & Horseradish

Ceviche of Coromandel Imperador Smoked Milk, Pickled Celery & Horseradish

Roast Yamba Tiger Prawns

Roast Yamba Tiger Prawns

 

Snapper Pie with Smoked Tomato & Mashed Potato

This pie is massive. It's also their crowning glory, their best dish and is highly recommended. In theory, you could probably share it but my friend and I refused and got one each instead. (At this point I recommend you share the entree instead, we didn't do that.) It takes 25 minutes & the waiter presents it to you on a plate after carefully cutting it up and leaving the rest of it for you to consume. The pie is rich and absolutely filling, it settles nicely in your stomach and feels like a comforting weight. (It's probably better to eat this in winter, but hey, it's good no matter when you eat it) 

Pie 1
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Despite all this food we still did not share dessert. This was a Banana Souffle with Peanut & Milk Chocolate Ice cream. Rich and light at the same time. 

Despite all this food we still did not share dessert. This was a Banana Souffle with Peanut & Milk Chocolate Ice cream. Rich and light at the same time. 

I really enjoyed my  meal - though next time I will skip the entree and hit the meal right away so I have room for that fantastic dessert. I also promise to pay more attention to the view, but if the food is so good that you've forgotten about it then I guess they've done their job quite well. 

The Green Lion

Everyone knows I love meat. There's enough bacon on this page to make a vegan weep. What most people don't know is that I have an appreciation for vegan/vegetarian food - burgers in particular - and I enjoy trying vegetable based meals. While some people scoff at vegans and their determination to eliminate meat from their lives, I respect them for their ability to put up with the crap people give them, and their efforts to make lives better for all living creatures. But enough of that. Let's focus on what turned out to be one of the best burgers I've had in my life. 

Yes, people. This is the Green Mock Burger. It's entirely plant based and was so good I have two photos of the thing in my post.

Yes, people. This is the Green Mock Burger. It's entirely plant based and was so good I have two photos of the thing in my post.

It's tender, it's juicy, it tastes like it could be from a five star burger joint or whatever your dream burger is, this is the vegan version. It tastes like high quality sourced organic super happy beef. (Yes, really.) I dream about this burger but every time I've tried to go back to it we have failed. (It's a very long story but we will get back to you, burger!) 

It's tender, it's juicy, it tastes like it could be from a five star burger joint or whatever your dream burger is, this is the vegan version. It tastes like high quality sourced organic super happy beef. (Yes, really.) I dream about this burger but every time I've tried to go back to it we have failed. (It's a very long story but we will get back to you, burger!) 

This is the loaded fries (Poutine) - I liked the sauce but the fries were ordinary. We're not here for the fries, we're here for the burger (yes I keep coming back to that) 

This is the loaded fries (Poutine) - I liked the sauce but the fries were ordinary. We're not here for the fries, we're here for the burger (yes I keep coming back to that) 

The Green Lion is an entirely vegan pub that is found on top of the Red Lion in Rozelle. The top half serves vegan, the bottom bit still serves meat, the kitchens and staff are entirely separate. Both places serve drinks. Please note that as of the time I wrote this the Green Lion does cash only. There is an ATM but it does not allow credit withdrawals. Also, I feel the need to point out that there is a fake (but very realistic) stuffed lion on the premises. They had to put a sign on it to say it wasn't real because some of the patrons were freaking out. It's not real.  This place can get full, because even if you're not vegan (and possibly just curious) the food is good and it's worth it. Come on by even if you're a meat eater and give it a go, you might find that vegan food is not as boring as you thought it would be. 

The Green Lion

726 Darling Street, Rozelle

Wilhemina's Sunday Roast

Wilhemina's is a wine bar/restaurant that does ribs on Thursdays and roast on Sundays. The roast is changed every week and priced according to the part of the animal that you choose. It comes with all the trimmings and you can have a bit of wine to go with it, if you like. Children are welcome (but you don't see many)  

One of my favorite dishes on their regular menu, the polenta. 

One of my favorite dishes on their regular menu, the polenta. 

When I arrived I was really hungry. Thinking it would just be _roast_ I ordered the polenta too as a side dish. Totally unecessary when you see the plate of sides.  

We opted for the pork neck, which was good for two people. This came with all this vege and then some... 

We opted for the pork neck, which was good for two people. This came with all this vege and then some... 

Here come the sides! Yorkshire pudding, coleslaw, chips & sour cream

Here come the sides! Yorkshire pudding, coleslaw, chips & sour cream

All in all, good value for money and a nice place to have a satisfying, chilled out meal on a Sunday. 

Wilhemina's, 332 Darling St. Balmain, NSW

Burgers I have had recently

Five Points Burger, North Sydney

Five Points Burger, North Sydney

Consistently on the list of top 10 burgers in Sydney, I made my way to Five Points on the way to the physio (somewhat of a detour since my physio is two stops further on the train) and grabbed the Bronx burger. Described as a grilled beef burger, double cheese, pickles, aioli, mustard, bacon, onion jam and lettuce this burger packed a punch. It was very ordinary looking but it smelled good enough to make everyone at the physio hungry (I ate it in the waiting room and made everyone jealous). It was well seasoned and grilled but I didn't really get the hype. One of those cases where it's good but good just like every other good burger.

Five Points, 124 Walker Street, North Sydney

Burgers by Josh, Pop up at the Annandale Hotel

Burgers by Josh, Pop up at the Annandale Hotel

First, I was thrilled to have a famous burger pop up in the Inner West. I ordered the J Burger: Wagyu, American Cheese, pickles, tomato, onion, lettuce and J Sauce. When we went to follow up (it had been at least 20 minutes) we were told the burgers would take an hour and when they double checked, they couldn't find our order! The manager was nice enough to put us in the priority queue, but I think because they were in a rush, they didn't season our burgers properly. My burger was perfectly cooked - medium, and juicy - but had no flavour as I think they may have forgotten whatever seasoning was required. I might try it again, but I won't go all the way to their restaurant (North Sydney) to do it.

Burgers by Josh, The Upper Deck, Greenwood Plaza, 36 Blue Street, North Sydney

GoodTime Burger at the Burger and Beats Festival, Work-shop Chippendale

GoodTime Burger at the Burger and Beats Festival, Work-shop Chippendale

Every month, Workshop in Chippendale hosts a Burgers & Beats event featuring three different burger stalls, alcoholic beverages and a bunch of DJs playing cool music. It costs $10 to get in, and if you manage to eat 3 burgers (1 from each stall) your entry to the next event is free. I managed 1 burger! The burgers featured were Good Time Burger from Bondi, MilkBar by Café Ish from Redfern and Belfield on Botany. I managed to score a Good Ol'Time: wagyu patty, tomato chutney, onion, aioli. Considering this was the same as the last two burgers I had, I have to say this was the best of the lot. It was juicy, juicy, juicy and tasted the way a burger should, just a perfect mess of sauce on your fingers, grilled seasoned beef and soft but firm bun. It was also very filling - which teaches me to share next time so I can have other burgers. Pro Tip: buy a ticket to the event, get a stamp, grab a beer then head to the burger stalls outside. The lines are shorter and there are less people. Then you can get to the burger inside. You can also canvas to see which one you want to get before you get all excited and grab the first one (which is what I did, but no regrets here!)

Good Time Burger, The Eastern Hotel, Bondi Junction

Lina's Kusina Cafe

When I found out a new Filipino restaurant was opening close to me, I was beyond excited. Growing up eating the cuisine, I often miss the staples that you can't cook at home. Fortunately, Filipino cuisine is becoming popular - there are now food trucks in the US - and more restaurants are opening. Hopefully this will give people a chance to learn more about this underrated, rich and satisfying cuisine.

Sizzling Pork Sisig

Sizzling Pork Sisig

Made up of the bits of the pig you don't usually have - snout, ears, cheeks, and maybe some other bits - mixed with onion, soy sauce and a cracked egg, this is best served with a cold beer.  Most Filipinos have food to eat when drinking out (like tapas in Spain) and food associated with this is called pulutan. Sisig is one of the most popular things to have. (And is also one of Anthony Bourdain's favourites)

Chicken Inasal

Chicken Inasal

Chicken Inasal originated from Negros Oriental, one of the provinces in the Visayas, the middle chain of islands out of the 7,100 + that make up the Philippines. It is grilled and basted with a special sauce that differs slightly depending on whose mother is making it. This one had a dash of soy sauce (there's always soy sauce), ginger, garlic and other spices.

Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata, is basically the pig trotter, boiled and then deep fried with an accompanying sauce (there's always sauce). The crackling is rich and gives off a big crunch as you dive into the dish.

Longsilog

Longsilog

This is actually breakfast. (I came back a few days later) Longaniza is a sausage that comes in different variations. In some parts of the country it is spicy and strong, in other parts it is sweet, and where I am from it comes out of the skin in crispy, salt-spiced chunks. This version was the slightly sweet kind. It's served with garlic rice (a.k.a. Sinangag) and fried egg (Itlog in Filipino) giving the dish its name: LongSiLog (longaniza + sinangag + itlog)

I am thrilled that I now have a place to come back to for all my favorites. If you're interested in trying Filipino food, give this place a go. It's affordable ($15-20 a dish) and while it's a small restaurant, it's good for small groups where you can all share and try different things. Be warned Filipino cuisine is not known for its vegetables so it might not be a good option for vegetarians.

Lina's Kusina Café

Shop 1/2-12 Glebe Point Rd

Glebe NSW