Thursday, September 2, 2010

A foodie trip through Sydney

Last weekend, I went to Sydney. I had to be there for work on Monday and Tuesday, so I took the opportunity to catch up with friends and check out some of the wonderful food that Sydney has to offer.

First stop was Cupcakes on Pitt. You can buy all kinds of cupcakes here with unusual flavours, and all dressed up very prettily and presented in sweet little cupcake window boxes. Even better, the cupcakes are only $2.50 each. I chose strawberries & cream and Black Forest flavours:

I found the frosting on the strawberry cucpake way too buttery for my liking, but the cake itself was a beautiful pink strawberry flavoured cake, which got the thumbs up. The Black Forest is topped with ganache and whipped cream - devine! The cake itself was a little dry, but the topping made up for it.

I had a lovely florentine at a French cafe in Mossman called Le Breton Patisserie with my friend Karen, her hubby Michael and adorable baby Hugo, but unfortunately, I have no photos of it. However, it tasted delish, and was thin and crunchy, just the way I like my florentines.

Next morning, I continued my foodie journie for brekkie at the Bona Fides Cafe. This venue faces the harbour at Cockle Bay Wharf, and I stumbled on it by accident just by wandering towards Darling Harbour. My breakfast choice was these beautiful French pancakes served with maple syrup:

They were more like crepes and surprisingly filling. Big thanks to the helpful and friendly staff - my breakfast was served in record time, and they gave just that little bit extra to make you feel welcome.

On Sunday morning, I caught up with my friend Alison, who very good naturedly waited with me in line for half an hour or more to enter the hallowed hole in the wall of Adriano Zumbo's Patisserie at Balmain. Here is the queue - it doesn't look that long, but the shop is tiny inside (literally a hole in the wall), and people tend to agonise over their selections and oooh and aaah at the creations inside, so it takes a while:

Here is a glimpse of the shop window, filled with quiches, palmiers, apple turnovers and other assorted pastries:

Once inside, the first treats on offer are pizzas and quiches:

Alison loved the rustic look of the pastry.

Next came some lovely rainbow hued custard tarts:

followed by some full-size cakes - from left to right are the Honey Combover (honey swiss roll plus honeycomb) and the I'll Get Back to You Barry (chocolate mousse and chocolate heaven):

It is all very Willy-Wonka-esque - all the cakes are surprising both inside and out, and have very imaginative names. It makes you feel just like Charlie Bucket with his golden ticket, and is well worth the wait if you are crazy about cake - and there were a lot of people who were, because they spent big bucks in here.

Moving on to the small cakes, which are an affordable $8.50 each, we have Shabilicious (caramel cheesecake on steroids), Lola (a coconut and caramelised puff pastry creation) and Roses are Red Mandies are Orange (like a huge macaron):

Next we have Wheely Wemon, a citrus and meringue concoction:

Cloudy Thyme and Got No Grains (which we ended up purchasing):

and Charlies Homemade Ginger Fear (ginger beer gel, ginger pudding and chocolate ginger foam eggs) and What a Great Pear of ... (pear and almond confection with choux pastry on top):

You can read more about the flavours

This is another gratuitous shot of Adriano Zumbo's creations:

And of course, you can buy macarons - many Australians were first introduced to macarons on Masterchef by
Adriano Zumbo's macaron tower:

On the day, there were eight flavours available (can't exactly remember what they were), and I bought all 8 for my friend Tim. Unfortunately, they are a little the worse for wear after their journey to Melbourne, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Apart from the macarons, I bought a spinach, goats cheese and blueberry quiche (because I really wanted to know what blueberries would taste like in a savoury dish! and the answer is "delicious"):

a pear and macadamia sticky bun, of which I don't have a photo but was delicious, and the Got No Grains:

I wanted this because it was so unusual - oatmeal creme, toasted spelt mousse, maple gel, and sesame nougatine perched atop a chocolate coated muesli bar. Alison and I shared this (courtesy of my handy Advil packet improvised knife), and it was extremely sweet - primarily because of the maple gel. My favourite part was the muesli bar on the bottom.

Alison purchased the Cloudy Thyme, which we also shared (and cut using the cardboard base from the Got No Grains):

This ethereal creation is, according to Adriano Zumbo's website: Liquorice pate brisee, olive oil creme citron, butterscotch caramel, oven roasted apples, mint meringue ball & thyme italian meringue. We couldn't put our finger on the spice in the meringue at the time (I wrongly guessed cardamom), but it really made this cake - it was absolutely superb, very unusual and the pick of our purchases.

Having finally fulfilled my long held ambition to visit Adriano Zumbos (and loved it - thanks Alison!!), I went to high tea with my friend Camilla in the afternoon at the
Swisstotel. Camilla kindly bought my tea and a glass of bubbly as an early birthday present - what a sweetie.

This is my first plate - jelly and marshmallow cone, mandarin jelly, salmon wrap and ham and mustard sandwich:

Here is a glimpse of just some of the many treats available at the Swisstotel high tea:

After taking a breather (being very full and high on sugar after eating all day), my next plate was a marshmallow and fruit chocolate fondue kebab and a mini creme caramel:

For dinner that night (yep, I have unlimited capacity, it seems), I ventured to
Din Tai Fung in World Square:

My friend Karen recommended this as a place for great dumplings (and I understand that it is famed world-wide for its dumplings, being an international chain). Unfortunately, for one person, a serve of six dumplings (even without my sugar binge!) is not do-able, so I ordered another dish.

Because I was dining alone, I was able to go straight in to dine at one the communal tables (there was a wait of about 10 minutes for parties of two or more).

In the middle of each round table is a large lazy susan, which had this cute condiments basket:

I ordered the pork and vegetable wonton noodle dish, with a spicy sauce:

I was informed that the sauce was mild - hmm, maybe for Asian tastes, but I was glad that it was not any hotter, as it made my nose run as it was. However, it tasted delicious, and I polished it off without any problems.

My last foodie find was a work day lunch at the new cafe in the bottom of the building where my work's Sydney office is located. The cafe is called The Moody Chef, but don't let this put you off - the food is superb and the staff are very friendly. They have only been in their current location for three and a half months, and I hope they stick around for my future visits to Sydney, because the food is soooooooooo good. For the bargain price of $10.90, I bought this enormous serve of eggplant and lamb lasagne, with couscous and beetroot and orange salads:

Next time (I hope there is one!), I will get just the salads - they are fantastic!!! Believe me, I am not a salad girl ordinarily, so for me to say that these salads were worthy of a meal on their own is saying something.

I hope you enjoyed coming on my trip through the Sydney food scene as much as I did!


Brenda said...

Yay you came to Sydney!! And boy did you make the most of your eating adventure, extra credit to you! ; ) I think you covered more places than I do in a month (yeah I don't get out much LOL!!)
Fabulous that you got to try Zumbo, his creations are out of this world

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

It looks like you got a great sampling of Sydney's best produce! I must check out this moody chef now as I love salad! :D

Finla said...

Wowo wish i was there with you to enjoythe trip, looks like you had a wonderful delicous time :-)

Cakelaw said...

Hi Bren, yes I came to Sydney and had a blast!

Hi Lorraine, the salads are truly fab.

HC, you should derfinitely come down under some time and try it out.

Kayte said...

Oh, yes, indeed, I did enjoy this trip through Sydney! Thank you for sharing, it was such fun to see it all. What a lot of wonderful looking food...not sure what I expected to see, but it wasn't quite this!! Wow. Very fun.

Mary said...

What a fantastic food weekend! I would have been in that pastry shop forever, dithering over what to buy.

Juliana said...

Wow Wow and Wow, the sweet look so GOOD...and I didn't know that there is a Din Tai Fung in interesting?

Cakelaw said...

Hi Kayte, Adriano Zumbos was unexpected (in the best possible way), even though I'd seen some of his creations before.

Hi Mary, I changed my mind about 50 times on the way to my "turn", and if I thought I could have eaten one of each, I'd have bought them!

Hi Juliana, yes - and it is so good. Next time I am going to find a firend to come along so that I can try the dumplings!

Alison said...

Thanks for taking me to AZ - it was definitely worth it, and great company too. For the record the Olive Bread was really sensational - I would queue for it again.

Jennifer said...

OH MY GOODNESS! Those are some amazing looking treats!

I am intrigues by the savory tart with blueberries-I think I would really like that!!!!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Alison, Yes, it was fun - I enjoyed catching up with you enormously, and would like to do so again next time I am in Sydney!! (BTW, you were right about the Rozelle cafe - it is sit down).

Hi Jennifer - it is good!

Anonymous said...

Wow, everything looks fabulous! Adriano Zumbos looks like a grown-up version of Willy Wonka, just like you said. If I got to go there, I'd be thrilled.

Jules Someone said...

Yowsa! Can I come visit? Please?

The Caked Crusader said...

oh yum - what a lovely selection. I'm particularly drawn to those tall, dome like piped meringues!

Barbara Bakes said...

I had the good fortune to visit Sydney a couple of years ago and it is an amazing city. I definitely enjoyed your trip through the Sydney food scene. It makes me want to go back.

Honey @ said...

Oh my goodness!!!! What a whirlwind day of eating! I admire your stomach capacity though, everything looked lovely, especially all the sweets!

margot said...

Everything looks great! It's so much fun visiting other cities and checking out all the different restaurants and sweet shops.

Carol said...

Oh my! Yummy, delicious everywhere! How can you resist?