Review: Left Bower (Sutherland)

Last weekend I caught up with my friend Natalie (check out her holistic nutrition website) to talk about life, placement, diet experiments and her latest exciting project: The Holistic Nutritionists podcast.

I was meant to go to her neck of the woods (Cronulla), which I was excited about given the vast array of healthy cafes down there, but there were trackworks going on. Instead, I got off the train in Sutherland and we had brunch in a nearby cafe which is apparently popular among local cyclists.

I apologise in advance for being so slack in this review… I did not get photos of the menu hence the vague meal descriptions and absence of prices. All I know is we had a good chat and a good meal. I would definitely go back if I was in the area.

I had a long black for a change, which was on the short side. Not a bad thing when it’s a bit chilly outside and you want to finish your coffee while it’s still reasonably hot.

Long black

Long black

I ordered the pork, fennel & apple sausages with smashed sweet potato, poached egg, sauerkraut and GF toast. The generous serving of sauerkraut and wholegrain mustard made the meal taste very familiar to me. The serving was pretty big, but I did manage to polish it off.

Pork, fennel & apple sausages

Pork, fennel & apple sausages with smashed sweet potato, poached egg, sauerkraut and GF toast

Nat ordered a vegetarian brekkie with roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg on GF toast, which normally comes with tahini dressing. It looked like a great hearty vego option.

Roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg

Roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg on GF toast

My only suggestion would be to serve the GF toast on the side, as it gets way more soggy than regular toast when it’s served at the bottom of the plate.

Left Bower
1 Adelong St
Sutherland NSW 2232
On Facebook

Left Bower Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Salmon & Bear (Newtown)

I love fish and I love the fact there’s a new restaurant close to home serving good fish dishes (don’t be deceived by the deer head near the entrance – it goes with the hunting theme but you won’t find venison here).

Salmon & Bear

I also love the fact that they do grizzly plates, in which you can choose your fish, sauce and any 2 sides/salads. When I visited the restaurant with my friend Cat, I ordered a plate with the catch of the day (a mildly flavoured fish with moist white flesh called Alfonsino), peri peri sauce, slaw and roasted veg. Nice fish, good sauce (not spicy but I liked the flavour) and an awesome hearty serve of roasted vegetables that came in a sizzling hot plate. Cat’s plate had tuna, peri peri sauce, coconut rice and corn salsa and looked just as good as mine.

Grizzly plate

Grizzly plate

Grizzly plate ($28)

I left that night wishing I had room to try the salmon poke. Luckily, Salmon & Bear delivers and I took advantage of an UberEats discount to order one on a rainy night. Poke is the Hawaiian version of Japanese sashimi. The Salmon & Bear version has raw cubed salmon in a soy and sesame dressing served with corn salsa and avocado on coconut rice. Sounds good? It was. They also have a tuna poke that has a different dressing but I haven’t tried yet but I’m keen to try next time.

Salmon poké

Salmon poke ($21)

Salmon & Bear
226 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9517 3200
Website
On Facebook

Salmon & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Kingston Public Bar & Kitchen (Newtown)

Bar

My foodie friend Cat and I hit this bar for a catch-up after I came back from Orange. This small bar had always looked cool to me but for some reason it took me this long to try it out. We ordered some Italian red and a few dishes to share.

The house antipasto board comes with Italian truffle salami, Galloni Gran Reserva 30 month aged prosciutto, wagyu bresaola, sun-dried tomatoes, fior di latte bocconcini, grilled sourdough & grissini. Good combo, although I felt like there was too much bread served even though they knew one of us was not eating any.

Charcuterie board

Antipasto Board ($28.50)

Next came the game board with duck liver paté w/ Grand Marnier jelly, rabbit rillette, potato crisps, berry glaze, cornichons & croutons. I was really looking forward to this board, but somehow it didn’t meet my expectations. Maybe I was expecting too much.

Game platter

Game Board ($28.50)

I really enjoyed the mussels, which were cooked in white wine, butter, capers, preserved lemon & cherry tomatoes, w/ side grilled sourdough.

Mussels

Mussels ($25.00)

I’m not a big whisky drinker but FYI this place carries a few specialty ones from Tassie.

Kingston Public Bar & Kitchen
62/64 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8084 4140
Website
On Facebook

Kingston Public Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Product review: Peak Chocolate Bar by True Protein

Yes, this is a chocolate bar sold as a fitness supplement. This is the sort of thing that gets my coach fired up about the money-driven fitness supplement industry, but I could not resist and had to try it as soon as it got released. Given the ingredient list (80% dark choc, creatine monohydrate, BCAAs, organic caffeine, and Himalayan rock salt), I expected it to be at the very least a decent chocolate bar, even if it didn’t accelerate muscle growth and increase energy as promised.

Peak chocolate bar

Nutrition wise, each 25g serve (1/2 bar) provides 2.5g protein, 4.7g CHO (of which 3.6g are sugar), 70mg caffeine, 1.5g creatine monohydrate and 1.0g BCAAs. The bars sell for $5.90.

Peak chocolate bar NIP

So I gave it a shot pre-workout on 4 consecutive sessions. I loved the flavour and texture, which reminded me of other raw chocolate bars such as Loving Earth, but lacked the fruitiness of my favourite (Alter Eco 85%).

Sadly, I did not seem to get any of the advertised fitness benefits. Maybe I didn’t have the right dose, maybe I’m too old for these things to make a difference, or maybe I suck so much the difference was not significant. Either way, the chocolate was enjoyable as a snack.

Click this link to buy Peak chocolate bar. If you’re not sold on the idea of the choc bar, at least give their protein powders a shot; we use them regularly and can totally recommend them.

Review: Bills Beans (East Orange NSW)

Lazy Sunday mornings call for late breakfast at cool cafes. I hadn’t ventured to East Orange just yet so it was about time to visit Bills Beans. I already knew their coffee was great because I had sampled it at Factory Espresso. Now it was time to sample the food. They do sandwiches and other gluten-full things that are easy to serve and can’t be altered as per the warning in the menu but they also have some gluten-free options that looked just as great.

Food

The tiny cafe was packed so we were willing to seat out in the cold but fortunately we were informed there was more seating inside.

Back room seating

We started with a long black (aka my usual) and an almond milk latte for Alvaro.

Long black, almond milk latte

Long black ($3.90), almond milk latte ($4.40?)

We ordered the 2 frittatas available on the day, both gluten-free and served with salad, one with roasted vegetables and the other with salmon, potato & dill. Both were awesome, with the perfect texture (unlike many rubbery frittatas out there) and with great flavour.

Roast vegetable frittata

Roasted vegetable frittata ($11)

Baked salmon, potato & dill frittata

Salmon, potato & dill frittata ($11)

We also ordered a slice of the orange, polenta & almond cake. By “we” I mean Alvaro, although I did eat a good chunk of the tasty moist treat, not without ordering an espresso to cut down the sweetness.

Orange, almond & polenta cake

Orange, polenta & almond cake ($6.50)

Bills Beans
148 McLachlan St
Orange NSW 2800
(02) 6361 1611
Website
On Facebook

Bills Beans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Eighteen 70 (Orange NSW)

The night that Alvaro came to visit, I spent an unusually long amount of time tossing back and forth between my plans A and B while Alvaro rolled his eyes at me until both of them failed. The dining room in plan A was packed and as we sat outside for a few minutes I realised food would get cold the second it arrived at the table. Plan B was fully booked on the night. Luckily, I had a plan C. Eighteen 70 had been in my initial list until I read some mixed reviews and I decided to leave it out. This bistro is located in a quiet corner close to where I was staying.

But first, wine. It was a boozy night for me (hey, I hadn’t seen my husband in 3 weeks!), with this glass of great local cabernet merlot being my third and final glass.

Glass of Angullong Cabernet Merlot

Angullong Cabernet Merlot Orange NSW ($9)

We skipped the starters and ordered two mains to share. My non-negotiable was the pork knuckle with kumera, buttered sprouts & bier sauce. We ordered it gluten-free, so I think they substituted wine jus for the sauce. As expected, it was a generous serving, the skin was crispy, the sprouts were cooked just right and the flavour didn’t dissapoint.

Pork knuckle

Pork knuckle ($34)

Our second main was a sirloin steak with hand cut chips, wilted spinach, asparagus, Café de Paris butter & shiraz jus. Once again, generous serving and great taste. Good enough to overlook the fact that the steak was not medium-rare. Details.

Sirloin

Sirloin ($35)

Eighteen 70
85 March Street
Orange NSW 2800
(02) 63619020

Website
On Facebook

Eighteen 70 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Red Chilli Deli (Orange NSW)

Alvaro and I went to this deli after lunch when he was visiting just because I wanted to have a look. I love delis: the charcuterie, the cheeses, the gourmet pantry items.

Charcuterie

Cheeses

Pantry

This particular deli also has a sweets section, which immediately caught Alvaro’s attention. He ended up having second dessert (a gluten-free lemon tart) and I had a second long black.

Sweets

Gluten-free lemon tart

Gluten-free lemon tart ($8.50)

Long black

Long black ($4.50)

Even though we didn’t buy any food to take home I thought it was a nice place to stop and have a bite. It reminded me to the old-school cafes in back home where you can sit down and have a chat while sipping an Americano. They even said goodbye to us in perfect Spanish!

Red Chilli Deli
36 Sale St
Orange NSW 2800
(02) 6360 1166
On Facebook

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Review: Percy’s Bar & Kitchen (Orange NSW)

Alvaro came to visit last weekend. He was here for just over a day and, naturally, I tried to pack in as many meals out as possible. I was hoping for a hipster-style cafe lunch, but he was starving so I suggested plan B: Percy’s Bar & Kitchen, which offers several protein-packed dishes.

Given it was after noon I thought a glass of local sparkling would be not only appropriate but also justified.

Glass of Printhie Brut sparkling

Printhie Brut sparkling, Orange NSW, 2015 ($8.50)

My non-negotiable shared dish was smoked beef brisket, corn fritters & onion rings with chimichurri sauce, which I had been eyeing for a few weeks. It was good, although it wasn’t as smokey and tender as the brisket offered at my favourite Sydney American-style BBQ joints. This dish is gluten-free; the onion rings were great but I’ve had better corn fritters. The chimichurri was on the chunky side (almost like a pesto), but it was good.

Smoked beef brisket, corn fritters & onion rings with chimichurri sauce

Smoked beef brisket, corn fritters & onion rings with chimichurri sauce ($22)

We chose our second dish from the specials board: spicy pork ribs with polenta chips & pear slaw. Ribs are my favourite cut, even more when they are of swine origin. Both the polenta chips and the salad were awesome.

Spicy pork ribs with polenta chips & pear slaw

Spicy pork ribs with polenta chips & pear slaw ($20)

Alvaro chose the poached pear & tapioca pudding with candied orange & rhubarb for dessert, which was nice enough for me to have more than one spoonful. It helped that the pears had been poached in red wine.

Poached pear & tapioca pudding with candied orange & rhubarb

Poached pear & tapioca pudding with candied orange & rhubarb ($12)

Percy’s Bar & Kitchen
120 Summer St
Orange NSW 2800
(02) 6361 2400
Website
On Facebook

Percy’s Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: The Agrestic Grocer (Orange NSW)

My friends from Sydney happened to be in the area last weekend so we caught up for brunch. Given they were driving, I thought it would be a good idea to go visit The Agrestic Grocer, which is a few minutes drive out of town. It turned out to be a great family-friendly venue. As it name implies, this is primarily a grocer focusing on outstanding local produce and products, including breads, preserves, wine, and beer.

Produce

Preserves

Wines

But we were there for brunch, not shopping! The indoor dining room was fully booked, so we headed outside initially just for coffee. We ended up staying there, warmed by an outdoor heater and our heavy jackets, the telltale sign that we’re from Sydney.

Agrestic Grocer

My first coffee was a great long black, served in a cup (hot drinks are also available in mugs).

Long black

Long black ($3.50)

The menu is not huge but it had enough great-looking options to make me struggle with decisions. I finally ordered the local eggs with wilted greens & dukkah on gluten-free bread and added Trunkey Ck bacon and a Small Acres cider & garlic sausage. The meal as a whole was quite good, but the bacon deserves a special mention. It came as a large pile of shaved porky goodness and tasted like good bacon should taste: not overly salty nor overly processed.

Local eggs with wilted greens & dukkah on GF toast plus bacon and sausage

Local eggs with wilted greens & dukkah ($15.50) on gluten-free bread ($2.00) + Trunkey Ck bacon ($6.00) + cider & garlic sausage ($4.50)

Here’s another version of the local eggs with wilted greens & dukkah, this time served on Rise Woodfired sourdough as listed on the menu, plus a Badlands beer & chilli sausage and boston beans.

Local eggs with wilted greens & dukkah on sourdough plus sausage and beans

Local eggs with wilted greens & dukkah ($15.50) + beer & chilli sausage ($4.50) + boston beans ($5.00)

I had a second coffee, this time an almond milk latte (see how almond milk is available pretty much everywhere in Orange?) with a vanilla shot. It was the perfect dessert.

Almond milk latte + vanilla shot

Latte ($4) with almond milk ($0.80) + vanilla shot ($1.00)

The Agrestic Grocer
426 Mitchell Hwy
Orange NSW 2800
(02) 6360 4604
On Facebook

Agrestic Grocer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Scrumptious on Summer (Orange NSW)

This is family-owned cafe on the main street in Orange. I had read many good things about their food, but what impressed me the most was their warm customer service.

Menu

The menu is great for people looking for gluten- and/or dairy-free alternatives. In fact, it has so many choices that I had a hard time deciding what to order. In the end, I went with one of the blackboard specials: French omelette with veal sausage, speck, sundried tomato, mushrooms & smokey BBQ glaze served with GF toast. The meal was huge, and I decided to eat some of the toast given the generous amount of butter provided. Great meal (although next time I’d order the BBQ sauce on the side) and quite filling.

French omelette

French omelette ($19)

Have a look at the other day specials in the photo below.

Specials

They also have a cold display with a variety of sweets, plus muffins and cakes.

Sweets

Scrumptious on Summer
142/146 Summer St
Orange NSW 2800
(02) 6361 7200
Website
On Facebook

Scrumptious on Summer Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato