Sydney Park Hotel

Review: Sydney Park Hotel (Newtown)

When we first moved to Sydney, we lived in an apartment in Erskineville right between Newtown and St Peters stations. Every time I walked past the Sydney Park Hotel to catch the train in St Peters, I saw tradies drinking before 8am. That image stuck to my head until recently, when I learned from a good source that the pub, in particular the kitchen, had been revamped.

Bar

Dining room

We visited for lunch on a public holiday just because you gotta take every opportunity to have a drink with lunch on a Monday. Turns out we had been drinking the night before and so I was feeling a bit rough. I perused the drinks menu for an alternative to bloody marys, which I don’t like, and discovered the pickle back: your choice of spirit (gin in my case) with pickle juice and a cornichon chaser. If it didn’t work as a hangover cure, I thought, it might at least prevent exercise-induced muscle cramps, LOL. As I ordered my drink, I realised they have O’Brien gluten-free beers at the bar. Good to know for next time.

Pickle juice & gin

Pickle back with gin ($5.5)

If you’re in the mood for a fancy cocktail, the sloe gin fizz (sloe gin, gin, prosecco, lemon) is a good choice.

Sloe gin fizz

Sloe gin fizz ($12)

Foodwise, the menu has a few gluten-free options. Alvaro chose the bangers & mash: Irish pork sausages, mash, peas, gravy, which were fab.

Bangers and mash

Bangers & mash ($16)

In my hangover state, I chose the chicken wings, half kilo (!) buttermilk chicken wings with verde picante sauce, plus my beloved slaw on the side (other available sides are salad, vegetables and mash). The wings were excellent, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce. Nice slaw, too.

Chicken wings

Chicken wings ($16)

Slaw

Slaw ($6)

Another gluten-free option are the nachos with adobo beef or refried black beans, avocado, cheese, sour cream, salsa and jalapeños. The serving is massive and the flavour is good, although keep in mind the corn chips are baked with all the stuff on top, and thus can get soggy.

Beef nachos

Adobo beef nachos ($19)

The Bottom Line
Drinks: 4/5, good selection of cocktails/spirits (good value for money), O’Brien gluten-free beers available.
Food: 3.5/5, vegetarian and gluten-free options available, tasty and decently priced.
Service: 3.5/5, good service.

Sydney Park Hotel
631 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9557 1188
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Sydney Park Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lupin flakes

Product review: Lupin Flakes

Lupin is a legume with an impressive nutritional profile (40% protein, 37% fibre, 4% effective carbs). It got in my radar last year when I was doing placement at the RPA Allergy Clinic, as it is often recommended for people with gluten allergy/intolerance. Then I forgot about lupin until the 2017 DAA Conference, where The Lupin Co was an exhibitor. They make lupin flakes using a proprietary process that reduces the phytate content of the legume while maintaining its nutritional value. Lupin flakes can be conveniently used as a substitute for cous cous, rolled oats, breadcrumbs, etc. They can also be used to bump up the protein and fibre content of virtually any meal – sweet or savoury.

Package back

I followed a few recipes from the website to make lupin, cinnamon and coconut granola, Moroccan ras el hanout crumbed chicken, lupin crusted roast cauliflower salad, lupin and rice, chocolate protein cookies and warm lupin and Mediterranean roast vegetable salad (not pictured). I was impressed by the versatility of the flakes, they didn’t impart a particularly strong flavour in any recipe and added a nice crunch to the granola and the crumbed chicken. I have also used it as a substitute for rice, given it has the shape and consistency of cauliflower ‘rice’.

Food with lupin flakes

Lupin flakes are currently available at selected health food shops and supermarkets but I think it will become more mainstream in the next few years.

The last thing to note is lupin is an allergen (in fact, last month FSANZ included it as one of the 10 allergens that need to be declared in food labels) so it might not be suitable for everyone.

The Lupin Co
Website
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Pacha Mama Burritos

Review: Pacha Mama Burritos (Farm Gate Market, Hobart, TAS)

On our last day in Hobart we followed the hotel staff’s recommendation for brunch and headed to the Farm Gate Market, a farmers market set up on a road not far away from we were staying.

Flowers

Despite being a small market, there was a variety of fresh produce, flowers, artisanal bread, raw honey, sweets, etc.

Stalls

Stalls

But I was more interested in the food! The food stall area had a variety of choices, from gourmet pizzas to Asian fare, with common seating.

Food stalls

Sitting

I decided to try Pacha Mama, a burrito stand. Two things caught my eye: the wallaby burrito and the option to order the burrito as a bowl (making it gluten-free).

Pachamama

I had a chat with the owners while my bowl was prepared and asked them whether they knew “pachamama” was not a Mexican word (they didn’t). Turns out the name was inspired by the Pachamama Project (a crowd-sourcing campaign, I believe). I explained the meaning and origin of the word, thank them for my generously served brunch and proceeded to stuff my face with the tasty burrito. It was my first time trying wallaby (I’ve had kangaroo many times before) and I must say this was a great way of cooking it.

Wallaby burrito bowl

Wallaby burrito bowl ($13)

After brunch we squeezed in a quick visit to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. I didn’t have enough time to make it to MONA, but will do next time.

The Bottom Line
Food: 4/5, local produce, vegan and gluten-free options, good value for money.
Service: 4/5, friendly and efficient.

Pacha Mama Burritos
Saturday at Salamanca Market
Sunday at Farm Gate Market
Hobart, Tasmania
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Silver Hill Fisch

Review: Silver Hill Fisch – Boutique Seafood Sausages (Salamanca Market, Hobart, TAS)

On Saturday afternoon we did the mandatory touristy Hobart thing and went to the Salamanca Markets. It was starting to sprinkle, so our perusal of stalls did not last long, but I got to try a few gins (shout out to the amazing sheep whey gin I regret not buying to bring home).

We were about to leave and I was definitely not hungry but I saw a food caravan selling salmon sausages and was curious to try. As I went closer I realised they had a gluten-free option so I decided I definitely needed to try.

Menu

They did not have any gluten-free buns but served the sausage on a bed of tangy kale, which I did not mind at all. Sausage, kale + mayo = great meal, even when not hungry. If you’re in Hobart, check these sausages out.

Salmon sausage

Salmon sausage, no bun ($8)

The Bottom Line
Food: 4/5, local produce, gluten-free option.
Service: 4/5, friendly and efficient.

Silver Hill Fisch – Boutique Seafood Sausages
Salamanca Market
Salamanca Pl
Hobart TAS 7001
Website
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Mures Upper Deck

Review: Mures Upper Deck (Hobart, TAS)

A catch-up dinner with good friends from uni who were attending the conference took us to Mures, a two-level restaurant that is right on the wharf. We dined at the fancier restaurant on level one, aptly named “Upper Deck”.

Mures Upper Deck

I’m the kind of person who dislikes drinking white wine by itself but loves pairing it with food. I ordered a nice glass of 2016 Chartley Estate Riesling that paired well with my meal.

White wine

Glass of Riesling ($14)

I ordered the seafood tasting plate with blue swimmer crab salsa, Tasmanian scallop ceviche, ocean trout tartare, two tempura oysters (three natural for the gluten-free option) & saffron aioli. As a side, I had the asparagus, pan tossed with goats curd and hazelnuts. Both dishes were excellent on their own and even better together.

Seafood tasting plate

Seafood tasting plate ($31.5)

Asparagus

Asparagus ($9)

My friends ordered dishes that would normally be considered ordinary but were taken to another level. The seafood laksa ($41) certainly did not contain any frozen seafood mix, but instead came with Spring Bay mussels, Tasmanian scallops, premium white fish, Atlantic salmon, Bass Strait squid, Australian prawns with tempura shiitake mushrooms, chilli, fresh herbs & rice noodles. Likewise, the wild fish & chips ($38.5) could be either beer-battered or sesame & almond crumbed and came with organic greens, citrus fennel & seasoned fries. Great fries, by the way, and thanks Justin for sharing :)

The Bottom Line
Drinks: 3.5/5, good wine and cocktail selection.
Food: 3.5/5, locally sourced, well executed dishes.
Service: 3.5/5, polite and unpretentious.

Mures Upper Deck
Victoria Dock
Davey St
Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6231 1999
Website

Mures Upper Deck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Lola

Review: Cafe Lola (Hobart, TAS)

One morning, breakfast at the conference was muffins and fruit. I silently turned around and reached for my phone to search for the nearby cafes I had bookmarked. The nearest one was Cafe Lola and I was extremely glad I found it.

Cafe Lola is located right on the wharf and it’s hard to miss – just follow the coffee-centric signs.

Cafe Lola

Cafe Lola

Their menu reads “At Lola we believe good food begins with sourcing locally and ethically, wherever possible, then preparing all our food fresh combining paleo and clean-food philosophies. Most importantly treating our food and customers with care, so you can enjoy being healthy and happy.” From my experience, it seems they do practice what they preach.

As I found out, coffee in Hobart is not cheap but fortunately this was an exception. My long black was not only decently priced ($3.50) but also decently sized and did not disappoint.

Long black

Long black ($3.50)

Even though I knew I would have a lot of food throughout the day, the brekkie paleo pod with soft scrambled eggs, bacon (or smoked salmon), spinach and kumara hash-brown sounded too good to miss. It was as wonderful as it sounds and very, very filling.

Brekkie paleo pod

Brekkie paleo pod ($15.50)

Even though the breakfast menu reads somewhat “normal”, most of the items have been revamped. For example, the toast is either gluten-free or rye and the spreads are home preserves. The granola, served with honey yoghurt and berries, is gluten-free, as are the ricotta & buckwheat pancakes with crispy maple spec (sic), orange & cardamom butter. The poached eggs come with sweet potato fritters, seared spinach & smashed avocado. You get the drill.

For lunch, they have pods in which you choose a base, a protein and an optional extra side. They also have gluten-free, paleo and regular cakes, slices and biscuits to grab and go.

Cafe Lola will remain bookmarked for my future visits to Hobart.

The Bottom Line
Coffee: 4.5/5, good and cheaper than the average in Hobart.
Food: 4.5/5, locally and ethically sourced produce, many gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and paleo options.
Service: 4/5, friendly and polite

Cafe Lola
1/1 Franklin Wharf
Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6236 9934
Website

Lola Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pigeon Hole Cafe

Review: Pigeon Hole Cafe (Hobart, TAS)

It’s been a few weeks since I came back from my first (but definitely not last!) trip to Tasmania. I was there for just a few days to attend a conference but managed to squeeze in as many meals out as possible. My first culinary experience in Hobart happened on the very first day as soon as I dropped my bags at the hotel. I walked 10-15 mins looking for one of the cafes that had been recommended by my friend Cat.

Front counter

Being owned by farmers, Pigeon Hole Cafe is all about sustainable local and seasonal produce, quite literally “farm to table”. The cafe is small and charming and has shelves packed with homemade preserves.

Preserves

The menu looked so good I had to ask for help. Even though I was inclined to order the sardines with pickled vegetables, lemon and toast or the more orthodox roasted kale, beetroot & quinoa salad with goats curd, hazelnut and broad bean shoots, the waitress steered me toward her favourite item in the menu: the green eggs with free range ham and salsa verde on gluten-free toast. I’m glad I followed her advice, as the meal was delicious and the bread… oh man! One of the best gluten-free slices of bread I’ve had in a while. I forgot to ask for the brand, but I suspect it was locally made.

Green eggs

Green eggs ($15) + gluten-free bread ($1)

It was quite late in the afternoon so I decided not to have coffee. I know… I should’ve in the name of blogging. Next time!

Preserves

The Bottom Line
Food: 4.5/5, local, seasonal and sustainable produce, lots of gluten-free and vegetarian options. Great gluten-free bread.
Service: 4.5/5, friendly and helpful

Pigeon Hole Cafe
93 Goulburn St
West Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6236 9306
Website
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Pigeon Hole Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Recipe: Locro (Peruvian pumpkin stew)

I’m sure there are a million locro recipes out there because it’s fair to say this is an everyday staple in almost every Peruvian household. The way I make it is not the way my mum makes it, nor the way my aunties make it, nor the way my mother-in-law makes it. This is one of the few dishes Alvaro insists on keeping meat-free, with a fried egg (or three) on top. Works for me.

Locro (Peruvian pumpkin stew)
Yield: 4 servings

Locro

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 500-600g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 – 1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 0.5 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tsp ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • 0.5 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 200g goat feta cheeese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

To serve

  • white rice
  • 4 olives
  • 4 fried eggs
  • coriander leaves

Directions

  1. Peel and cube pumpkin and potatoes.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan at medium-low temperature.
  3. Add onion, garlic and ají amarillo. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add pumpkin and potatoes. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, then add stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until pumpkin and potatoes are falling apart. Feel free to mash them up as much as you want.
  6. Add corn and peas, cook for another couple of minutes.
  7. Turn off heat, add cheese, season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with white rice, topped by a fried egg and garnish with an olive and coriander leaves.

Naturally Good Expo

Last weekend I attended the Naturally Good Expo, a trade-only event for businesses interested in natural food, therapies and goods. I, of course, attended as a private practice dietitian to 1) know what are the market trends that my clients might be exposed to and 2) try products that I can recommend to my clients and/or use myself.

I tried a multitude of Bounce®-type energy balls, raw/protein bars, alkaline water, turmeric products, chocolate bars, plant-based protein powders and greens powders. To be honest, I think those product categories are reaching saturation point and it’s hard to differentiate between brands.

Matcha and turmeric drinks

The most interesting products I personally came across were:

Goat milk chocolate

Egg white protein bars

Sauerkraut crisps

One trend I was pleased to see is bone broths in different presentations (liquid, powdered, in a paste for reconstituting), as well as collagen and gelatin products. These natural jellies were pretty awesome, too.

Bone broth, jelly and nut milks

Natural jellies

Fine Fettle won the retailer’s choice award for best food product, which doesn’t surprise me – I’ve been a fan for a long time (see my most recent review of their products <a href="here).

Recipe: Chapana (Peruvian cassava dessert)

This is not a super well-know Peruvian dessert but is as authentic as it can get. In fact, apparently it’s been around for way longer than the popular desserts that appeared when we were a Spanish colony.

I’m usually biased toward chocolate when it comes to sweets, but this is an exception. I think this is in part because there are childhood memories attached to chapana. I recently learned this is one of my father-in-law’s favourite desserts, too. I guess we have more in common that what I thought :)

Frozen grated cassava

Chapana is made with grated yuca (cassava), chancaca (basically cane sugar that has been boiled and solidified in a block) and aniseed. It’s wrapped in banana leaves and after cooking it acquires a chewy consistency. Grating cassava is a pain in the ass, so when I found frozen cassava in an ethnic shop (can’t remember which) I bought it immediately with cassava in mind. I used coconut sugar instead of chancaca for a hipster version (and also because I don’t know where to buy chancaca in Sydney!), adjusted the ratio (usually 1:1) to make it less sweet and did my best in wrapping the parcels (I’m very sloppy with that kind of things).

Chapana

Chapana
Yield: 4 servings

Chapana

Ingredients

  • 450g frozen grated cassava
  • 200-225g coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp aniseed
  • banana leaves
  • kitchen twine

Directions

  1. Thaw cassava in the fridge overnight.
  2. Wipe the banana leaves clean.
  3. In a bowl, mix cassava, coconut sugar and aniseed.
  4. Divide mix in 4 parts and wrap each in banana leaves in a rectangular pillow-like parcels, wrapping the leaf over itself in 2-3 layers without breaking it if possible.
  5. Tie the parcels with kitchen twine.
  6. Fill a pot with enough water to cover the parcels and bring to a boil.
  7. Pop the parcels in the pot and boil for 30 minutes.
  8. Fish the parcels out of the water and let cool down enough to unwrap and enjoy.
  9. Chapana is usually eaten warm, although some people enjoy it cold or at room temperature.