Grandma's at McEvoy

Review: Grandma’s at McEvoy (Alexandria)

Grandma’s is a mini chain of Israeli cafes. I’ve walked past the one on McEvoy a zillion times on my way to/from the gym and it was only recently that I finally had the chance to eat there.

Grandma's open kitchen

The shashukas here seem to be famous (they have a few varieties: classic, spinach, beef, beef bolognese), so I ordered open fired eggplant shakshuka: 2 eggs cooked in sauce made of open fire eggplant, tomato & onion served with Labneh cheese. It comes with bread baked on premises, which is meant to be really good, but I had gluten-free toast instead. The shashuka was good but I had my expectations set too high. I’m still willing to try the other varieties, though.

Open Fire Eggplant Shashuka

Open fired eggplant shakshuka ($17.90)

The traditional chicken & vegetables casserole, served with rice, was awesome. It indeed looked and tasted like something your grandma would serve you when you went for a visit.

Traditional Chicken & Vegetables Casserole

Traditional chicken & vegetables casserole ($17.50)

The Jerusalem hummus and beef dish (slowly cooked minced beef served with Grandma’s homemade hummus, chickpeas & fresh bread) was also very tasty, good looking, and apparently very filling.

Jerusalem Hummus and Beef Dish

Jerusalem hummus and beef dish ($16.50)

Besides the usual coffee and tea offerings (there’s almond milk available for extra $0.50), there are also some homemade drinks and sodas, Israeli beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Almond milk chai latte, almond milk latte

Almond milk chai tea ($4.50), almond milk latte ($4.00)

Monday to Friday, Grandma’s offer a canteen-style lunch station. They also have a variety of frozen meals (including soups, stews, ice cream) and preserves for sale.

Grandma's olives, etc

The Bottom Line
Coffee & drinks: 3.5/5, decent coffee, almond milk available, also traditional drinks like rosewater lemonade and Israeli beer.
Food: 3.5/5, gluten-free and vegetarian options, traditional, hearty dishes.
Service: 3.5/5, good service.

Grandma’s at McEvoy
140-142 McEvoy St
Alexandria NSW 2015
(02) 9699 1862
Website

Grandma's At McEvoy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Corner McCafe

Review: The Corner McCafe (Camperdown)

I’ve sold my soul to the devil. I’m reviewing an establishment that belongs to McDonald’s. Ok, jokes aside, I’ve been thinking about giving this place a go ever since they opened back when I was doing my undergrad at Sydney Uni but having a very good cafe on campus I never had the choice. Now that I’m back to the neighbourhood (I work at RPAH), I decided it was about time to see what they had to offer. Apologies in advance for the point-and-shoot photos.

This former McCafe morphed into The Corner when Maccas decided to test their ability to engage the hipster market. Kale and quinoa were recent additions in selected cafe menus and chia pots were not available in your local supermarket just yet.

The Corner

The corner has a section of food to grab and go (e.g. wraps, yoghurt, etc.) but you can also order a customised item either to eat in or takeaway. The bowls can be built with a base (brown rice or slaw), a protein (pulled pork, chicken or haloumi) and 2 extras (tortilla chips, pumpkin seeds, croutons, pico de gallo, dry slaw, jalapeños), plus lettuce, cucumber, cheese and a sauce (chipotle mayo, tomato chilli jam, spicy aioli or garlic aioli). All for $10.80. My bowl had slaw, pulled pork, pico de gallo and chipotle aioli. I found the meat to be the star of the show, with good taste and a decent serving. The veggies were a bit old and boring and could not be rescued by the sauce. I did not notice that there were premium extras that could be added to the bowl, e.g. guacamole ($1.50). There’s also the option of doubling up the protein for $3.

Pulled pork bowl

Pulled pork bowl ($10.80)

Other customisable items include pressed wraps, grain salads and classic wraps. There’s also a pulled pork sandwich and a classic bowl with pulled pork, plus toast and toasties (gluten-free available for extra $1).

Coffee is surprisingly expensive, considering there are plenty of better choices around. Small coffees are $3.70, and extras (e.g. soy/almond milk are $0.70).

Almond milk flat white

Small almond milk flat white ($4.40)

The Bottom Line
Coffee: 2.5/5, expensive and not much better than capsule coffee.
Food: 3/5, gluten-free and vegetarian choices available, customisable items.
Service: 3/5, standard “order and pay at the counter” service.

The Corner McCafé
8b Missenden Rd
Camperdown NSW 2050
(02) 9565 5710
Website

The Corner by McCafé Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aslan Coffee

Review: Aslan Coffee (St Peters)

Continuing with our exploration of our new neighbourhood, we visited this coffee micro brewery for lunch. It rates well in reviews everywhere and they seem serious about their beans.

Aslan Coffee

The coffee comes from Indonesia and is light and soft. Keep this in mind if you like your coffee strong.

Chai latte, long black

Chai latte ($3.5) + almond milk ($1), long black ($3.5)

The menu also features Indonesian items like the perkedel (Indonesian style potato croquette), Aunty Mei’s pork satay and Tempeh Orek burger. The rest of the menu mixes standard cafe fare with some North American influences, such as huevos rancheros and pulled pork burgers. Danish feta and chipotle aioli appear multiple times in the menu.

We ordered from the breakfast menu, which is available all days on weekends. The peppercorn hot smoked salmon with pan-fried perkedel, chipotle aioli, poached eggs, sesame seeds & fresh greens had a great flavour.

Peppercorn hot smoked salmon

Peppercorn hot smoked salmon ($18.5)

We ordered the green eggs omelette, a herby spinach omelette with semi-dried tomatoes, avocado, Danish feta cheese, pine nuts & side of chilli pesto with extra Spanish chorizo. Although I like my eggs less cooked, the omelette was good and very filling.

Green eggs omelette

Green eggs omelette ($17.50) + spanish chorizo ($3.5)

Other healthy options in the menu I noticed are the avocado boconcini salad ($12.5, with grilled chicken for $5 extra) and the roast vegetables salad ($15.5, with pulled pork for $4 extra). It’s also good to keep in mind that gluten-free toast is available for $2 extra.

The Bottom Line
Coffee: 3.5/5, good coffee but very delicate. Almond milk available.
Food: 3.5/5, plenty of vegetarian options (with vegan option available on most of them), some gluten-free options.
Service: 3.5/5, good service.

Aslan Coffee
1 Council St
St Peters NSW 2044
0488 827 526
Website
On Facebook

Aslan Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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
Website
On Facebook

Sydney Park Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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
On Facebook
On Instagram

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
On Facebook
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Pigeon Hole Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Copper Cafe

Review: Copper Cafe (St Peters)

We have moved. Again. Even though we’re not far away from our last place, this is a great excuse to getting to know our new locals. Our housemate got us decent coffee from here the day after moving, so I decided it was worth trying the food as well.

We each had a second almond milk latte to fill up the caffeine tank in preparation for the day ahead.

Almond milk lattes

Almond milk lattes ($4 each)

Alvaro had his eyes set on the Big Brekkie, which comes with 2 poached eggs, bacon, chorizo, roasted mushrooms, tomato, hash brown and sourdough. They don’t have gluten-free bread, so we ordered ours without toast. Keep in mind that the chorizo and hash brown are not gluten-free, so ask for a substitution if you are highly reactive to gluten. I was fine with the chorizo and didn’t eat the hash brown.

Big breakfast

Big Brekkie ($16.50)

We also tried the Eggs Benedict, which are served with smoked salmon instead of the traditional ham. Again, we ordered this without bread. I was happy to see that they didn’t skimp on the spinach. The radish slices definitely added to the looks and texture of the dish.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict ($16.50)

Other gluten-free options include the breakfast omelette and some lunch dishes, such as the grilled chicken salad. Just ask the friendly staff.

Being a small cafe, Copper offers baked treats to grab and go with your morning coffee, and also a variety of juices.

Baked treats

The Bottom Line
Coffee: 3/5, almond milk available
Food: 3.5/5, regular cafe fare, gluten-free options not labelled on the menu but meals can be adapted
Service: 4/5, happy to accommodate customer requests, responsive on Facebook

Copper Cafe
29 May St
St Peters NSW 2044
(02) 9519 4286
On Facebook

Copper Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato