About Life

Review: About Life (Bondi Junction)

I had shopped at About Life before, I had eaten their food (at an event they catered for) but I had never sat down at one of their in-store cafes for a meal. These work as a canteen/cafe, with salads, breakfast items (e.g. yoghurt, fruit, muesli) and hot dishes served up in cold/hot food displays for you to fill up a container, pay for your meal and go. There is also a menu with breakfast and lunch items you order like you would normally in a cafe.

We grabbed two small boxes with ready-made miso chicken slaw (white cabbage, carrots, shallots, chicken, red onion, miso and coriander dressing) and steamed vegetables. They were pretty filling and were much more interesting than your typical pre-made salad. Even the steamed vegetables, as boring as that sounds, came with the novelty of steamed cabbage and radishes.

Steamed vegetables, miso chicken slaw

Small boxes of steamed vegetables and miso chicken slaw ($7.90 each)

We also ordered a grass-fed linseed beef burger with cheddar, cheese, tomato, grilled onions, raw tomato relish & greens and a pulled pork paleo sandwich free-range pulled pork slow cooked in bone broth with raw tahini slaw & greens. You can swap the bread in any of the burgers for paleo bread (the pulled pork paleo sandwich comes with it by default). I liked the beef burger much better. The patty was huge and pink in the middle (the way I like it) and I liked how its meatiness was complemented by the cheese, relish and onions. Yes, eating with your hands would be a challenge. Use cutlery.

Pulled pork paleo sandwich

Beef burger (10.90) in paleo bread ($2.00)

The pork sandwich was good and had heaps of pork (everyone else: please note this is the right amount of meat to put in a sandwich), however I liked the flavour of the burger better. As I said before, the paleo bread is included by default so you won’t have to pay extra for it.

Grass-fed linseed beef burger

Pulled pork paleo sandwich (10.90)

Alvaro ordered a coconut water iced coffee that was so good, I ended up drinking half of it.

Coconut water iced coffee

Coconut water iced coffee ($6.90)

About Life Bondi Junction
31 Oxford Street
Bondi Junction
Website

About Life Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The End of King Cafe

Review: The End of King Cafe (Newtown)

This venue, located close to St Peters station, has been the home of a few different businesses in the time we’ve lived in Sydney. I’m not sure how long The End of King has been here but it sure gets good reviews.

I gotta be honest and say that, besides the reviews, we came for the free wifi. Fortunately, food, drinks and service were great.

I had a macchiato for a change, which didn’t disappoint. I also tried Alvaro’s pineapple and mint frappé which was refreshing and not too sweet.

Macchiato

Macchiato ($3.50)

Pineapple and mint frappé

Pineapple and mint frappé ($6)

We ordered a couple of dishes from the specials menu, the chorizo stack (grilled chorizo, Black Forest bacon, scrambled egg with chilli and feta, avocado salsa on toast) and Sal’s Brekkie (sautéed mushrooms with kale, free range poached eggs, goat cheese, almond and hazelnut dukkah, polenta chips & toast). Both normally come with white sourdough and there’s a (small, from memory) fee to swap for gluten-free toast.

Chorizo stack

Chorizo stack ($17.90)

Both meals were great and very filling. If I had to pick a favourite, I’d go with the chorizo stack just because it was lighter on the carbs.

Sal's Brekkie

Sal’s Brekkie ($18.90)

Looking forward to trying more dishes, especially the salads and the coffee frappé.

The End of King

The End of King Cafe
609-611 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8021 3486
On Facebook

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Nomad

Review: Nomad (Surry Hills)

Last week my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary #10 (!). We’re not into big celebrations so we (I) prefer to splurge on a nice but not too fancy dinner on occasions like this. I had a few options lined up and asked for the infallible wisdom of my fellow Sydney food bloggers. I ended up with even more appealing choices and ended up booking one of my original ones: Nomad.

Pickles

We changed our booking time due to unforeseen circumstances and got seating at the window, which was perfect for us. The bench is decorated with jars of house pickles to distract diners from whatever is happening on the street. Just kidding. We were offered drinks but I had been drinking since lunchtime (it was my last day at my old job) and Alvaro couldn’t drink because he had to work the next morning. As much as I hated not trying any of the wines, I was happy to note in the bill that the endless supply of sparkling water costed a fraction ($4.50) of what a glass or three of wine would have. Alvaro ordered a pomegranate and cinnamon soft drink. And that, kids, is how an old couple celebrates its tenth anniversary.

Pomegranate and cinnamon soft drink

Pomegranate and cinnamon soft drink ($7)

Even though I had been eating all afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience. We started with a charcuterie board with duck breast, pork & fennel salami, coppa, pastrami and another cured meat that escapes my mind, all top notch. I also had a single oyster with Nomad Worcestershire.

Nomad Charcuterie

Nomad Charcuterie ($29)

Oyster with Nomad Worcestershire

Oyster with Nomad Worcestershire ($5)

Our main was the wood roasted Melanda Park pork with romesco and potato, guanciale and sage. The pork was perfect (can’t go wrong with roasted pork shoulder with crackling) and the potatoes, outstanding: crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The fatiness of the guanciale paired well with the crispness of the potatoes and the fried sage.

Wood roasted Melanda Park pork with romesco

Wood roasted Melanda Park pork ($47)

Potatoes, guanciale & sage

We also ordered the spiced cauliflower with cashew and wild rocket as a side. Awesome dish that deserves to be upgraded to “vegetarian main”, IMO.

Spiced cauliflower

Spiced cauliflower ($17)

Nomad
16 Foster Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9280 3395
Website

Nomad Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Stinking Bishops

Review: The Stinking Bishops (Enmore)

Cheese, charcuterie, wine. I’ve been itching to come eat to The Stinking Bishops literally since they opened their doors but life (and once, a fully booked dining room) got in the way.

We finally managed to visit for a special occasion lunch that justified the expense and a glass of sparkling at mid-day.

Cheeses, meats

We ordered a meat board and a cheese board. The meats were easy to select (smoked Wagyu beef and Pamplona chorizo), but we needed help with the cheeses. We did know we wanted something hard or semi-hard, preferably made of goat or sheep milk. They were out of the truffle Pecorino, so we got the suggested Wyngaard goat milk Gouda and the Coolea (similar to a cheddar), both fantastic and served with gluten-free crackers on request.

Meat board, cheese board

2 cheese board ($21), 2 meat board ($19)

We also ordered the chicken liver paté with blueberry & tarragon jelly (sans croutons), which was equally delicious and came with a tangy radish and sprout salad (I think in lieu of the croutons).

Chicken liver pate

Chicken liver paté ($18)

I intend to visit as frequently as possible to sample more cheeses and meats.

The Stinking Bishops
Shop 5, 63-71 Enmore Rd
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9007 7754
Email
Website
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The Stinking Bishops Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Macelleria

Review: Macelleria (Enmore)

I love the concept of this place. I’ve been twice in three days. Enough said.

Dining room

Macelleria is basically a butcher shop where you can do the normal thing and just buy some (great quality) meat and snags to go, or you can order your meat of choice (mainly beef but also some lamb, chicken and fish), get it cooked to your liking, throw in a couple of sides and a drink and eat in.

Steaks

Steaks

The steaks (Cape Grim and Angus) are excellent and they do a good job at cooking them to required specs. Most sausages are gluten-free and way above supermarket quality.

Sausages and skewers

There’s a good variety of salads (all $5.90), which are pre-portioned in takeway containers for easy grab-n-go. Roasted veggies are kept warm in a bain marie and chips are cooked to order.

Salads, sausages, wines

So far we’ve tried a couple of excellent steaks, some sausages, chicken skewers, coleslaw and roasted vegetables. We’ve enjoyed every single bite.

Rump steak

Steak

Cape Grim rump steak ($16.90)

Roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables ($5.50 small – pictured, $8.90 large)

Chorizo

Chorizo ($3.90 each)

Duck sausages

Duck sausages ($3.50 each)

Coleslaw

Coleslaw ($5.90)

Chicken skewers

Chicken skewers ($2.50 each)

There’s a full bar offering the usual suspects and a short but interesting wine list (featuring a few organic Italian drops) and little known (to me) beers. If you have trouble deciding, the friendly French bartender will help you out. There’s also kombucha available. Did I mention I love this place?

Wines

Italian red

There’s also a variety of burgers that can be ordered naked (i.e. no bun). Burgers are great but the patties themselves are on the small side.

Macelleria
73-75 Enmore Rd
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9557 0465
Website
On Facebook

Macelleria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Stoneground Espresso

Review: Stoneground Espresso (Enmore)

Facade

The premises previously occupied by Bravo Coffee are now home of Stoneground Espresso, a clean modern space offering great (slightly expensive?) brews.

Menu

The minimalist menu reads: “Filter $5-10, Black $4, White $4”. There are a few croissants and cookies the size of my face, but it’s clear the main focus here is coffee.

Their cold drip is excellent, as is their service. It’s also a cool place to hang out, and I really appreciate the fact that there’s virtually no food, because it takes the pressure off.

Cold drip

Cold drip ($5)

There’s a variety of beans to take home, as well as Aeropress and other gadgets.

Coffee bags

An old roasting machine, which I think was there since the Bravo days, is the main decoration in the uncluttered cafe.

Machine

Stoneground Espresso
177 Enmore Rd
Enmore NSW 2042

Bondi Wholefoods

Review: Bondi Wholefoods (Surry Hills)

This is one of the many healthy Bondi cafes that triggered food envy every time I saw its dishes pictured on Instagram. A while ago I learned they had opened a shop in Surry Hills but the other thousand things occupying my mind wiped that fact out of my memory until last week. Turns out the Surry Hills shop is a short stroll away from where we practice Krav Maga.

Bondi Wholefoods

The shop is huge and includes a grocery store, the cafe, and a section with ready-made takeaway meals.

Takeaway

As you can imagine, I suffer from severe FOMO every time I visit a wholefoods cafe like this one. I finally decided to order the green longevity bowl even though I’m always suspicious of catchy phrases like that. However, once I read the entire description: “nutritious superfood kale & avocado, dressed in garlic, chilli, lemon and olive oil, twice baked cumin sweet potato, tricoloured quinoa, sea vegetables, sautéed miso mushrooms, fresh baby spinach, turmeric cashew cream, two gooey poached eggs, fermented veggies and fresh watercress”, I realised this meal could very well extend my life if I ate it every day. There are a few options for extra protein: free range crispy ham (my choice), smoked salmon, beef sausage or ocean trout.

Green longevity bowl

Green longevity bowl ($21.90) + free range crispy ham ($6)

Because it was too late for me to have second coffee, I ordered a turmeric latte made with organic turmeric and coconut milk, a perfect caffeine-free, anti-inflammatory beverage.

Turmeric latte

Turmeric latte ($4.50)

Alvaro had lunch elsewhere but couldn’t resist ordering an açaí smoothie, of which I had a few sips mouthfuls as the perfect end to my meal.

Açaí smoothie

Acai smoothie ($10.90)

Looking forward to trying more dishes, including their signature paleo bread.

Bondi Wholefoods

Bondi Wholefoods
517 Elizabeth St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9300 6776
Website

Bondi Wholefoods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Higher Ground

Review: Higher Ground (Melbourne CBD)

I caught up with my sister for a last breakfast in Melbourne before flying back to Sydney. Up until then I was under the impression that the only options near Southern Cross station on a weekend were fast food-type eateries but I was wrong. Higher Ground sits right across the road from the station, opens on weekends, and has fabulous food.

Yes, yes, the place is a little too hipster for my taste but service is friendly, which is what matters the most to me.

Open kitchen

We were not super hungry thanks to the substantial dinner we had at Supernormal the night before, so we decided to order just one dish to share. Once again our telepathic powers collided and there was no need to negotiate. The chosen dish was minced lamb fry up with eggplant, fried eggs, pickled rhubarb, smoked yoghurt, pine nut dukkah and possibly the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever had (which is made on premises, by the way). The bread was so good that my clever sister ordered some butter to enjoy the full experience. I don’t mean to sound like the bread was the highlight of the dish; it was all good.

Minced lamb fry up eggplant, fried eggs, pickled rhubarb, smoked yoghurt, pine nut dukkah, sourdough

Minced lamb fry up ($20)

I could tell they have the knowledge and the craft when it comes to coffee but the floral tones just didn’t click with me. Perhaps it was the method (I ordered a batch brew), or maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea (bad pun intended).

Batch brew

Batch brew ($4)

For people who can tolerate gluten there are several great-looking pastries on offer. It might be a good idea to grab a few before catching the Skybus.

Pastries

Higher Ground
650 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 8899 6219
Website
Email
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Higher Ground Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Supernormal

Review: Supernormal (Melbourne CBD)

This is one of the multiple restaurants in Melbourne that have been in my radar for years. It belongs to chef Andrew McConnell of Cutler & Co., Cumulus Inc and Builders Arms Hotel fame (and a few other venues that are less known to me). Supernormal does pan-Asian food (aka Asian fusion) and, in my opinion, it does it well. Best of all, despite being extremely busy (parties of less than 5 are welcome as walk-ins only, which means a long wait list) they manage to keep their cool and provide excellent customer service.

Bar

We visited on a Friday night and waited for about an hour in a nearby bar because the bar at Supernormal was packed. When we came back, our table was waiting for us. We were served some tasty spiced sunflower seeds which we nibbled on while sipping sake. You can buy a jar of spiced sunflower seeds to take home, along with other merchandise such as t-shirts and cookbooks.

Sake

Sake

As it’s common these days, the menu is designed to share. My sister and I ordered one item from the “snacks and appetisers”, “raw bar”, “dumpling and bao”, and “plates and vegetables sections”, starting with some pretty good cabbage & radish kimchi.

Sunflower seeds, kimchi

Sunflower seeds, kimchi ($6)

Our raw dish was a sashimi of kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradish, which was delicate and well-balanced.

Kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradish

Kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradish ($17)

Next, we ordered duck bao sans bao. They give you lettuce cups if you order the gluten-free version. Despite its pale unappetising appearance the duck was flavoursome, and even better when drizzled with vinegar & plum sauce.

Duck bao (sans bao)

Duck bao in lettuce cup

Duck bao with lettuce cups ($26)

Our vegetable dish was roast cauliflower, white miso & furikake, which I deeply enjoyed in part because I <3 cauliflower. This umami bomb was one the best vegetable sides I've had in a while.

Roast cauliflower, white miso & furikake

Roast cauliflower, white miso & furikake ($17)

My friend Christine had some vegetable dumplings and a New England lobster roll that looked great and I wouldn’t mind to try served on lettuce cups.

New England lobster roll

New England lobster roll ($16)

We could have stopped there but the words peanut butter parfait, salted caramel & soft chocolate were too hard to resist. We ordered one to share between the 3 of us, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Good dessert, although way too sweet for my taste.

Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel & soft chocolate

Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel & soft chocolate ($15)

Supernormal
180 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9650 8688
Website

Supernormal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Grain Store

Review: The Grain Store (Melbourne CBD)

I recently went to Melbourne to attend a nutrition conference. It was a great opportunity to catch up with the local sangha, a couple of old friends and, of course, my sister. We managed to squeeze in a few meals, starting with breakfast on her day off work. The chosen spot was Grain Store purely based on Google ratings and convenient location.

Despite its name, this cafe is gluten-free friendly. Some dishes are inherently gluten-free, some can be easily modified by swapping the toast. It was good to know that my sister and I still have the same taste, and thus is easy to order dishes to share. But first, coffee. They do a great cold drip served on top of coffee ice cubes. Genius.

Cold drip

Cold drip ($4)

I loved both of the dishes we ordered, especially the portobello mushroom and Gruyère potato rösti with poached eggs, spinach leaves and hazelnut hollandaise, which combined several of my favourite ingredients. The serving was huge, so consider sharing or bringing a container to take leftovers home.

Portobello mushroom and Gruyere potato rösti

Portobello mushroom and Gruyere potato rosti ($18)

The chorizo & Manchego omelette with orange cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, harissa aioli and gluten-free toast was also very tasty huge meal. Also great for sharing or for big appetites (perfect for a post-workout breakfast, for example).

Chorizo & Manchego omelette

Chorizo & Manchego omelette ($21)

If you’re in the CBD come for food and/or coffee, it’s all good.

The Grain Store
517 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9972 6993
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The Grain Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato