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

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

Review: Berta (Surry Hills)

Our second anniversary dinner happened on 5S (one of the shifts in the AltShift experiment) but I decided not to worry about compliance and enjoy dining in one of the restaurants I’ve been wanting to try for ages.

Our waiter had marked the gluten-free options on a menu in preparation for our arrival, and he was happy to answer all our questions and requests for suggestions. Dinner started with a glass of Prosecco and a single freshly shucked Hastings River oyster for me, while my non-drinking, non-oyster-lover husband sipped tap water.

Freshly shucked Hastings River oyster

Freshly shucked Hastings River oyster ($4)

Our chosen starter was burrata, pickled green tomato, basil. I had never tried burrata before and I could see what’s the fuss about. It was smooth and creamy, and matched perfectly with the tangy sweetness of the tomatoes, and the fresh basil.

Burrata, pickled green tomato, basil

Burrata, pickled green tomato, basil ($20)

The main was porchetta, cabbage, nduja, sugar plum, with leaf salad, walnut, zucchini, Pecorino and polenta fritti, rosemary as sides. Best porchetta and fried polenta ever. I tried to not eat too many polenta cubes; a difficult task because they were so crunchy and flavoursome. I make friends with salad, but this time the salad, although good, was not the highlight.

Porchetta, cabbage, nduja, sugar plum

Porchetta, cabbage, nduja, sugar plum ($34)

Leaf salad, walnut, zucchini, Pecorino

Leaf salad, walnut, zucchini, Pecorino ($12)

Polenta fritti, rosemary

Polenta fritti, rosemary ($12)

We had ordered less than what our waiter recommended with the intention of leaving room for dessert. I was eyeing the cheeses, but realised a glass of grappa would be enough. Alvaro ordered a scoop of roasted banana gelato and one of sheep milk yoghurt sorbetto, and while he was happy with both, he liked the sorbetto much better.

Roasted banana gelato, sheep milk yoghurt sorbetto

Roasted banana gelato, sheep milk yoghurt sorbetto ($4 each)

Berta
17-19 Alberta Street
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9264 6133
berta.com.au

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

Review: The Norfolk (Surry Hills)

Here’s a pub that ticks all the boxes: central location, good vibe, wide array of booze, tasty food, and a menu where all items can be made gluten-free. The theme is Mexican (or Tex-Mex I should say), not only for decor and food but also drinks.

Norfolk Hotel

My sister and I shared the barbacoa pork feast, a plate of adobo rub pork for 2 with pickled jalapeños, curtido, salsas, gluten-free tortillas instead of soft rolls, and fries. We both loved it and are keen on coming back to sample more dishes.

Barbacoa pork feast

Barbacoa pork feast ($36)

The Norfolk
305 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9699 3177
info@thenorfolk.co
www.thenorfolk.co

The Norfolk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Madame Nhu (Surry Hills)

A winter dinner catch-up with my sister called for Pho. Good opportunity to finally try Madame Nhu. The Surry Hills shop is small and cosy, and service is efficient in order to keep tables turning. We tried the Phở nạm beef with tender thick-cut Tasmanian grass-fed brisket. I ordered mine without noodles, and it came with veggies instead. Yes, price is higher than average but quality is great.

Pho

Pho accompaniments

Phở nạm beef ($15.9)

Madame Nhu
82 Campbell St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9212 3311
www.madamenhu.com.au

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Review: Bar H (Surry Hills)

We decided to have one last fancy meal with our housemates before some of us departed for holidays, and to celebrate one of our housemate’s new job (and, sadly, relocation interstate). The chosen venue was Bar H, which has been in my wishlist for a long time and happened to be close to the footy and have a free table on a Friday night. They do Japanese fusion, and have a wonderful array of sake and wine available.

Bar H

We toasted with sake and later a shiraz, and had some fish crackling, chilli, yukari as appetizer. More similar to prawn crackers than pork crackling, but tasty anyway, especially with drinks.

Fish crackling, chilli, yukari

Fish crackling, chilli, yukari ($6)

Alvaro and I shared the beef tartare, umeboshi plum, sea banana, a wonderful Japanese version of the French classic, and the slow cooked kurobuta pork shoulder, quandong, grilled lettuce, with a generous amount of savoury pork paired with an awesome fruity sauce.

Beef tartare, umeboshi plum, sea banana

Beef tartare, umeboshi plum, sea banana ($19)

Slow cooked kurobuta pork shoulder, quandong, grilled lettuce

Slow cooked kurobuta pork shoulder, quandong, grilled lettuce ($36)

Other dishes ordered at the table were: sakamushi clams, prawns, sake & warrigal greens; steamed pork and umeboshi dumplings, and mooloolaba bug meat, mushroom, buckwheat, soft egg, shio koji, all beautifully plated and I heard, very well executed.

Sakamushi clams, prawns, sake & warrigal greens

Sakamushi clams, prawns, sake & warrigal greens ($29)

Steamed pork and umeboshi dumplings

Steamed pork and umeboshi dumplings ($16)

DSC_0705

Mooloolaba bug meat, mushroom, buckwheat, soft egg, shio koji ($33)

Bar H
80 Campbell Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9280 1980
barhsurryhills.com
On Facebook

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Review: Three Williams (Surry Hills)

Three Williams is one of those cafes that have been high up at the top pretty much since they opened. I recently had the opportunity to give it a go and could see why it’s one of Sydney’s favourites.

Three Williams

They’re well known for their coffee, but I was not very fond of their brew. I had an iced black, a good alternative when there’s no cold drip on offer.

Iced black

There are also fresh veggie/fruit juices for those looking for a refreshing alternative.

Apple, carrot & ginger juice

Apple, carrot & ginger juice ($7)

Alvaro and I shared the heirloom tomatoes with two soft poached eggs, jamon and fresh avocado on GF bread (instead of sourdough) with smoked cheese sauce. Nice dish, with a good flavour combination. The sauce wasn’t as strongly flavoured as expected, but not in a bad way.

Heirloom tomatoes with two soft poached eggs, jamon, fresh avocado on GF toast w a smoked cheese sauce

Heirloom tomatoes ($19)

We also had The Merchant: chilli fried egg, crispy bacon, ranch dressing, pickled slaw on GF bread (instead of a warm brioche bun). Interesting flavours, but again nothing too crazy. Perhaps a bit more exciting on brioche, but very nice nonetheless.

The merchant: chilli fried egg, crispy bacon, ranch dressing, pickled slaw on GF bread

The merchant ($13)

People looking for a more traditional breakfast can choose something like poached eggs on toast plus extra smashed avocado and bacon.

Heirloom tomatoes with two soft poached eggs, jamon, fresh avocado on GF toast w a smoked cheese sauce

Poached eggs on toast ($11) + smashed avocado ($4) + bacon ($4)

Poached eggs on toast + smashed avocado + bacon

Three Williams
613a Elizabeth Street
Redfern NSW 2016
(02) 9698 1111
info@threewilliamscafe.com
threewilliamscafe.com

Three Williams on Urbanspoon

Review: MoVida Sydney (Surry Hills)

I love it when I get to tick off a restaurant from my wish list. And I love it more when the restaurant meets my expectations, which fortunately was the case with MoVida. My sister and I couldn’t get to try the original branches in Melbourne when we were there a couple of years ago (they closed for the holiday season), but Sydney was no excuse.

MoVida Sydney

We chose MoVida to celebrate our 5 years in Australia. My sister came along for the celebration and we both picked an unknown red for the toast. The Monastrel was light and fruity, the way I like my wine.

MoVida Sydney: Wine

Bodegas Ponce Monastrel ($10 per glass)

I did something unusual and ordered something just for myself. Just because Gladys doesn’t like oysters and Alvaro wasn’t particularly interested that day, I started dinner with the ostra especial, a Wapengo Lake organic oyster with house-cured NZ king salmon and Mt Barker pickles. Quite a mouthful… a delicious mouthful I should say.

MoVida Sydney: Ostra especial

Ostra especial ($5.50)

Apart from that selfish nibble we ordered a bunch of raciones (bigger dishes) to share, plus a veggie side. First came the cecina, air-cured Wagyu beef with truffle foam & poached egg. This was very different to the cecina we know in Perú, in a very good way. I hate to spoil the post at the very beginning but this was THE dish of the night. You can stop reading now.

MoVida Sydney: Cecina

Cecina ($24.50)

Next up was the panceta, confit crisp pork belly with pickled clams & seaweed. Pork belly is usually my favourite and this one was nice but lacked wow factor IMO.

MoVida Sydney: Panceta

Panceta ($17.50)

Next came the patatas bravas, confit potatoes with spicy sauce, which were aesthetically a nicer version of the Spanish classic.

MoVida Sydney: Patatas bravas

Patatas bravas ($13.00)

Next was the menestra, which again thankfully means something else in Spanish from Spain than it does for us. They were seasonal organic vegetables (mainly baby heirloom carrots) with jamón & confit baby globe artichokes. Very nice side dish, I like it more than the potatoes, but I would have preferred they arrived to the table at the same time as any of the meat dishes.

MoVida Sydney: Menestra

Menestra ($14.50)

Finally, the carrillera de buey, beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez with cauliflower purée, became our top 2 dish of the night with the help of a sprinkle of salt.

MoVida Sydney: Carrillera de buey

Carrillera de buey ($29.50)

As many reviewers have reported the portions at MoVida are not particularly big, but we didn’t feel like eating any of the available gluten-free desserts (flan and ice cream).

MoVida Sydney
50 Holt Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 8964 7642
movida.com.au/sydney

MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon

Review: Longrain (Surry Hills)

We had another meal with our Peruvian friends during their short stay in Sydney. It wouldn’t be a proper visit to Oz if they didn’t have any Thai food. As much as we love our cheap & cheerful local I decided it was best to go to a fancier restaurant.

While not strictly “authentic”, Longrain has a reputation to support it. Its dinner menu is brief but has a bit of everything.

Our initial intention was to share 2 dishes between each couple but we ended up sharing the lot, which was great, especially considering that dishes are brought to the table as they are cooked.

We started off with the crispy skin corn-fed chicken, chilli, ginger and black vinegar. Super crispy and nicely seasoned. Huge serving.

Crispy skin corn fed chicken, chilli, ginger, black vinegar

Crispy skin corn-fed chicken, chilli, ginger, black vinegar ($39.00)

Next came the stir-fried pork belly, Szechuan pepper, Asian celery, chilli and ginger. An okay stir-fry with a fat-to-meat ratio a bit too high for an average customer, IMO.

Stir fried pork belly, Szechuan pepper, Asian celery, chilli, ginger

Stir-fried pork belly, Szechuan pepper, Asian celery, chilli, ginger ($42.00)

Next up was the whole fish, grilled in banana leaf, green curry paste, Thai basil. The fish of the day was snapper and it was quite mild in taste.

Whole fish, grilled in banana leaf, green curry paste, Thai basil

Whole fish, grilled in banana leaf, green curry paste, Thai basil ($48.00)

The final dish, caramelised pork hock, five spice and chilli vinegar was actually my fave of the night. It did exceed my (monthly? annual?) sugar quota but the flavours were bolder than in the other dishes, in a good way.

Caramelised pork hock, five spice, chilli vinegar

Caramelised pork hock, five spice, chilli vinegar ($33.50)

Apart from steamed rice ($3 per person), we ordered a serving of stir-fried Chinese broccoli, snow peas, garlic and oyster sauce for the table. Of course it was ordered before we knew the servings were enormous. The veggies were cooked well and the seasoning was spot-on.

Stir fried Chinese broccoli, snow peas, garlic, oyster sauce

Stir-fried Chinese broccoli, snow peas, garlic, oyster sauce ($14.00)

Alvaro couldn’t resist the temptation when he saw coconut sorbet in the dessert menu. I had a couple of spoonfuls, and while also over my sweetness threshold, I must admit it was delicious.

Coconut sorbet

Coconut sorbet ($7.00)

Longrain
85 Commonwealth St
Sydney NSW 2010
(02) 9280 2888
longrain.com

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Review: Peru on the Road (Peruvian food truck by Morena, Wynyard Park)

Food trucks are quite popular in Sydney these days. I’ve been meaning to try a couple of them, but life gets in the way every time. When I received Morena‘s newsletter announcing their upcoming food truck close to my office, I knew I had to be there.

The truck

The chef

Chef Alejandro Saravia plating out street food

Peru on the Road showcased fancier versions of Peruvian street food at Wynyard Park on July 22 – 23. The menu included:

  • Anticuchos de alpaca (grass fed Millpaca Alpaca skewers marinated in a traditional anticucho sauce – mix of Andean roasted peppers, vinegar and garlic – served with chimichurri – fresh aromatic herbs macerated in oils and apple vinegar)
  • Pork chicharrón (twice cooked crispy suckling pork belly served in a bun with caramelised sweet potato & orange puree, pickled daikon and malagueta chillies)
  • Quinoa salad
  • Cassava croquettes
  • Arroz con leche (rice pudding served with poached green apples, pineapple and quinoa caramel)

I ordered a chicharrón with no bun and anticuchos de alpaca. The chicharrón was delicious, perfectly seasoned and cooked, with crispy crackling, and nicely paired by the sweet potato cubes and salsa criolla. The anticuchos were very tasty, too, although more similar to koftas than to traditional anticuchos due to the use of minced meat (traditional anticuchos are made with diamond-shaped beef heart chunks). The seasoning was tasty, and the chimichurri was closer to the typical Peruvian ají sauce with green onions than to real (i.e. Argentinian) chimichurri.

My gringo friend really enjoyed his chicharrón in a bun. He also had a quinoa salad, which looked more like a chickpea stew served with a side of quinoa than a salad. My friend found the presence of snow peas rather un-Peruvian, but I thought it was a symbol of the big Chinese influence in our cuisine. I found the combination (chickpeas, snow peas, celery and dried botija olives) very odd.

Pork chicharrón

Pork chicharrón ($12)

Pork chicharrón with no bun

Pork chicharrón with no bun ($12)

Anticuchos de alpaca

Anticuchos de alpaca ($9)

Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad ($7)

Also on sale was our super sweet national soft drink Inca Kola at $3 per can. I bumped into a few Peruvian friends but noticed that the crowd in the queue was mixed. Hope they all enjoyed the experience.

Inca Kola

Inca Kola ($3)

Due to the big success of the food truck, Morena is offering dishes inspired in Peruvian street food during August and September. Check out the menu here.

Morena

15/425 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 0405 902 896
www.morena.com.au