the hungry duck Sydney restaurants

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Toros Tapas and Bar, Spanish, Darling Harbour

Toros Tapas and Bar
Harbourside, Darling Harbour

9280 0706

My ideal start to a lazy Sunday morning is having breakfast along the harbour. Initially our plan was to breakfast at the Mecca Espresso in Ultimo but upon arriving.. it was closed! How disappointing since D had researched it and it was supposed to be open 8am-3pm on Sundays.

Anyways so our second choice was one of the cafes around Darling Harbour. We walked along the promenade and most of the cafes/restaurants were offering similar choices- big breakfasts, eggs benedict etc w/coffee or juice for around $12-$13- which is quite cheap. Toros caught our eye because it served 'canadian style breakfast'- that is pancakes with eggs and bacon. Sounds weird right?

We each started off with coffee.. 2 soy cappucinos and 2 skim cappucinos.
They sort of all look the same so I've just uploaded one photo instead of four. At first D & I were accidentally served the soy caps- which made me go 'this coffee tastes really strange'. But thankfully the waitress correctly it quickly after so we just swapped coffees.. Kind of awkward eating all the froth and then giving your coffee to someone else..

Big Breakfast - Bacon and poached eggs served with toast, tomatoes and mushrooms

The big breakfast is normally supposed to have lamb and rosemary chipolatas but I changed that to mushrooms- which was nice of the restaurant because I know some places are really strict when it comes to altering the 'specials'.

I enjoyed this. The poached eggs were great and runny. Bacon was nice and crispy. Serving size was fantastic, I could'nt finish it and had quite a bit left.

Canadian Breakfast- Pancakes with maple syrup served with bacon and fried egg

Voila! Looks intense huh? The three other girls ordered this and they all seemed to enjoy it. I think the sweetness of the maple syrup goes well with the saltiness of the bacon.

The verdict

I'll start by saying that the food was good, the coffee was good and generally overall it was good. When we asked for the bill I was surprised to see a $2.50 per head surcharge. Now this was unexpected. When we were deciding on which cafe to eat at there was no mention of a Sunday surcharge or any surcharge whatsoever on Toro's menu. It was misleading because if we had known about the surcharge we would have gone to one of the other cafes. I also think that surcharges (At least % surcharges) for Sunday may be illegal?

For us it was more that we weren't expecting a surcharge rather than the cost of the surcharge itself. $2.50 isnt much but its always unpleasant when you are hit with an extra cost that you didn't expect. I understand that the cafe may have higher staff costs on Sundays but there should have been a bigger sign or something.. The breakfast specials were advertised as $12 for the big breakfast with coffee and $13 for the canadian breakfast with coffee.. it didnt mention any surcharge. Anyways I'm not too fussed by the surcharge because $15 for breakfast and coffee is actually quite cheap and we we rent ripped off. But it would have been nice to know about the surcharge before we sat down.. And what if we had just gotten a $3.50 coffee? Does that mean my coffee becomes $6? Now that gets a bit ridiculous.

What do you guys think? Would you also feel annoyed by a surcharge?

Toros Tapas and Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Din Tai Fung, Taiwanese, World Square

Din Tai Fung,

644 George Street Sydney

9264 6010. Bookings strongly recommended

After Bridesmaids J joined us for dinner and we decided to go to din tai fung for our dumpling fix.
The restaurant had a line (as usual) and we waited for about 20 minutes before getting a table.

Chefs in action

Each patron is given some shredded ginger in a bowl. The way to eat the dumplings is to dip them in a ginger, vinegar and soy sauce mix. I do half vinegar and half soy but you can adjust this to your preferences.

Drunken chicken ($8.80)

Chilli cucumber ($4)

This is great to eat with the meal because its healthy and 'cleaner' for your body.

Tofu with pork floss and preserved egg ($7.50)

Yum! This was the first time I've tried this at din tai fung and I love it. Will definitely order this one again

Hot and Sour Soup ($5.50)

Very hearty and warming.. great for a winters day.

Spicy prawn & pork wontons ($9.50)

Cha Jiang Noodles ($11.80)

Handmade noodles served with pork mince and bean curd sauce. Also very good.. noodles were perfectly cooked and chewy and the flavours are great.

Crumbed chicken fillet with fried rice ($13.80)

We were really full up to this point so only managed to finish half of this dish...

Steamed pork dumplings ($10.80)

These are my favourite dumplings and you dip these in the vinegar/soy/ginger mix. We ordered two servings which was clearly too much as we struggled to finish it. These are alot better than the ones I've had at taste of shanghai.

Lychee and Mint Juice ($6.50)

Ever since K.H introduced me to this drink I've ordered it each and every time I've been to DTF. I love it. It is simply awesome.. you definitely have to order this. Anywhere else I would have accompanied my meal with tea but not at DTF. This drink is a definite must try.

I'm so full! Its almost 11pm and I'm still full. We ordered heaps of food and for 3 the bill was $110 without the entertainment voucher. Very very satisfied though :)

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Crazy Wings, Chinese, Haymarket

Crazy Wings

Shop 41, 1 Dixon Street Sydney

After breakfast at Three tone cafe (read post below) I caught up with T to watch Bridesmaids. We were a little bit hungry beforehand so decided to have a quick snack at Crazy Wings.

Crazy wings is extremely asian.. so asian that we are the only 2 people in the restaurant that didnt converse in chinese. I take that as a good sign because it means the food is authentic.. right?

Crazy Wings serves traditional chinese cuisine which apparently seems to be meat on a skewer. We ordered four chicken wing skewers (Each skewer with 2 wings), half a dozen crazy lamb skewers, three mushroom skewers and a plate of mung bean noodles with sesame and bean sauce. All for $28! Great bargain.

Mung bean noodles.

The sauce was addictively good

Honey & Soy chicken wings

Yummy! These were delicious (and extremely unhealthy). The wings were perfectly cooked and you could taste the sweetness of the honey. Yum! This is the best way to cook chicken wings.

Original flavour chicken wings

T had this and commented that it tastes 'very china'. Haha.. what does that mean?

Half a dozen crazy lamb skewers

There are three skewers left on the plate because we ate the first three already. Sooo good :)

Crazy mushroom

Crazy wings is a pleasure that I only allow myself once every few months. The food is good but if you eat too much of it you could easily find your jeans fitting too tightly. Definitely recommended :)

Crazy Wings on Urbanspoon

Three Tone Cafe, Haymarket

Three Tone Cafe,

Shop 8, 405 Sussex Street Sydney

Last week smh wrote an article about some of the best cafes in Sydney. Mentioned in their article was Three Tone Cafe.

Three Tone Cafe in the middle of Sussex and Dixon Streets and you don't really notice it other than for a little blackboard sign outside the cafe. So after hearing about it my sister & I decided that we would come for breakfast and give their coffee a try.

The menu has a bit of everything... pastas, big breakfasts, open grill sandwiches and various vietnamese foods

And the coffee!!

Eggs Benedict

Not the typical sourdough eggs benedict.. although it was very pretty it was very generous and hearty. The additional salad leaves were actually really good because it make the breakfast a bit more balanced. I wished my poached egg was a bit more runny though..

Big Breakfast

Now for $11.90 this was fricking huge. D & I managed to get through only half of this (mostly the mushrooms and the sausage) and most of the toast was untouched. The serving size was biggggg.

Overall it was okay... I found the coffee to be good but I dont know if I can rave about it. It certainly is better than most of the cafes around Haymarket though.

Three Tone Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Cupcake Bakery, Cupcakes, QVB Sydney

The Cupcake Bakery

Lower ground, Shop 2 QVB

It was the last day of our rotation and we wanted to give our team members a token of our appreciation for putting up with us for four months. We decided on cupcakes as ourdeal had a offer of a dozen mixed cupcakes for $20 which is great value as the cupcakes are HUGE and normally $3-$4.50 each.

Cupcakes! Red velvet, Choc-choc, carrot, sticky date, strawberry vanilla, lemon and poppyseed and vanilla

Gourmet Cupcakes! Profiterole, molten chocolate, rocky road, tiramisu, meringue, strawberry cheesecake and a snowy looking one

I had a very confusing conversation with the service guy while choosing the gourmet cupcakes. He goes 'what cupcakes would you like? we have 6 gourmet types so you can get 2 of each'. I was thinking 'Huh? But I get 12 in total so how do I get to choose??'. Epic communication fail. So I thought he gave me two of each but later when I opened the box OMG he ripped me off! Swapped one of my profiterole with some crappy white coconut one >=(. So stingy.

We received good reviews so I assume they were all nice.. I didnt get to try any because I was still so full from yum cha. Either way they look absolutely delicious (except for that one random snowy white one)

The Cupcake Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sky Phoenix, Yum Cha, Sydney

Sky Phoenix

Level 6, Shop 6001 Westfield Sydney

9223 8822

This week has been bad. Now that I'm writing up these blogs, I can actually see all the food that I have eaten this week/weekend. And I'm not too proud of myself.

I was actually considering doing a '30 days of healthy eating' and only going to HEALTHY places to eat and doing a month worth of healthy food blogs.. I think I really should.. because I'm not healthy at the moment haha

Anyways lets start off with Friday afternoon yum cha. So Sky Phoenix allows two sessions for yum cha on Fridays- 12PM- 130PM and 130PM to 3PM. Naturally I chose the 12pm sitting since I hate being hungry and waiting for food :)

The food was very good and for an hour we happily chomped through various dim sims/buns/pastries and so forth.

Seafood and vegetables dumplings

Prawns and vegetables dumplings

Sauteed tripe belly (I think)

Stuffed and deep fried taro puffs

Deep fried glutinous rice stuffed with pork- or otherwise known as 'footballs'

Pork and prawns wrapped in bean curd pastry

Steamed prawn dumplings

Chives and prawn dumplings

Vegetable dumplings

I'm very proud of our group for ordering mostly steamed dishes. Although we walked away extremely stuffed and satisfied, at least we managed to avoid most of the deep fried dishes. We finished off our meals with mango pancakes and mango puddings which were rich, sweet and delicious.

A very convenient and easy place for yum cha in the CBD. Its great that you can book because it means you dont need to worry about wasting half your lunch hour waiting for a table. :)

Sky Phoenix on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Belgian Beer Cafe, Belgian, Sydney

Belgian Beer Cafe

135 Harrington Street


9241 1775

On Wednesdays the Belgian Beer Cafe does a 'half price mussels' promotion which is a great feed and great value. Definitely book ahead because one Wednesday I tried 'rocking up', the wait was about 2 hours.

Mussels galore! Its the last week of this rotation so a few of us decided to celebrate with a longer than usual lunch. I booked lunch about three weeks ago (yes im a diary nutto) so for the past three weeks I've been really excited about mussels.

The mussels are usually $28.90 but on Wednesdays they come down to $14.45. Each 'pot' holds one kilogram of mussels and are served with fries and mayo.

Hint: Keep the shell from the first mussel you eat and use this as your pincher for the rest of the dish.


Ta da!

This is the Siam Mussels cooked with tom yum sauce, thai basil and finished with coconut cream.

Next we have the Poulette which is cooked with white wine, bacon, vegetables & a touch of cream

And finally we have the Provencale which is cooked with tomatoes, capsicum, herbs & garlic.

These were my mussels and they were delicious. I don't like onions so I picked off the onions but there was lots of great flavour coming from the capsicum, tomatoes and parsley. Parsley + mussels is soo good.. Each time I would find a parsley bit to eat with the mussels.

Evil chips and really delicious mayonnaise which has ruined my perfect diet for the week. I had subway last night for dinner guys. Subway! Sigh and I've ruined all that good work by eating these chips.. but they were irresistible :(

A very satisfying lunch. I didnt finish my mussels actually.. was too full. Yum! Definitely recommend you guys to try.

Heritage Belgian Beer Cafe on Urbanspoon