Monday, 24 November 2014

Sprout Café, Mt Albert, Auckland

In the 3 months since I've been away, new cafes are (pardon the pun) sprouting up everywhere in Auckland. This is especially exciting news for Mt Albert, which has traditionally been somewhat bereft of cafes and good coffee. Sprout Café is housed in an long abandoned service station site in a sleepy corner of New North Road. The new tenants have made the most of the quirky site; they have even put in bi-fold windows which open out to an servery. Theoretically you could ride through for your coffee fix.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Open Table, Ellerslie, Auckland

Open Table is a community café occupying the site of where Paris Berlin Organic Bakery (now known as Bread & Butter Bakery) previously sat. Open Table is probably Auckland’s only crowdfunded café, evolved as an idea of a community hub by Hannah Feenstra and developed as a Kickstarter project. With her Masters in Entrepreneurship nearly in hand, Hannah first began her journey to opening her café. After 18 months of patient negotiations, the site was leased and the space could be cleared. The Kickstarter support allowed the renovations to take place, and Open Table to take shape.

Open Table has leapt into the Metro’s Top 50 cafés in Auckland mere weeks after opening, - it opened in Sept, and the Top 50 is published in the November issue. This little-cafe-that-could has serious credentials.

Gen and I chanced upon Open Table on our way back from picking up my wedding dress (that’s a story for a later post). My first visit had us seated at the footpath seating where I could see the car (and its very precious cargo in the boot). Right away, Open Table has a wonderfully charming welcoming vibe. With the large roller door up, it feels like one large space. Look out for the Kokako sign in front.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Hemingway’s Manly, Manly Beach, Sydney

Manly is a suburban beach in Sydney which seems to attract every possible demographic, - tourists, sunbathers, families and people like us who want to get away from city centre and meander along its coastal sidewalks.

View from our seats by the window

We had read about Hemingway’s Manly, a little spot on North Steyne, overlooking Manly beach. It’s a restaurant, café, bar. Yup, whatever you want something to drink or eat, you’ll likely find it here. Hemingway himself would approve of the hours, - opening from morning until late most nights.

The décor is library chic by the bar, and a relaxed beach vibe in front. There was a passage stencilled on the wall from a Hemingway novel describing a scene at a bar, where the protagonist played dice and drank whiskey. I later found out it was from The Sun Also Rises, his first novel published in 1926 which established him as a literary star.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

@Milk and Honey Café, Kiama, New South Wales

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I moved to Sydney. It’s still too noisy, too crowded and too brash. It’s disconcerting that Auckland seemed so metropolitan after Christchurch (and Palmerston North), and now Sydney is another rung on the city scale.

I needed to get away from the city-ness, and so for my birthday, BL took me on a day trip to Kiama. Kiama is a seaside town, 1½ hour south of Sydney and is famous for two blowholes. The blowholes are a geological phenomenon caused by the erosion of basalt rock within volcanic latite rock. The erosion produces a chamber and a collapsed headland forming the blowhole. Waves build up the pressure in the chamber until the seawater erupts through the blowhole. We saw some ‘geysers’, but the photos in the Visitors Centre showed just how tremendous these geysers can be with the right waves.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Noodle Night Market 2014, Hyde Park, Sydney

October is Good Food Month in Sydney, a designated month for gastronomy and gluttony.  There are events galore, special menus, and Sydney seems overrun with celebrity chefs. The headliner is Yotam Ottolenghi, and seriously, who doesn’t love Ottolenghi? I am a huge fan of his wonderfully spiced recipes, but I balk at the over $200 price tag to experience the maestro in chef mode (if the tickets weren’t sold out).

If you’re like me, the most accessible event during Good Food Month is the Noodle Night Market which runs nightly from 10 – 26 October in Hyde Park. There are 43 different vendors, a lot of dumplings and baos, deep-fried morsels and yes, there were even some noodles in the mix. But dumplings and baos rule the roost.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Mamak, Haymarket, Sydney

The first place I made a beeline for when I arrived in Sydney was Mamak. Many years ago (8 years?), Mamak was a fresh face on the food scene and stole the show with their expert displays of roti dough twirling. It is really the best part of ordering roti canai; watching the roti canai maestro twirl the flattened dough in the air several times until it is stretched paperthin, then cooking the folded dough on a hot grill until it is flaky and crisp on the outside. It looks easy enough, but there are very few Malaysian eateries which have mastered this staple of the Malaysian cuisine.

Mamak is a Malay word which refers to the Indian Muslim community, and also denotes the delicious food that this community is famous for. The range of Mamak food is difficult to find in Kuching, where I grew up, due to the very small Indian population, but we always have roti canai.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Moved to Sydney!

Sydney Opera House lit up during Vivid
For those who have been wondering why so few posts in the last couple of months, and why the posts on Sydney eats, it is all because I made the big move to Sydney a month ago. The fiancé, BL, took up an opportunity to transfer within his company in March. After many negotiations, I resigned from my job, sold the house and Sam the beagle is happily ensconced with a new family (who is loving him to bits).

Sam meeting Daniel, his new buddy 

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