|Bronte Beach Sydney|
Eating at Porteno is an experience from the rockabilly clad waiting staff to the BBQ skills of chefs Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz. Based on an Argentinian parilla it’s all about the asador at Porteno but it says something about the quality of the restaurant as a whole that for me the most memorable dishes were not the slow cooked meat. Sure that tender lamb ($44) fell apart to the touch and had a delicious smoky flavour but the dish I’m still reminiscing about is the brussel sprouts ($14). These are brussel sprouts like you’ve never had them before, deep fried until they are crisp and crunchy and then served with black lentils and a splash of mustard. Sensational stuff. I also loved the delicate starter of grilled tuna which is served with okra and charred jalapeño ($26). In a restaurant that is a carnivore’s dream there’s a lot to be said for exploring the rest of the menu.
|Pig Porteno style|
Details: Porteno, 358 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills NSW (02)8399 1440. No bookings except for groups of six or more (so its worth rounding up some friends to avoid the wait).
Damage: Pricey. Our bill for six came to $588.
|Diners at Brown Sugar eat underneath the menu|
Off the main drag in Bondi, Brown Sugar manages to escape the tourist hordes. The cafe keeps things fairly simple with the main decoration a wall painted entirely black with the menu painted on. Brunch here is sensational with a menu that runs all day. One of the best dishes is the Black Stone eggs ($15) which includes poached eggs served on english muffins with bacon and slow roasted tomatoes. The home made hash browns on the side are as good as you’ll get anywhere. The Moroccan eggs ($17) is also worth ordering with sweet slow cooked spiced capsicum and tomatoes surrounding a poached egg. The sides here are baby spinach and toasted turkish bread spiced with za’atar. The only fault here is the service, while our waitress was really friendly she managed to completely forget about our order making it a long wait to get brunch.
Details: Brown Sugar, 106 Curlewis Street Bondi NSW (Ph 02 9130 1566)
Riding the dude food wave in Sydney, Ms G’s is lots of fun. The name’s a play on MSG (geddit?) and the food here is just as addictive. On a Saturday night we had to wait about an hour in the upstairs bar before securing a spot downstairs for the banquet. Of the dishes we loved the grilled corn (which was very similar to Mamasita‘s in Melbourne), the delicate and light Kingfish sashimi, the slab of crispy skinned pork hock that was served at the table with a knife skewering it through and of course the Stoner’s Delight. Chef Dan Hong claims to have concocted this dessert out of everything you could want to eat if you were stoned. There are doughnuts, chips, bacon and Mars Bar but in this dish it’s doughnut ice cream, a banana fritter with a crisp covering, accompanied by Mars Bar slice and topped off with a slither of candied bacon. You don’t need to be stoned to imagine how good this is. Sign me up now as a proud and paid up member of the Ms G’s fan club.
|Stoner’s Delight at Ms G’s|
Details: Ms G’s, 155 Victoria Street Potts Point NSW (Ph 02 8313 1000)
Damage: Pricey. The banquet is $60 a head.
“Double Bay, double pay” says my friend Reussy (and he lives around the corner so he knows). That was indeed the case at Bar Indigo, one of Double Bay’s most popular cafes. I liked the mainly outdoor setting for the cafe and the huge portion sizes but for a fairly expensive breakfast the dishes didn’t wow me. The fritters here ($19) are deep fried which seems a bit heavy for breakfast and the poached eggs which were teamed with flakes of salmon ($19.90) could have done with some added zing from dressing on the accompanying salad.
|Fritters at Bar Indigo|
Details: Bar Indigo, 15 Cross Street, Double Bay (Ph 02 9363 5966)
|The Zumbo macarons – I loved how the vanilla is jet black|
A visit to Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie is worth it just to check out the brightly coloured shop front with the macarons displayed behind emergency glass containers. We decided against eating in from the “dessert train” and instead got a box of macarons ($15) and an amazing lemon meringue eclair ($7.50) to take away. The eclair was a cross between a lemon meringue pie and a chocolate eclair – genius. The macarons were very good, reminding me of my favourite Pierre Hermé in Paris thanks to the creative/kooky flavours Zumbo employs.
|Lemon meringue eclair to take away|
Details: Zumbo, Shop 1, Cafe Court The Star/80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont (Ph 02 9777 9000)