Treats for your mouth and ears!
If you’re anything like me, you will love a good chicken schnitzel sandwich, and if you love a good chicken schnitzel sandwich, you have probably tried South Dowling Sandwiches’ version of the old classic (if not, shame on you, get of your arse and go do it to yourself, now). Without detracting from SDS’s version, which does and always will hold a special place in my heart, Kings Lane is serving up some stiff competition.
My mission for schnitzel meant the menu fell foul of my attention. I did however have a few minutes before old mate got started on my lunch to watch him pull together some almighty salad that seriously challenged my desire for deep fried chicken schnitzel - about a minute in fact, which is in my view a bloody long time to toss around the idea of not having a) schnitzel and b) bread. This salad however was huge and from what I could see it had grilled baby octopus, grilled chicken, and steak (!!!) in it. I asked him what it was and while I may have misheard, I am pretty sure he said it was an “all meat salad”. It looked fucking amazing.
At the end of the day I stuck to my guns primarily because very little will come between me and chicken schnitzel once the idea has set in, but also because I wanted to ensure an accurate comparison with SDS. I, as one always should, added Swiss cheese and potato to my three solid pieces of schnitzel and lettuce encased between two pieces of bread, each easily exceeding an inch in thickness. The menu version comes with herb mayo but old mate behind the bar suggested I try herb mayo on one side and some kind of spicy mayo on the other side. It was truly sage advice and a suggestion I am only too happy to pass on. The end result was a schnitzel sandwich easily on par, if not, dare I say it, better than SDS’s version; I guess that’s why its called Kings Lane.
90 minutes after hoovering the beast down I am still full and now partially understand why (if the writing on the wall is true) a bloke recently sold his grandmother for one of these bad boys. Indeed, with a schnitzel sandwich fit for a King and an “all meat salad” do yourself a favour and, Eat Here.
1/28 Kings Lane, Darlinghurst
For lunch orders call 02 9360 8007 before 12pm
RESTAURANTS IN REVIEW: SAILORS THAI @ THE IVY
WHERE: Level 2, ivy | 330 George Street, Sydney
+61 2 9240 3000 | website
Dinner: Tues–Sat from 6pm (lunch Tues-Fri from 12pm)
WHAT: Another in the Merivale family of restaurants (read our review of Merivale owned Ms G’s here), this fancy mod-Asian/Thai eatery (yes, another Thai restaurant in Sydney) at The ivy is a pretty space, with pretty staff and spicy food..
WHAT WE ATE:
DESSERT ($12 each):
Keeping it brief on this one.. If you have to pour your own wine, flag a waiter down and ask to order (after waiting more than 20 mins with no assistance), then have to ask 4 times to have your water glass filled at a restaurant where the food is HOT then you certainly shouldn’t be paying these prices.
Lucky the wine, a 2010 Henschke ‘Innes Vineyard’ from Adelaide Hills (at a very affordable $65) and the company (our dear friends Rich and Jess) was impeccable otherwise this whole experience would be have been TOTALLY substandard. It’s a shame really, because the restaurant is gorgeous and there were some food highlights (namely the duck curry and beef salad) but sadly, we’re not going to mention them because service is such a key part of a great meal.
So enjoy the above photos, and a friendly word to the Sailors Thai and Merivale teams who run this place, sort your inattentive, apathetic staff out quick smart!!!!!!
WHERE: 155 Victoria Street, Potts Point | 02 8313 1000 | website
WHAT: Asian influenced dude food and kooky cocktails.. As delish as it is trendy
ABOVE (L to R): Green Iced Tea - Zubrowka vodka, Cloud & Mist tea, grapefruit bitters, green apple, soda ($13) and Purple Rain - Beefeater Gin, Purple Basil, Pomegranate and Passionfruit ($13)
ABOVE: Mini crisp pork belly bánh mì ($6 each)
PRICE: We absolutely pigged out (starters, mains, desserts), as well as having a cocktail each and sharing a nice bottle of wine.. So if you’re keen to roll like us then you’re looking at $120 - $150 per person.
ABOVE: Raw sea scallop, kohlrabi, guacamole, finger lime salad ($16) / BELOW: Jow’s Sweet & Sour lamb ribs ($23)
THE VERDICT: We’ve been to this place a few times now.. The second visit heaps better than the first, mostly due to much better service (which can totally make or break a meal in my opinion). Let’s not get it twisted, the food here is frickin’ great.. Dan Hong is one talented dude and every dish is not only delicious but demonstrates that under valued by essential pairing of great produce and great technique. The result is a cracking menu - but more on that shortly.
I’m never going to be a fan of rocking up and putting my name on the wait list for a table.. But le sigh it’s the only option. So, with our SoCal buddies 12th Planet and his Manager Danny in tow we pop our name/number down and head upstairs to the bar to settle in and wait the best part of 2 hours. 2 hours, even writing that makes me feel frustrated and impatient. So if you’re like me, then this place may drive you insane. Otherwise I advise you get there the SECOND they open (which is 6pm each night - they have two sittings each night).
Back to the story, so we’re up in the bar.. Oh, so no seats here either? Great. We grab some of their delish alcohol bubble drinks and lurk awkwardly over people perched along the banquet until a few vapid looking girls get up and leave (SCORE). Once we’re sitting, the bustling bar and too-easy-to-drink cocktails go down a treat.. Especially their famous Yuzu Slushie (a tangy concotion of limoncello, vodka, yuzu juice and bitters - yum!). By the time we get called for our table, I’m pretty drunk and we’ve probably dropped close to $150 on drinks (not ideal)..
ABOVE: “Spaghetti Vongole” surf clams, handmade summer noodles, chilli, chorizo ($23) / BELOW: Fried baby chicken with kimchi mayonnaise (half $15, whole $25)
THE VERDICT (continued): But then the food, ohhh the food. The first thing I want to point out is that you can be as healthy or unhealthy as you like here. From sashimi salads and wok-tossed tofu, heirloom tomatoes and mushrooms to THE BEST fried chicken and ribs - you can experience it all at Ms G’s.
Let me talk highlights.. No visit is complete without sampling their mini bánh mì (Vietnamese rolls) with either crisp pork belly or fried chicken. These little burgers are worth every bit of their $6 for sheer authenticity of flavour and deliciousness. Great start to any meal in our opinion.. Then the sweet and sour lamb ribs, so luscious and tender the bones practically remove themselves from their fleshy casing the second you pick them up. Smothered in sauce, spritzed with lime juice and sprinkled with fresh mint, coriander and Thai basil they are truly a taste sensation. You could easily polish off the entire bowl.
Actually nothing we ate wasn’t delicious.. The handmade noodles taste like you got them off the streets of Shanghai and the chilli, clams and chorizo are a fun Asian take on the popular Italian Spaghetti Vongole. Light, spicy and absolutely moorish.
The only thing that was amiss food wise, was the Stoners Delight.. Below is their original concept which has now morphed into Stoners Delight 2.0 with the addition of candied bacon, donut ice cream, jam and potato crisps.. It is better but overall the mars bar slice is so rock solid you have to use your fingers and in a dish with jam and ice cream that doesn’t reall work for me. Also, I’m just not vibing on the sweet and salty combo. Sorry guys! However, the absolute shining star of the dessert menu is most definitely the Pandan chiffon cake with strawberries, sago and coconut sorbet. Although it looks like a technicolour spew in the bowl, all the elements worked so beautifully together. The cake, as light as air, the sorbet and sago creamy, the little tart pieces of strawberry were a surprise and these amazing, crunchy bits sprinkled on top provided the perfect textural element (FYI - I have no idea what these were) - all in all a pretty perfect dessert.
ABOVE: “Stoner’s Delight” banana ice cream, chocolate, rice bubbles, pretzel, peanut brittle, marshmallow ($12) / BELOW: Pandan chiffon cake, strawberries, coconut sorbet ($12)
Is this the perfect meal? No. Would we go again? Absolutely. Just gimme gimme gimme some more fried chicken and ribs!
Where: GREENHOUSE - 100 St. Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
(08) 9481 8333 / email@example.com
What: The Greenhouse is an inspirational idea.. A city restaurant created by Dutch-born wunderkind Joost Bakker to function as a completely organic and carbon neutral space. From its straw-bale insulation, roof-top garden, worm farm and water recycling systems this place is a hive of activity. At the helm is 23 year old Head Chef Matt Stone, behind the piercings and tattoos you find a dynamic, forward thinking guy who most recently won Young Chef Of The Year at the inaugural West Australian Good Food Guide awards. The kitchen makes everything they possibly can from scratch, including all breads, pasta, cakes and pastries; they mill their own flour and oats; fillet their own fish, bone and cure all their own meat.
Price: This place is built to share a whole bunch of dishes, so you’re looking at $70-$80 per person including a few delicious (but expensive) cocktails each
We ate (5 of us):
I was excited about going to Greenhouse for dinner as I’d been there a few years earlier for lunch.. The ethos behind the place and the cool vibe are definitely appealing, so we rolled up at 8pm on a very busy Friday night. The thing that strikes you about the place is the beautiful design of the dining room, with elaborate wooden/wicker light fixtures and bottles hanging at different heights over the bar. Agreeing to share a whole bunch of dishes (which are all made for this purpose) we tucked into some cocktails. Now I love Sours of any persuasion but my Pisco Sour (at a whopping $20) was so tart I had to wait 15 mins for the ice to melt slightly in order for it to be more palatable - let’s just say one was enough.
The food came out promptly and all at once (aside from the Lamb Shoulder) which was great. The Octopus and Kipfler salad was light and full of herbs, and the Haloumi with Tomato and Sumac was divine with a generous wedge of Haloumi grilled to perfection expertly offset against an array of sweet and tangy Heirloom tomatoes.
We had to wait 30-40 mins for our Lamb Shoulder and it came out with a side of homemade Tzaziki, wholemeal Pita Breads and Onion Salad which was gobbled down quick smart. Whilst yummy, the lamb was slightly under-seasoned to my taste and overcooked in places. It also needed either a better or a few different accompaniments (of the green/salad variety) as a mouth full of lamb and only onions isn’t really that enjoyable in large amounts.
Overall I do like this place, but being sat so close to the kitchen and near the door to the upstairs Garden Bar meant we heard calls for “service” and a cold flush of air every few mins. As well as this, either the staff (aside from the amazing Manager/Maitre D’) have way too much attitude or were unable to cope with a busy service, because we had to ask to order more drinks and resorted to waving down a surly faced runner for our empty water glasses to be refilled on 3 occasions.
The interior and overall decor is excellent - there’s definitely a cool almost warm/homely vibe as you enter, but this quickly disappears once the lacklustre service and noise levels sink in. The food on the whole was pretty impressive, but seeing the EC on Iron Chef earlier this year meant that my expectations were quite lofty!
I’m not sure if it was because of the lengthy wait, or the huge price-tag (close to $80), but the lamb shoulder wasn’t the home-run I was expecting it to be… the lack of fun or inspiring accompaniments was definitely a factor, but on the whole the dish was slightly boring… it tasted good, but for that price, you’re expecting something that slaps you in the face with it’s brilliantness.
On the other hand I found the “shared” earlier dishes to be of the highest quality. The chorizo was amazing, and was well complimented by the peppers, bread and slow-cooked egg it was served with. The ocean trout kibeh was also a standout for me, and a lovely way to commence the eating experience.
On the whole a great place to spend a Friday evening, which, with a few adjustments, could well be one of the finest places to eat in Perth.
Where: PORTENO - 358 Cleveland Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 8399 1440 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bookings - There are two sittings per evening, at 6pm and 9pm respectively, and if you’re in a group between 5 and 12 you can make a booking. Otherwise, it’s first in, best dressed!
What: Argentinian Grill with a slick upstairs bar
Price: In a group, with 2 bottles of wine, you’re looking at $80 pp
We ate (the 5 of us!):
I have to say, I’ve been dreaming about eating at Porteno ever since it open in September last year. A a self-confessed carnivore (although my biggest food-love is potatoes), all reports from friends, colleagues, media etc was that this place was the bees knees for a meat lover, and with great satisfaction I can say that Porteno DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Lucky enough to get one of the few tables available during the 9pm sitting, the first thing you notice about the restaurant is the amazing indoor setting. Very spacious, open and inviting, you immediately feel like you’re in for a special experience. We were swiftly whisked away to our seats (the beginning of what was to be consistently good service throughout the night), eager to get amongst it so to speak.
With entrees at our table before we finished our first drinks, our hunger didn’t last long. For me, the standout had to be the Broccolli and Ricotta Empanadas. A crunchy, crispy outer combined with the silkiest filling in delightful fashion. They were so tasty (and generous in size) that if there were 10 more on the table, they would’ve found their way into our stomachs no questions asked.
Next up was the main course of meat, meat, meat and more, well you know, MEAT. Although it must be said that some of our side dishes, especially the unexpectedly brilliant brussel spouts (unexpected only because I usually detest brussel sprouts), almost stole the show! It was neck-and-neck between the salty, crispy beef short ribs and the slow-cooked lamb, but if pushed for a decision, the lamb wins on split-decision. So soft and tender, one of our guests was convinced it was Pork!!! The meat literally melted in my mouth, and when eaten with the creamy polenta, well, you know the rest - food heaven. Also of note was the Morcilla (Blood Sausage), which whilst texturally was a bit confronting, was nonetheless very interesting. The Chorizo was good, without being amazing, and was, in my opinion over-shadowed by the other meats.
I was gutted to discover we’d just missed out on the very last portion of 8 hour Woodfired Free Range Suckling Pig. But my disappointment was swiftly changed to delight with the impossibly soft, blush pink Woodfired Suffolk Lamb. It has to be reiterated that the Brussels Sprouts are quite simply the best I have ever eaten and in my opinion were the best thing on the table. They were crispy, perfectly seasoned and sticky all at once.. Add the lentils and mint to that and it was literally a taste sensation. Full stop.
The Postre Chaja (Pavlova) was to die for, with layers of sponge, fruit, cream, nuts and meringue pieces it was moorish without being too sweet. The Chocolate filled Doughnut Holes were way too rich (and not really my thing) the accompanying Pinenut Gelato however was exceptional.
The ‘07 Tercos Malbec (Mendoza) we were recommended was a perfect accompaniment - lush, aromatic and easy to drink (plus at $65 it didn’t break the bank!)
With a slogan like “Just good food”.. F&T is already in love with this place and we’re not even State-side yet.
At Bark, their signature is a pork and beef sausage smothered with sweet pepper relish, onions and mustard. Grab a side of salt and pepper fries or onion rings, a plate of house pickles and a milkshake piled high with butterscotch gelato. Doesn’t that sound like heaven? If you’re going to clog your arteries, you may as well do it in style.
Bark Hot Dogs
474 Bergen St (at Flatbush Ave)
Park Slope, Brooklyn
I know our posts may dictate otherwise, but for the past 4 weeks F&T have been on a pretty strict lose-weight-before-USA-and-avoid-carbs-where-possible diet… so when burgers, schnitzels, fries, pizzas and all other treats are forbidden, where does one turn? Simple… ZUSHI.
Let’s get it straight, there’s no shortage of good Japanese food in Sydney… in fact, we’re pretty spoiled in that respect. But Zushi stands out from the pack, and then some. Opening it’s doors in 2005 in that oh-so-cute space next to Messina on Victoria St in Darlinghurst, and now finding a 2nd home on Crown Street, Surry Hills, this fast expanding restaurant couples quick, sharp and attentive service with a simple yet well-executed and reasonably priced menu. Our faves include:
1. Goma-ae spinach salad with sweet sesame dressing ($7)
2. Sashimi deluxe - 24 pcs ($28) - to die for!
3. Soft-shell crab spider roll ($18)
4. Zushi BBQ beef wagyu fillet strips with bbq sauce ($19)
5. Green tea ice-cream with azuki red bean ($7)
239 Victoria St Darlinghurst NSW 2011
(02) 9357 3533
Zushi Surry Hills
Shop 2a, 285A Crown St Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9380 8830
Finding the perfect falafel has been a lifelong obsession here at F&T, and there is so much crap around - it’s depressing! A good one should be a blend of mashed chickpeas, garlic, fresh crushed coriander, cumin, salt, bi-carbonate of soda and water. Once the mixture is made, you spoon it into hot oil and cook them for seven minutes, when their shells are golden brown they should be drained and eaten immediately!
As a rule, and those who have eaten great falafel know, they should be perfectly crunchy on the outside and impossibly creamy in the middle. When done properly, I’m certain it’s one of the most delicious things you can eat.
Whilst many will tell you Jasmins (Lakemba), Emma’s on Liberty (Enmore) or Abdul’s (Surry Hills) are the best places to eat falafel, and I would agree they are great Lebanese Restaurants (particulary Jasmins), I have a hidden gem you’ll love IF you’re prepared to go a bit out of the way!
Naji’s Charcol Chicken and Kebabs opposite Arncliffe Station (15 mins drive from the city) is an unassuming takeaway that sells all your usual barbecue chickens, kebabs, burgers, salads and drinks. But the loyal (and well fed) regulars will tell you they make the best takeaway Lebanese fare around.
F&T love the falafel and salad pack, which gets you 6 falafel (cooked fresh on the spot), salad and tabouli, pickles, tahini dip and lebanese bread for $8.. Yes, we’re serious.
Naji’s Charcoal Chicken and Kebabs
21 Firth St, Arncliffe
(02) 9599 4477
Where: THE EATHOUSE DINER - 306 Chalmers Street, Redfern
8084 9479 (no bookings) / email@example.com
What: One of the oh-so trendy, Americana style eateries popping up in Sydney that are making tex mex and fast food favs cool again (think Fried Chicken, Ice-Cream Sundaes, Corn Bread etc). Good thing about Eathouse? It’s real focus on seasonal and organic produce and it’s killer wine and cocktail list!
Price: $50 per person (including a bottle of wine)
What we ate (2 people):
Verdict: F&T ventured down to check out The Eathouse on a steamy Friday night in February. Securing a table was easier than suspected (given all the fuss we’d heard about ridiculous waits for tables) and after perusing the brief but well informed wine list we ordered a delicious bottle of Albert Mann organic Pinot Blanc (from Alsace, my favourite wine region in the world). As sharing is always caring, we started off tucking into the heirloom tomato salad with deep fried ricotta balls which was beautifully balanced and the crispy polenta with chargrilled asparagus and tallegio cream which was so cheesy and gooey and delicious.
Riding the high of the beautiful starters we decided to share a main of jerk spatchcock with beans’n’rice and mango salad. Whilst the earthiness of the beans’n’rice was perfectly offset by the sweet and zesty mango salad, the spatchcock was a little dry and under-seasoned and left the whole dish slightly lacking.
This is a place known for it’s great cocktails and old-fashioned desserts, so F&T will be back to try both at some point in the future..
The Score: 7/10
Want delicious breakfast or lunch, great coffee, genuinely lovely service and a cute little table outside to watch life go by? Then head to Twig Cafe, attached to the gorgeous Garden Life in Surry Hills.
After a massive workout, F&T felt heavenly devouring poached eggs (organic free range of course) on a door step of sourdough toast, sweet roasted tomatoes, sauteed spinach and avocado on the side. Topped off with a fruit salad full of blueberries, melon, peach, papaya and smothered in Country Life yogurt we were practically floating home.
Twig Café @ Garden Life
357 Cleveland St
Surry Hills, NSW
02 8021 6406
F&T are such huge fans of this Surry Hills treasure.. Single Origin coffee, a great selection of fresh juices and herbal concoctions, delicious pastries and arguably the best pulled pork sandwich we’ve eaten in Sydney (slices of dark sourdough piled with pork, fresh cucumber and apple spiced up with tomato chutney then slathered with aioli - did your heart just skip a beat too?)
The only problem? Trying to get a table on the weekend..
485 Crown St
02 9698 6485
In F&T search for the best and most authentic NYC eateries for our upcoming Coachella/Mexico/NYC adventure, we’ve been recommended Sylvia’s in Harlem. This place, named after it’s founder and owner Sylvia White, has been turning out the best Soulfood since 1962!
Fried catfish with eggs and slab bacon, with some grits and biscuits on the side all washed down with a Bloody Mary sounds like a perfect start to any morning!
328 Lenox Ave New York, NY 10027
Tel: (212) 996-0660
Head on down to The Norfolk sometime for a sunny spot in their gorgeous courtyard and the most tasty pub/bar food around. Grab a jug of their delicious cocktails (think Long Island Iced Teas with Dr Pepper) and perhaps 4 tacos for $20, or maybe deep fried pickles with ranch dipping sauce, BBQ’D sweet corn with chipotle mayo, queso and lime, or the delectable pork belly and slaw rolls with a side of crinkle cut chips. Need F&T say more?
The Norfolk Hotel
305 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
02 9699 3177
Although Sydney still loves Thai (and sometimes bad Thai at that), F&T is happy to note that Vietnamese has become a firm fixture on Sydney’s culinary landscape. Reasonably priced and yummy is the F&T brief at the moment, and Strathfield’s Saigon Bowl excels at both!
All the Viet favourites can be found here, from Pho to roll your own rice paper rolls, hot pot to grilled pork with vermicilli. F&T favourite is the deep fried pork chop with noodle soup, delish!
What this place might lack in decor and slick service it makes up for in deliciousness, price and portion size.
Saigon Bowl Vietnamese Restaurant
3 The Boulevard
Strathfield NSW 2135
Tel: (02) 9746 0455