It was Friday night and I was looking for a little bit of glam. The lads were heading out to check out a new micro-brewery so I called up a local friend to have a night out close to home.
This winter in Sydney has felt brutal. My winter coat from London has even made an appearance a few days so it almost seems fitting that a new pub has opened up that is a little bit of London, down a Sydney back alley.
It was awesome to be back in San Francisco last week particularly with the glorious summer sunshine. This time I was spending a lot of time down by the water and thought I’d check out some of the restaurants down that end of time.
Looking for somewhere we could see Vivid without cold and crowds, I stumbled upon Bar Patron. On the old site of Cafe Nice and the pop-up Ananas, Bar Patron is the latest restaurant from the Rockpool Group in collaboration with Cafe Patron. The Mexican themed menu and variations of magheritas looked pretty good so off we headed.
I’ve changed jobs recently, which has meant I’ve had to come up with a whole new set of awesome places for lunch. The Grounds of the City is the CBD outpost of the Grounds of Alexandria and a nifty five minutes walk from my new office – perfect for a girly catch up over Friday lunch.
Nothing like a trip to Melbourne for the Australian Open! My Melbourne local gal pal, not only showed me the courts, she also offered up her spare room (again!) so it was the least I could do to buy her dinner.
A short walk from her flat, Hawker Hall is large restaurant inspired by Singaporean/Malaysia hawker markets. We grab a table outside so we can people watch and start to peruse the massive menu.
The menu is huge! With everything that you’d find at a hawker market from dumplings to roti to curries to stir fry… to be honest, it’s a little intimidating.
Now if you’re like me, there is a banquet (which I was perfectly in favour of) but being with a local, I let her to do the picking. Chilled wines arrived and a few dishes ordered, we sat back and enjoyed the Chapel Street parade before our food arrived.
We didn’t have to wait long. First up and one of my favourite dishes of all time – Roti Canai.
The roti was damn near perfect. It was rich and buttery. Flakey but still just that little bit soft in the middle. I was in heaven mouthful by mouthful. The accompaniments were a little different as well. The curry sauce was what you’d expect – extremely flavourful and a tiny hint of spice rather than heat – but instead of a standard sambal, it was an eggplant sambal. The only way I can describe it was like a spicy caponata (if anyone’s Italian). I loved the combination of the two (curry sauce and eggplant sambal) and the roti didn’t last very long…
Next up, ‘CKT’
‘CKT’ or Char Kway Teow is one of my other favourite dishes. It’s rice noodles mixed with prawns, Chinese sausage and smokey soy sauce. This one was particularly good. My favourite thing is the smokey soy sauce that coats the noodles. I don’t know if Hawker Hall makes its own or imports it but it definitely made the dish.
Now at the tennis the day before, the diet had mainly consisted of hot chips and rose so we thought we had to be virtuous with some vege.
We chose a cucumber, shallot and mint salad (it was about 35 degrees after all) but the star of this dish had to be the cumin and coconut yoghurt dressing. I could have eaten buckets of that creamy dressing. Usually, I complain that I can’t taste the coconut in coconut yoghurt but this had that delicate taste like coconut milk. The cumin added that hint of spice again that made the salad that little bit more special.
As the sun began to finally set and the wines ran down, we lamented that we could only eat three dishes (I blame the high volume of hot chips the day before) and I reluctantly headed to the airport.
If you are in Melbourne and craving Singapore, I would definitely recommending heading to Hawker Hall for a little taste of all your classic hawker favs.
98 Chapel Street
Another day, another meal in paradise. Barcelona was the chilled out portion of our trip with nothing to do but lay by the ocean and eat amazing food.
Getting towards the end of our holiday, we moved to Barcelona where we can fly direct to Sydney. The man, being a lover of natural wines, had tracked down some amazing natural wine bars for us to try.
I have a friend who visits San Sebastián every year. When she heard we were going she told us about a restaurant that she makes a point to eat at every time that she visits so, of course, we had to visit it too.
Now I’m starting to get more mobile again, I thought it was high time that I checked out Barangaroo and some of the awesome restaurants that are popping up down there.