Prior to my Sydney trip late last year, I’ve already had a few ideas about the Aussie food scene. Thanks to Masterchef Australia and travel shows I watched thru time, the trip was an awesome experience overall. Aussie food, as what you will hear from foodies, is diverse and a celebration of fresh produce. Blessed with various land masses and bodies of water, Australians know how to make use of the products they get out of nature. From farms to plates, kid you not, they really do an awesome job. Not failing to mention the result of various nationalities of migrants led this country to have diverse kinds of dishes. Their culture of loving the outdoors and their work-life balance gave them the opportunities to explore their kitchens and cook.
Just like any traveler who wants to achieve their bucket list or travel goals, he will do his very best to be within the budget. Back then, I had to ensure I can survive that trip and still have an awesome experience. Though I agree in some parts of the feedback on the cost to travel within Australia (coming from an ASEAN region that can munch on food with less than US$5…yeap!), it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat something good on a tight budget. Let’s do a little throwback as I share some of the food and cafe crawls I made in Sydney.
Pancakes on the Rocks
Greeted with rains and clouds, my first Aussie meal wasn’t as gloomy as the weather. From the name itself, their signature dish is pancakes. Aside from pancakes, they offer hearty, casual American dishes like steaks, ribs, salads and pizza. Opened in 1975 in the Rocks in Sydney, the owners brought the American vibe in food in Australia. To date, there are various branches of this dining place in Sydney. The one we got to visit was the branch in Darling Harbour.
Their plates, given to be for family dining, are huge in servings so it’s ideal for sharing. It was a good thing that my friend and I ordered one main course and one of their famous pancakes for dessert. As for the main courses, they may seem to be just like Chili’s or TGIF. As for the pancakes, I don’t care if you call me OA but by far they are one of my two most raved pancakes (the other one is in SG — it’s on my previous post).
Tan Viet Noodle House
Among all of the Asian restos here in Manila, the least ones I visit (no offense, being plain honest) are Indian and Vietnamese. Not that I totally dislike them, but there are just some of their dishes that don’t go well with my tastebuds and low tolerant stomach. Thanks to a well known Viet-Aussie chef Luke Nguyen and his travel-food show, I somehow had a clearer picture of Vietnamese food and I know I can give them a try.
One fine afternoon back in Sydney, I learned that there is this so-called Vietnamese town where the streets are filled of Vietnamese restos and cafes. I gave it a go from where I was that day and went on a less than an hour train ride to Cabramatta. What I tried for lunch was a top reviewed dish by no less than Luke Nguyen himself and man, I didn’t end up disappointed.
The place was called Tan Viet Noodle House and I tried the crispy chicken with noodles. Ok, so you would possibly say it’s a simple dish. Well, that’s the suspense of this dish – simple but full of flavors when you eat it! Very timely with their weather during my visit, a bowl of hot noodles plus the chicken and complimentary tea make it the perfect comfort food, Vietnamese style.
Backyard Burger Kitchen
From the name itself, their specialties are burgers, nonetheless. Though I ain’t a huge fan of this kind of food, trying it once in a while won’t hurt. Tucked within the compound of Moore Park, it offers a good space to munch and chat with friends over burger and booze. A bit pricey in my opinion and reviews are just so-so, but the servings are hearty enough to keep you lasting for the night. If burgers aren’t your thing, don’t fret. There are still other stuff you can order like chicken and good-for-sharing appetizers.
An Aussie trip won’t be complete if you’re not gonna get some sun-kissed skin and bask on their beaches (regardless which side of the continent you visited). Not only did I get toasted from the beach visits, I also got served with good food. If beach food is always identified as hearty, meaty and grilled, Aussies make it healthy and still tasty.
In my stops to both Bondi Beach and Manly Beach, eating places are all over. All you gotta do is explore and decide where to eat. We were able to try some good food places. One of those that struck me is a salad bar that has folks lining up in Manly Beach, called Fishbowl. What I loved about this place is you can do DIY for your salad in two ways — the whole salad combo itself (from base to proteins and add-ons) or the base and bowl (which is the stores own mix of proteins and add-ons). Usually, some salad stores would make you go DIY all out, if you opt to do that. The lazy and hungry belle I was that day, I opted to the latter — choosing glass noodles and their tofu boys bowl.
They got various branches in Sydney, which I just recently discovered, so you can go to their other shops aside from the one in Manly.
A visit in Australia wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t stop by in at least one coffee shop / cafe. Here are a few I visited (of the many cafes they have).
For the chocoholics — Lindt Cafe and Guylian Cafe
Choco lovers you can buy or eat variants of their chocolates while having a cup of coffee. These cafes also offer meals so no need to transfer to another.
Surry Hills can be compared to the eating and cafe vibes we have in Kapitolyo, Pasig City or Maginhawa, Quezon City. My minutes walk in Surry Hills led me to have a light lunch in this simple cafe called Lion Cafe. To be honest, I wasn’t able to ask why they named it that way, but don’t expect that it is a themed cafe. It’s one of your typical coffee shop atmosphere. Just loved they are surrounded by a few trees plus it’s cozy so you can spend your QT here, over iced coffee and wraps.
In the ground floor of an office building, you can have your dose of coffee and good food in this place called Zealous. It’s a small spot, but unlike in some coffee stalls (I suppose), they got a few tables and chairs for dine in customers. This is just a 4 mins walk from North Sydney station.
This was where I got to try breakfast with avocado, not as a sweet treat, but part of an omelet. Yeap, that ain’t an error. Aussies have avo (avocado) as part of savory dishes or appetizers. Well, Pinoys will have it with milk and sugar. Not bad, I must say.
Newtown, from my previous post, is known for quaint stores and coffee shops in Sydney. I paid a visit to one that’s closest to the station. A no brainer name for a store, Cafe Newtown is a spinoff of the Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters franchise. The meals they offer might be slightly different from those we have here in Manila, but the coffee and pastries on their menu aren’t.
For a change, I tried a vegetarian pasta there and I absolutely loved it! I think it’s about time I should try whipping up something like that soon. ☺️😊
Saving the best for last to one of the Instagram worthy eating places in Sydney, Potting Shed at the Grounds of Alexandria is a definite must try when you pay a visit. If you will be commuting to head there, search it via Google Maps. Personally, we had to do so cause it’s a 10-15 minute walk from the train station. Alternatively, you may also take the bus.
The dishes are just as beautiful as the place. No wonder it is always packed. We went there on a Monday, but we had to wait for an hour (almost giving up in between) just to get seats and eat. Prepare an amount of patience and a half-full stomach when heading there, in case you’d end up waiting.
Good thing the place has surroundings that you can spend time with for your profile pic updating, so the waiting won’t be entirely annoying. They serve comfort foods which can be healthy or hearty, for singles or for bundles. Their menu seems to update from time to time, so make sure you order what your gut tells you. That time, I ordered for pumpkin gnocchi and some fizzled drink (this one I totally forgot…the boohooo with throwback posts).
In summary, Australia didn’t make it difficult for me to adjust my palette. Their dishes are somehow close to our kind of food, just way healthier and better produces used. If you plan to visit, especially in Sydney, try one or two of these. Who knows, you might feel the same way as I had. No wonder they’ve got ‘masterchefs’ and foodies that inspire others across the globe. Do I look like I’m bragging? Nope, I’m not and I’m not even kidding.
Pancakes on The Rocks – across Sydney. List of shops right here: https://pancakesontherocks.com.au/locations/
Tan Viet Noodle House – 100 John St, Cabramatta NSW 2166; landmark: near Cabramatta station
Fishbowl – across Sydney. List of shops right here: https://www.fishbowlbondi.com.au/locations
Lindt Cafe – across Sydney. List of shops right here: https://www.lindt.com.au/cafes-shops/
Lion Cafe – 69 Cooper St, Surry Hills NSW 2010; landmark: mins walk from Central station website: https://lion-corner-cafe.business.site/
Zealous – 132 Arthur Street North Sydney (enter via Little Walker Street); landmark: 4 mins walk from North Sydney station; website: https://www.zealous.com.au/contact
The Potting Shed (Grounds at Alexandria) – Building 7A, 2 Huntley St,
Alexandria, NSW, 2015; website: https://thegrounds.com.au/Spaces/potting-shed/