Last weekend, my little brother who lives in Australia got married. It was a wonderful occasion – beautiful weather, yummy food, a lovely setting (they were married on a small cruise ship which sailed around the Sydney harbour) and great company.
So off we flew to Sydney for our little one’s first overseas trip. We had a great time, catching up with friends and family, sightseeing, shopping and of course, lots of eating. As with my Queenstown post, this post is my food diary of what we ate during our short holiday.
My brother picked us up from the airport when we arrived and as we were starving (ok, perhaps I was a little hangry) he took us to get lunch. This was at a place called Mr. Crackles on Oxford Street. If you love pork and especially crackling, you must check this place out.
We had the Crackles Classic and the Manwich, as well as an extra cup of crackling (don’t judge me). They were delicious, with generous amounts of tender meat and crispy, salty skin in each roll.
After all that rich meat, we decided to get some gelato from Messina.
This place has some really different flavours. I tried the salted coconut and mango gelato and it was amazing. I wish I could get something like that here in Auckland!
That night we went down to Darling Harbour for dinner and checked out The Meat & Wine Co. This had a really nice setting, overlooking the harbour and we also really enjoyed the food.
I had the half rack pork ribs with crunchy chips. These ribs were good – tender and smokey – and the chips were as crunchy as promised. Hubby had the short rib steak which was delicious. It was so tender and full of flavour. The little one got a small wagyu cheeseburger with some mash. It was also really tasty – hubby and I happily helped her to eat it!
The next day we went to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and then afterwards we headed to Mamak for a bit of Malaysian cuisine. This place was busy and the menu is quite small and specialised, mostly focusing on curries and roti. It really was not kid friendly at all, with no high chairs and only stools to sit on.
It ended up being a very messy and hectic lunch, but we did enjoy the food. The roti was exactly as it should be, and the curries were rich in flavour. We really enjoyed the chicken satays – so many satays are done badly, but the ones here were perfectly grilled, flavoursome and juicy.
After lunch, we decided to try out Beans N2 Cream, a place that makes ice cream out of liquid nitrogen.
It was definitely a fun experience, with a bit of drama along with your dessert. I had the salted caramel which was nice (and decorated with pretzels and chocolate sauce) and hubby had the mango. Both were good, but we were full from Mamak and couldn’t finish them.
That night, our rather large extended family converged on Din Tai Fung at World Square. If you love dumplings and you’re ever in the same city as a Din Tai Fung (there are many in the world) then you must definitely experience the food there. We had been to the one in Hong Kong in the past and so were keen to try another one out.
This one definitely did not disappoint. Their xiao long baos (soup dumplings) are amazing – they are so beautifully made and full of delicious stock. One of my favourites was a limited edition – the pork and truffle dumpling. They also had a special dessert bao filled with chocolate and taro which was shaped like a sheep. The kids really loved these and thought they were great fun to eat.
The next morning we went into Chinatown for breakfast at a place called Super Bowl Chinese Restaurant. We vaguely remembered coming here on our last trip to Sydney. It was busy and lots of people were going in for a quick bite to eat and then heading off on whatever adventures their days held for them.
We ordered one of their combos which consisted of pork and century egg jook (congee), fried bread stick and steamed rice rolls – all for a very reasonable $7 AUD. It was a filling and tasty breakfast, and exactly the type of comfort food I grew up eating. Next time we come to Sydney, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up coming here for breakfast again.
We were keen to try some Vietnamese for lunch that day, but found ourselves running out of time. We quickly ducked into a nearby food court to try out Madame Nhu.
It was surprisingly good for a food court meal – a lot better than what you would expect in most Auckland shopping malls. I had the signature đặc biệt – beef pho with beef brisket, sliced rump steak and beef balls. I enjoyed it – I love that places in Australia give you herbs to put in your bowl as you hardly get that in Auckland, although I was expecting some of the beef to be rare. Hubby had the steamed chicken, rice and soup which was not unlike Hainanese chicken rice. It was very fragrant with plenty of garlic and ginger.
That night was my brother’s wedding. It was onboard the Starship Sydney.
I didn’t take photos of everything we ate. One of the plates I enjoyed the most was the truffle and mushroom risotto – it was perfectly cooked (difficult for so many people!) and had a beautiful flavour and texture. I also enjoyed the filet mignon. As well as that, they had a beautiful dessert bar and had hired a gelato cart.
The next day we caught up with some good friends and after a morning of playing at the lovely playground and water park at Darling Harbour, they took us up to Black Star Pastry at the Powerhouse Museum. It was very busy, but as it was about 38 degrees Celsius outside, I think people were lingering in the air conditioning for as long as possible.
Hubby ordered the beef brisket burger and I had the bacon and egg roll. Both were quite nice, although not outstanding. The show stopper for me was their strawberry watermelon cake with rose scented cream. This was fragrant, but also felt quite light and refreshing. I really enjoyed it and am keen to have a go at making something similar (although I’m running out of time – it’s coming to the end of the season for strawberries!).
That night was our final night in Sydney and we went out with the family to Chinatown. We weren’t exactly sure where to go and so just wandered into Nine Dragons Restaurant on Dixon Street.
The serving sizes were smaller than most places in Auckland I think. As with some Chinese restaurants, some of the dishes were really good, and some were not as good. We didn’t enjoy the fish dish at all – it was a fish we had never had before, perch, and it tasted muddy and was full of little bones (unfortunately this was the most expensive dish too). But we did enjoy the salt and pepper prawns and a delicious stuffed scallop dish which was served with snow peas and an egg gravy. The decor was a bit fancier than the Chinese restaurants I tend to frequent, and the service was friendly and efficient.
So that was our trip to Sydney! Just on a note to finish, we got to fly back in Business Class (my first time!) and that was a fun experience in itself. Firstly, the Koru Lounge (we were flying Air New Zealand) in Sydney had a hot dog cart inside!
But also, to have a three course meal on tablecloths with linen serviettes – this is the way everyone should fly all the time! So here’s a pic of our entree on board the aircraft – it was a Peter Gordon creation of prosciutto with celeriac remoulade, toasted walnuts, Belgium endive and balsamic reduction. Easily the most delicious meal I’ve ever had on an airplane!