For some tapas, drinks and cool vibes, visit Donny’s Bar.

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Donny’s Bar is a great bar/eatery just off the Corso in Manly. Donny’s Bar is set up with a loft and a few tables out front to be enjoyed when the weather turns on. Once inside, the first level has the main bar and a hidden private bar out back. The kitchen and dining area occupy the upstairs space. The drinks are on point and the food is of a high standard. The food has a homely approach and perfect tapas to enjoy with a drink or two. Even better, they have a range of great daily food and drink specials, like $5 steak night on Tuesdays!. Check out date night and half price Sunday deals which are superb value.

We visited on a Sunday evening and they had a half price tapas menu and also a corresponding happy hour which runs from 5pm-7pm every day. There was also live music put on by the venue from Thursdays to Sundays, making this joint ideal for a Sunday Sesh.

Donny’s have good beer on tap and a quality selection of cocktails and the sticky date espresso was a definite ‘must order’.

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Foodwise, there a number of tapas plates, perfect for sharing (but keep in mind you will want it all yourself!) The crumbed camembert was incredible; you simply cannot go wrong with fried cheese. This is accompanied by a sweet spice and chili infused date paste. 

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The leek and Manchego croquettes were beautiful, absolutely delicious and full of flavour and another good option to snack on with a drink.

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There are larger plates, if you are something more substantial. With a range of quality options, to suit all diners . The crispy skin salmon was very inviting, nicely plated and perfectly cooked.

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We were advised the chicken skewers were marinated for 24 hours and are a popular menu item. These did not disappoint, they were tender, juicy and very flavoursome.

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Donny’s bar is a cool join with a relaxed vibe, a great spot to catch up with friends enjoy a drink, some good food and entertainment. The specials are extremely good value. Make sure you check this joint out if in Manly.

Donny’s Bar

7 Market Lane
Manly, NSW 2095

Tel: (02) 9977-1887

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Nourishing and beautiful food @Three Beans

Don’t be caught out by the stereotype of a shopping centre cafe. Three beans is a great cafe located inside Broadway shopping centre. This cafe has rustic styling, it is a large space and has a stack of magazines and papers to read whilst you wait.
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A good spot to dine in and take a break. There are also plenty of take away options if you are in a rush maybe a pre made wrap, sandwich or cake and coffee to go.
Three Beans Cafe use their own sustainable blend of coffee. There’s also a malabar chai, matcha latte, and iced drinks too. If you’re keen on a refreshing frappe; try coffee or berry!
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Their all day menu boasts good variety, with breakfast, brunch and lunch options; from the summer pancakes and bacon and egg rolls to ham, turkey or chicken sandwiches. The miso chicken and lamb wraps also sounded delicious. With a focus on healthy eating, all menu options list the kilojoules for each, helping you to make an informed healthy decision. We went for two of the healthiest options; the ancient grain salad and nourish bowl.
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The ancient grain salad was a tasty option with a large serve of healthy ingredients including; buckwheat and quinoa, which also had fresh herbs, avocado, beetroot labneh, lemon and poached chicken.
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The nourish bowl, had a good mix of nourishing ingredients such as kale, peas, coriander, red cabbage. Carrot, onion, grains, egg and topped with hot salmon and dressing of coriander and ginger. Very flavoursome for a healthy dish.
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The granola and matcha pannacotta, is a good option if you are after a sweet option and it is a paleo too! Served with berries and coulis, this is a lovely dish and it came presented like a work of art, absolutely beautiful.
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It’s the perfect place to stop for rest and whilst you’re shopping. It also suits families, with a kids menu and the famous babycinos. Be sure to check it out.
Thanks to Huddle Group for the invitation to dine and the hospitality provided by Three Beans.

We visited: Broadway

L122 1 Bay St, Ultimo NSW 2007

Three Beans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

House Bar and Bistrot Italian from paddock to plate

House Bar & Bistrot is a new European style Bistrot in Potts Point. Located at the end of Kellett Street, not far from the main strip. The food here is mainly Italian inspired, all made from scratch including the bread and Pastas. This was certainly evident when tasting as the food was incredible. Set up in an old Victorian style terrace, with multiple dining spaces including outdoor, which was lovely to sit at during the evening we visited. It is a good spot to enjoy a drink with some great food.

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To drink, there are a number of cocktails to choose from as well as some nice Italian wine. Be prepared as the wine glasses are very generous as are the pours (which is not a bad thing). We also sampled a lovely lemon soda which was very refreshing.

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The food here is expertly prepared by Milanese chef Mauro. The appetisers are great for sharing with a range of tasty bruschetta to choose from. The roast pumpkin and thyme atop bruschetta is a classic flavour combination and very enjoyable. It was certainly evident that the bread was made in house as it was superbly fresh.

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The food at House Bar & Bistrot is seasonal, with a paddock to plate ethos. The seafood zuppetta is a perfectly prepared medley of cod, squid, pippies and octopus served in a light tomato soup.

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The freshly prepared Pork Ragu ravioli was incredible, with butter sauce. This was a high quality pasta dish.

The atmosphere at this restaurant is casual, and on the weekends they have DJ’s and acoustic musicians. They have a small Italian inspired wine list and good food. The portions are a little small and the price a little expensive, which is justified as the food is made from scratch, with great care and precision.

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House Bar and Bistrot

62-64 Kellett St, Potts Point NSW 2011

House Bar & Bistrot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Reina for Venezualan Arepas

La Reina serves delicious Venezuelan food. This business started on the market scene and now has a permanent spot at the city end of Newtown. This is primarily a takeaway joint offering the famous Arepas, which are a popular Venezuelan street food and are also very popular in Colombia.

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Arepas are healthy corn flour bread / tortillas served with an array of different fillings. They are Gluten free and you can also get vegan and vegetarian Arepas. They are huge, like a massive burrito, filled with rice, beans, pulled pork, chicken, salads, cheese and more, served solo or with grilled plantain.

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This was our first Venezuelan food experience and we were suitably impressed with its refreshingly healthy fillings and amount of tasty options. We tied the famous ‘Papellon’ the popular Venezuelan choice which is designed to represents all different cultures, with chicken or pork, beans and feta – your choice when ordering.

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The National dish of Venezuela is the ‘Reina pepiada’ supposedly developed to represent Miss Venezuela in 1953, filled with chicken, avo and a touch of coriander. They also offer some less traditional deconstructed Arepas in bowls with a serving of rice. Make sure to add some capsicum sauce or the avocado sauce for added flavour.

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If you can’t decide what to order, the sampler is your best bet, quadrella of mini arepas. It is a colourful offeeing with the corn bread dyed green with kale and purple with beetroot. For fillings choose from varities of pulled pork, beef, chicken or vegetarian, they are all delicious and made from fresh ingredients.

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The husband and wife team and their business partner are all delightful and super proud of their food. It’s great for a healthy and filling bite to eat, the food is nourishing, well priced and prepared on the spot. La Reina is a good health take away option and is well situated close to the uni and bars of Newtown, make sure to check it out when you’re in the area.

La Reina

 69-77 King Street, Newtown, Sydney

La Reina - The Queen of Venezuelan Arepas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Chez Sun is an amazing patisserie and café

Chez Sun is an amazing patisserie! It is also much more that just a master of fine cakes. It is also a great place to enjoy a coffee and meal for breakfast, brunch and even dinner Thursdays – Saturdays. This two level eatery is located in Surry Hills toward the Oxford St end of Crown St. The bottom level has an open view of crown street.

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Once inside, head up toward the counter where you are greeted by the friendly staff. It is here where you see the beautiful display of cakes, which are an absolute work of art.

If you are dining in, it is recommended that you head up stairs. Once on the upper level, you will find an oasis in the heart of Surry Hills. With an inviting French inspired sitting/dining area, you can sit down in a tranquil environment for hours. There are burgundy leather bench seats, a fire place, book shelf and nicely upholstered lounge chairs and marble coffee tables. This is a perfect spot to enjoy a cake accompanied by tea or coffee.

We visited on a sunny Sunday and chose to pass through the luxurious sitting/dining area and out on to the black and white mosaic tiled terrace balcony. A great spot to enjoy a coffee, juice or tea whilst pondering what was the night before and browsing the brunch menu.

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The brunch menu literally had something for everyone. Plenty of breakfast and lunch options: both sweet, savoury, healthy or a hangover cure. This made for a tough decision. The hot cakes are an absolute must, the plate nicely decorated with light golden discs (hotcakes), served with a berry coulis that is not overly sweet and combines nicely with the decadent quinelle of marscapone.

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A tasty savoury option is the three egg omelette with bacon, mushroom and jalapeno’s, nicely presented with the omelette wrapped around a flakey croissant topped with parmesan and hazelnut.

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Be sure to save some space for the patisserie on the way out. The items on display impeccably presented to reflect real items. The white peach, filled with peach cream was very fresh and perfect for summer. The green apple was very impressive, it actually looked like a glazed granny smith. This was also light and fresh the braised diced apple and dill centre a nice flavour combination.

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The were a number of items on display that will have us return for more. Chez Sun echoes quality in all that is put forward. The meals are extremely delicious and nicely presented as are the sweets. The set up of this terrace is eclectic and inviting. This is a great spot to escape, enjoy a bite to eat with your tea or coffee. The juices are really nice too!

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Thanks to Ryan from Get Social for arranging the invitation and the staff at Chez sun for their hospitality.

Chez Sun

251 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney 2010

Chez Sun Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

GPO Cheese and Wine Room, the name says it all!

A Hidden gem in the depths of Martin place in the CBD of Sydney is the GPO cheese and wine room. Enter via the old post office building, head down the stairs and you will find your cheese wonderland. Once inside the cheese room, to the left is a cheese counter and the rest of the room is filled with bottles of wine. This could be considered heaven for some and probably is.

There is a nicely set dining room to the right, where you can enjoy your selections in sophisticated comfort. The staff are very attentive, filling your water glass and providing great service.

The GPO cheese and wine room has a large selection of wine from many regions around the world, much like their cheese offerings. We browsed the menu trying to decide what to order, a difficult task considering everything they have to offer. Do we pick a couple of different types of cheese, burgers, antipasto, a cheese and wine flight or a main? Nope, we spot that they have fondue on the menu, something you do not come across too often in Sydney. This is something that appeals to my Swiss roots.

We select a nice glass of pinot and sip away, in anticipation for the brie coulommiers and truffle fondue to arrive. The fondue hits the table, the flame is lit and the cheese melts, turning into a bowl of liquid goodness. The fondue set was very impressive, consisting of a large platter containing a selection of cured meat, potatoes, bread, crackers, pickled figs and grilled garlic prawns. The fondue forks were kept busy as we were selecting items to pass through that decadent mix of cheese and truffle, transforming each item into a mass flavour infusion. At $56 between two, it is great value.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the GPO cheese and wine room, set up in the historic post office building at the bottom of Martin Place. With a great selection of cheese and wine at a good price, this place is now on our radar and one we recomnend you add to your list.

https://www.gpogrand.com/gpo-best-cheese-wine-room-sydney
GPO Cheese and Wine Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Banh Meats & Co tweaking an old favourite.

We love a good Banh Mi and had been hearing about Banh Meats & Co for a while. We can thank Zomato for arranging the visit. Banh meats is located in Burwood, just a short distance from Westfield and the train station. The shop itself is set up for take away, with a few tables to dine in. It is a casual dining space with a modern fit out and we liked the decor. Order at the counter, grab a table and get ready to hoe in.

We were happy to see that Banh Meats & Co had a coffee machine and ordered a coffee whilst deciding on food. There were also a number of cold drinks on offer including; juice, soft drinks and frappes.

There are of course a range of Banh Mi, served on burger buns or baguettes, they also do salads if you are watching you weight or just like those better. In addition to this, they have the Banh meats version of a snack pack, that can be customised. Our snack pack was a concoction of potato gems, topped with mac n cheese, some diced spanish onion, challots, coriander, pickles and soft shell crab. Go nuts!

The Banh Mi here are pimped out with different types of meat you won’t find on your traditional roll including soft shell crab, fried chicken, roast pork and smoked beef brisket. The roast pork served on a baguette was insanely huge, the meat nice and tender with crisp crackling and this baguette filled with the same salad ingredients served on a traditional Banh mi including pickled carrot. We also added a soft egg for good measure.

The round Banh mi served on a burger bun was also a great option, if you prefer the softness of a bun over a crunchy baguette. The fried chicken variety was a favourite. It had a good batter, not too oily, the chicken succulent, served with fresh salad, bacon and some mac n cheese. This burger didn’t last long.

Banh meats and Co has some tasty food on offer, perfect if you are looking for a quick bite. Yes, Banh Meats & Co is a little more expensive than your traditional banh mi. Keep in mind this is not your hole in the wall joint with a questionable food safety record and they have upped the game by adding quality meats selections.

https://m.facebook.com/banhmeatsandco/

Bellbird dining at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

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Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is located in a repurposed power station in the heart of Liverpool and is a cultural facility to showcase a range of exhibitions, theatre, music, performance and events. We attended the opening of the new restaurant, introduced by Director of the Powerhouse Museum, Craig Donarski in late 2017, but returned for a second visit (and certainly not the last).

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The Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre has opened a new restaurant called “Bellbird dining and bar” open 7 days a week from 10am – 3pm, offering seasonal dining and using farm fresh ingredients, the restaurant is promoting sustainability, seasoning their foods with an array of the plentiful herbs and vegetables from their own garden.

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At the opening, we sampled Hawkesbury River Oyster, Eco Farmed Pork, bruschetta and much more, with ingredients being sourced from their own garden or artisan suppliers from across NSW. Drinks were on offer from South Western Sydney Brewery; Stockade Brew CO. and wines from Artemis in the Southern Highlands.

We were genuinely impressed by our restaurant visit on our return and we cannot speak highly enough of Bellbird Dining at the Casula Powerhouse Museum. The kitchen is run by two passionate chefs; Cordon Bleu trained Federico Rekowski and sous chef Steven Pham. We consider Bellbird to be a destination dining venue well worth a visit. With everything under $18, many of the ingredients used are sourced from their very own garden on site.

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At an amazing price combined with beautiful plating and an amazing display of technique makes for a truly special dining experience. This also evident in the feedback from fellow diners which we witness during our dine. Bellbird is hands down the best value menu in Sydney.

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The menu we sampled was super fresh, light and perfect for summer and there is also an extensive menu that caters to vegetarians. The South Coast Kingfish with gazpacho broth was an automatic pick for us on that hot summers day. A beautifully presented dish, a refined broth with a nice spice kick and summer flavour provided by fresh herbs, tomatoes and cucumber fresh from their own garden.

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Chef Pham’s skill with seafood were learnt from his time at FishFace and clearly on display, with the prawn stuffed squid. This was a favourite, very flavoursome, also beautifully fresh, the flavours from the squid and prawns infusing nicely into the delicate clear broth, again fresh seasonal produce used in this dish.

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The zucchini flower had a synergy of flavours, with a noticeable crunch from crisp batter in contrast to the creamy goat cheese filling. Sweetness was provided from the balsamic, honey and beetroot gel, this combining nicely with earthy flavours fom pastel pink beetroot and sprinkle of walnut crumb.

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We loved the Gnocchi as a vegetarian option. The Gnocchi was light and fluffy, sauced with sage and nut butter, flavours further enhanced by roast fig, caramelised onion and shaved parmesan.

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You can order sides as well, and the fries were nice and crispy with a wasabi salsa.

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The desserts were just as impressive as the other meals on the menu. It was hard to choose between the mango sorbet and the olive oil cake. On this occasion the mango sorbet won out. The sorbet had a silky smooth mouth feel, the mango sphere served atop of a coconut gel and sprinkled with roasted white chocolate, which provided texture and a toasty flavour which was perfect o complement the sweetness of the sorbet.

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Bellbird is a must visit, a great restaurant with amazingly fresh produce, beautifully prepared and even better, the food is offered at a great price. Not only is this a great restaurant, it is situated in the Casula power house museum. With no admission fee, it is a great place to visit if on a budget. There is also a train station if you don’t drive, and ample parking if you do. When we visited the powerhouse had some cool pop art exhibitions, along with a very interesting manga exhibition, and a display curated by Wendy Harmer.

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We appreciate the wonderful care and precision put into each dish and we look forward to returning to sample more of the menu!

http://www.casulapowerhouse.com/visit/bellbird-dining-and-bar

www.facebook.com/bellbirdatcasulapowerhouseliverpool

Casula Powerhouse, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula, NSW 2170

Bellbird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gogyo bring Black Ramen to Sydney

Gogyo is a new restaurant on Albion Street, occupying the premises that was once Salaryman. Similar décor to its previous home, it is reflective of some stylish and minimalistic interiors you will find in the classy restaurants in Japan. There’s smaller tables, higher bar tables or you can share a long communal dining table with friends or other diners. 

 

Gogyo has a fully equipped bar at the main entrance, with plenty of whisky, sake and umeshu. We are greeted with a welcome drink, a yuzu citrus jelly cocktail that is refreshing and a perfect start to the night. 

Gogyo is part of the same restaurant group as Ippudo, Gogyo arriving in Australia with a reputation for quality, having popular restaurants in Japan and Hong Kong.

 

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Gogyo is renowned for its charred Ramen, but they do also serve a variety of other Japanese dishes as well. It is different to other Ramen restaurants. If burnt right, the miso broth retains a umami flavor (the fifth taste after ‘bitter, sour, sweet and salty). The black Ramen dishes which Gogyo are famous for, include the Kogashi Miso or Kogashi Shoyu and these are what the hype is all about. Made by heating lard at high temperatures, adding miso paste (Miso) or soy (Shoyu) and the chicken broth. This is comfort food, a large bowl filled with a rich smokey black broth, a wealth of noodles topped with pork belly chashu and umami egg. This is a meal you will be extremely satisfied with. You’ll also appreciate the bib which you receive to protect your outfit from the splash of broth as you eat. Note, don’t wear a white top. 

 

 

We have long been fans of the regular Tonkotsu Ramen, and order a bowl of this as well, made from pork bones, and the broth filled with noodles, pork belly chashu and an umami egg as well. You can literally see the flavour floating in the bowl, it was a little oily in texture. They also serve a Chilli Shoyu or a Veggie soba if those take your fancy. 

 

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It is not all about ramen, the a la carte menu is definitely worth checking out. There were a number of dishes available that are equally superb. Goma kingfish with Japanese tahini sauce, red shisho, shichimi pepper and plated with nori.

 

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The ‘Japanesian Coleslaw’ is crunchy and refreshing with yuzu dressing, hakusai, Japanese herbs, mint and tobikko. 

 

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One of the absolute standouts include the ‘Crackling Piggy Roll’, a Japanese butter roll with a moist pork that is also crispy on top, with their own original BBQ sauce and mustard, this was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. We could have eaten many more of these mini rolls. 

 

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The Nasu Dengaku, or tempura eggplant, was a generous size, served with a red miso sauce. This is always a popular choice of ours.

 

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Another amazing dish was the Wagyu flank Sumiyaki fillet had a plate full of medium rare meat sliced and topped with shiso butter and mushrooms. This was one of the favourites of the night and we would certainly order it again.

 

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The cocktails were very good, prepared with sophisticated flavours that work, without being too over the top. Sampling the Ladyboss (Yuzushu, Cointreau, lemon, sour) as well as the Businessman (whisky, rosso, cherry) and The No.5 (Gin, Chambord, tonic). They also serve Japanese beers including Asahi on tap, there are also wines and other drinks, making it a great place to enjoy a meal and drinks with friends. 

 

 

Prices are extremely reasonable, most ranging between $3 and $25, with only the Wagyu Flank costing $32 (but it is worth the price tag). The Kogashi Ramen only cost $18 which is good in this day and age for a huge bowl of Ramen.

 

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The hospitality here is extremely welcoming, we are greeted warmly, settled to a table and offered drinks. They explain each dish comprehensively, promptly remove completed plates and top up water and offer drinks as needed. The staff are extremely friendly and efficient, true to what we know of most Japanese establishments. This restaurant is worth of the hype and we are sure it will be as popular as it is in its other locations.

52-54 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Gogyo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yayoi Teishoku – perfect for a Japanese set meal

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We are very fond of Japanese culture and cuisine, so much so, that Japan is the country we chose to visit for our honeymoon a few years ago. We jumped at the opportunity when invited by FCBA for a different kind of wine tasting at the newly opened Yayoi Teishoku restaurant.

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Yayoi Teishoku has just opened on level 6 of Westfield Sydney and to celebrate, they put on an epic umeshu (plum wine) tasting and Japanese dining experience.

The restaurant has a sophisticated design with light coloured wood tones reminding us of traditional tea rooms we visited in Japan. There is a semi open kitchen and extremely hospitable service on offer, something we are accustomed to at Japanese dining.

This restaurant specialises in Teishoku which is a traditional set meal, with a combination of healthy balanced dishes served on a single tray.

With a unique selection of wine including sake and umeshu – Japanese plum wine, it makes for a great place to sample a variety that you may not have had before. They are all very different and created using many techniques. Some aged in oak, combined with yuzu, combing the fruit and leaves from the tree, organic, puree, combined with tea or sake. At $8 a glass, it is great value and perfect to accompany your meal, as you would with grape wine.

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There are a number of great options on the a la carte menu. Price between $2-$10 are the smaller items and sides. Of course there is the Edamame soy beans, the norm to share these at the start of a Japanese meal or Tamago yaki a Japanese egg omelette roll, simplicity at its finest.

There are a range of larger plates, priced between $10-$24. The Salmon salad is a great healthy option, the Salmon teriyaki: a tasty dish with a sweet sauce. This is an approachable dish for those not familiar with Japanese cuisine. The Chicken Namban didn’t last long at all, we loved this fried chicken served with house made tartare sauce. 

The teishoku (set meals) were great value, all were of a high standard and the portions are large, consisting of a soup dish, a main and two sides. The Wagyu sukiyaki teishoku, a Japanese wagyu beef stew with a sweet flavoursome broth filled with noodles tofu, vegetables and an onsen egg will have us returning for more, as will the Unagi Hitsumabushi Teishoku. This is a beautiful BBQ fresh water eel dish with a sweet soy sauce. This is seved atop of a bed of rice with dried seaweed, grated leeks and a side of dashi broth. There are many ways to enjoy this meal, instructions also provided.

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Another favorable option was the Mix toji Teishoku, a meat lovers dream, a large bowl of rice topped with a pork cutlet, fried prawn, wagyu beef topped with egg. To sample all that Yayoi has to offer, try the Yayoi Gozen a set with pork cutlet, salmon salad, salmon teriyaki and sukiyaki.

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If you have room, there were also traditional Japanese desserts on the menu. The mochi is a jelly like dessert made from braken starch. There is a matcha (green tea) warabi mochi and kinako warabi mochi topped with soy bean powder. We prefer the Matcha ice cream options.

Yayoi Teishoku restaurant is great new Japanese dining option in Westfield Sydney. We love the set menu concept providing a variety of nutritious dishes in the one sitting.

 

Yayoi Teishoku

Level 6, Pitt St & Market St, Sydney NSW 2000

YAYOI Japanese Teishoku Restaurant Westfield Sydney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato