Category Archives: Sydney – North Shore

Carriageworks Farmers Markets, Eveleigh

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A friend and I went for a wander to the Carraigeworks markets.  I’ve been wanting to get here for the longest time, but often Saturday schedules with sport and other Small People commitments make it tricky, so took the opportunity to squeeze in a visit before that all starts up again. But having visited and been very favourably surprised by the variety and quality of produce and the reasonably sized – not too big and not too small in my view – and generally well priced market, I’ll have to find a way to get there again.

There are all sorts of goodies on offer – fresh produce, cheeses, flowers, bakery items, and a few food stands such as Bar Pho and frequently (though not that day) Billy Kwong.  Sonoma was doing a roaring trade with some of the most giant loves of bread I’ve ever seen. There’s a little sign above each stall showing where each business is from.  Some were in striking distance of my house, others from far afield, but all NSW based. There were a few ingredients for recipes I’ve struggled to find in supermarkets and even specialty grocers, but they were all here!

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Flour and Stone are also a regular there. I tried one of their caneles which I adored and will find hard to resist on my next visit.

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Check out other markets I’ve visited in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, and Florence.

Carriageworks Farmers Markets, Saturdays 8am to 1pm,
245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

Shorties Bar & Dining, Lane Cove

Shorties has upped the bar ante in downtown Lane Cove.   With an experienced small bar crew behind it, the locals have breathed a sigh of relief.  Come for a drink and a snack, or settle in at a booth for a meal.   It has the pre-requisite small bar features – moody lighting, exposed brick, and cocktail names the bar man came up with while sampling too many.

So I gave their refreshing Nice Melons a whirl, though they are more than happy to mix up a classic if that’s what your after.  The staff were friendly and welcoming.shorties (10)

The menu has a good mix of dishes

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We started with the kingfish ceviche, simply done and lovely quality fish

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I also really enjoyed the scallops

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And I find it hard to go past a beef tartare

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The pork cheek was flavoursome but the octopus on the chewy side

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And the buttermilk fried chicken wings were juicy and tender, but unfortunately a little bland, they needed a little something to give them an edge

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Banana is not my thing but the girls rated the banana parfait with Nutella mousse

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The second desert, which I think was a mango ice cream and a cream, just blended, it really needed some texture and some separation to distinguish the components

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But for a venue just recently opened, they are ticking a lot of boxes.  Welcome to Lane Cove!

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Shorties Bar and Dining, 96 Longueville Rd, Lane Cove
http://www.shortieslanecove.com.au
Ph +61 2 9418 9780

Shorties Bar & Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Boathouse, Shelly Beach

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The location of this light filled café – right on Shelley Beach – alone make it seductive during a Sydney Summer. Such a great spot to have a coffee, breakfast, and read the paper, alone or while the (not so) Small People busy themselves in the sand and sea.  With the plants, fresh flowers, framed prints and big lampshades, it’s a spot on beachside casual feel, and one that you wish was your own dining or living room to spend all day.

There aren’t any bookings so you do have to hover to get a table (and given the layout of the room this is ok, I found it extremely awkward at the narrow Balmoral Beach location and gave up), but on the couple of occasions I’ve been everyone is pretty chilled and happy to share on mostly larger communal tables.  It’s a counter order system, line up and pay and grab your number, so you do have to line up again each time you want another round of drinks or coffees.  The menu is very compact, so that they can turn the tables and appease the crowds, but the ingredients were fresh and what was there was well done. If it’s a bucket of prawns and some oysters you’re after, you’ll be very happy indeed with the Summer menu appropriately biased towards cold dishes and seafood.  There isn’t a specific kids menu, but they do the various dishes in smaller sizes. Staff were very friendly and quick to follow up when they noticed our meal seemed to be taking longer than usual and set about rectifying it and offering us some free drinks.

We’ll be back for breakfast.

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The Boathouse, 1 Marine Parade, Manly Ph +61 2 9974 5440 http://www.theboathousesb.com.au/

The Boathouse Shelly Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Encasa, Lane Cove

Encasa in the CBD has long been a popular place for Spanish tapas and cured meats. Over the last year, owners Maria Barona and Francisco Rodriguez have expanded, opening two more city venues including an “express” takeaway in Chifley Plaza, and this cosy restaurant in their home turf of Lane Cove.  A couple of friends and I checked it out the other night, and were pleasantly surprised by the tasty, well priced food, and the added benefit of being able to BYO.  The staff were also very attentive and friendly.

There’s lots to tempt on the largely meat and seafood menu, though there are not too many options for vegetarians.  I’d love to see something like a ceviche or fresh fish dish added to the menu. Here’s what we tried

The jamon Iberico croquettes were delicious – crispy coating and gooey cheesey centre

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Scallops with a saffron cream sauce – a tasty smooth sauce and plump fresh scallops

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The tortilla de patata, a potato and onion omelette, didn’t look terribly exciting on the plate but delivered on flavour

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Sizzling prawns had a delicate hit of chilli and were also enjoyable

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I was looking forward to the beef cheek, and it was tender, but it didn’t pack the flavour punch of a similar dish I’ve had a few times at MoVida, and it could have used a bit more cauliflower puree.

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I really wanted to try the crema catalana for dessert but clearly so did everyone else as it was sold out! Next time.  I’m not big on churros as they remind me of donuts which I don’t like at all, but the girls were keen for a serve and I had a nibble – they were light and crispy.

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Banquet menus are available for groups of 8 or more priced between $42 and $55, and there’s a nice range of Spanish goodies you can buy to take home.  There’s a short kiddie menu too.

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Encasa Lane Cove, 132 Longueville Road, ph 02 9418 8577
https://encasa.com.au/landing-page/home-lane-cove-restaurant/

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

Burnt Orange, Mosman

You’ll find Burnt Orange in a pretty cottage amongst the trees at Middle Head in Mosman looking out over the water, so it is understandably very popular for breakfast and brunch.

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They have four morning sittings on a weekend for breakfast at staggered half our intervals starting from 8.30am with an hour and a half per sitting. We and our friends opted for the first one. The breakfast menu is pretty standard – eggs, bacon, pancakes and the like, and all quite well executed. The sourdough bread is delicious. Though we do ask for a fried egg for one of our Small People and are told “ah no, we can’t do that, it requires a different griddle and it’s too difficult”. Um, didn’t think a small fry pan would be all that hard really, or maybe fried eggs are taboo in Mosman, not sure which. And although we are the first sitting and it is not busy we need to chase our drinks, which arrive after our meals.

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I go for the breakfast board, which has a very nicely done confit of trout. But I find the Avoca brown bread extremely dry and dense so don’t eat it, and pinch some sourdough instead.

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Attached to the café is a retail shop with a variety of treasures. I raise my camera to take some snaps. “Oh, no, you’re not allowed to take photos here”. Ok. I’ll take them in the Louvre or the Vatican instead, they don’t seem to mind.

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Burnt Orange, 1109 Middle Head Road, Mosman, Ph 02 9969 1020
http://www.burntorange.com.au

Burnt Orange Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mama’s Buoi, Crows Nest

Most cultures have a word or a phrase that means “mummy’s boy”.  In Italian it is mammone, in Greek mamakias.  And while “buoi” is actually the Vietnamese word for a type of grapefruit, the name of this traditional Vietnamese eatery is in fact a play on words by founder Bao Hoang, and a reflection of love and admiration for his mother, and recipes he learnt from her along the way.

I had often walked past its little corner in Crows Nest, seeing heads bent over steaming pho or munching on rice paper rolls.  The place doesn’t take bookings, but on a cold and wet Sunday night we are in luck and seats are free in the small indoor area, as most of the seating is outside.  I’m having a long overdue catch up with a lovely friend; like the Marito, she is a vegacquarian, so we stick to vegetables and a fish dish.  Everything that comes out is tasty, light and fragrant, and I would happily come back to try some of the meat dishes. The staff are friendly and attentive too.

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We start with some fresh rice paper rolls with mushroom and tofu

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Followed by this delicious dish of smoky eggplant with a slight hint of chilli. My friend, who has an ambivalent relationship with eggplant, loves it.

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Mushroom and snow pea stir fry, simple and tasty

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The barramundi, marinated in lemongrass and kaffir lime comes with a decent chill hit and is very fragrant, though the fish is a little overcooked

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It is a pleasant and unfussy meal in a relaxed environment, just what we needed to cram in a few months worth of conversation.

For groups, there is a $49 banquet menu

Mama’s Buoi, 77 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, Ph 02 9438 5005
http://www.mamasbuoi.com.au

Mama's Buoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Il Girarrosto, Hunters Hill

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Il Girarrosto is the latest venture of Luigi Esposito, the founder of Via Napoli.  But where Via Napoli is all about the carbs, Girarrosto – the Italian word for rotisserie – is all about the protein.  In fact, other than a few bruschetta type entrees, you’ll find very little in the way of carbs on the menu.  Vegacquarians like my Marito are catered for, with a nice offering of seafood, but pure vegetarians might struggle a little.

There is also a nice offering of cheeses and charcuterie.

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The rotisseries themselves are impressive, slowly roasting beef, chicken, lamb and quail.

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Large cuts of meat and the various seafood are cooked on grill plates at the fire.

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I was a fan of the king prawns, on a bed of cherry tomatoes and some fresh chopped chilli.

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The Marito preferred the baby octopus.

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Whole snapper was nicely done, though the stuffing inside was a touch too salty.

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Our little carnivores on the other hand, polished off a 1kg rib eye which was a special on offer that night.  It was medium rare, smoky, and tasty.  I also liked the rosemary potatoes.

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The salad dressing needs some refining, I found it a bit oily and lacking flavour.

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Given meat and seafood, don’t expect the same cheap and cheerful pricing you’ll get at Via Napoli – and that’s the point as Luigi does want to bring something different to the table.

Il Girarrosto, 60 Gladesville Road Hunters Hill
http://www.ilgirarrosto.com.au

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Il Girarrosto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato