Grounds of the City

With an optimistic approach, I didn’t think The Grounds of the City would be that busy as it was brunch time on a weekday but as we turned the corner at The Galeries, TimmyC and I were faced with a large crowd. Luckily most of them were waiting for coffee and takeaways and the line for a table was relatively short. We placed our name and number for a table of two on the list and was advised that there’d be a 20-30 minute wait, 18 minutes later we received an SMS that our table was ready.Walking inside the restaurant was like teleporting back to an era where men would wear hats with suits and would read the newspaper instead of staring at their phones.  There were so many things to look at, I didn’t know which way to turn my head until my gaze was distracted by the cake trolley. Yes, you read that right, you can request the cake trolley to be wheeled to you. I feel it would pair perfectly with a bottomless cup of tea (which is also on the menu).Flat white ($4.00). TimmyC really enjoyed his coffee, I now understand why there was a huge queue outside waiting for takeaway.Black truffle omelette with mushrooms and goats curd ($28.00) plus a side of bacon ($5.00). TimmyC at first had chosen eggs benedict for breakfast which was quickly vetoed by me as I heard about the specials. This choice was so popular, it was sold out soon after we had placed our order. When the server placed the plate on the table, I found the smell of truffles intoxicating. The omelette was perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed the addition of the subtle sourness that the creamy goats curd provided. I loved how ordering a side of bacon meant a plate of bacon rather than just a single rasher- WIN!The Bakery Basket The Grounds continental selection of freshly baked pastries with house-made preserves, cultured butter and whipped mascarpone ($16.00). I thought the delicious flaky buttery pastries didn’t need anything more, so not to waste the delicious condiments, we ordered a slice of sour dough toast ($4.00). I loved everything about this (I even started to just eat the mascarpone when I ran out of things to spread it on) and thinking about it again makes me salivate. The cherry on top was that they warmed the pain au chocolat perfectly to give a molten chocolate centre.So delicious and melty on the inside while being crispy and flaky on the outside.When eating in Sydney CBD, I can tell you where to get ramen, congee, thai stir fries, dumplings and baos, but if you wanted a good brunch spot, I’d be lost for words. The Grounds of the City fills that void and then some. I cannot wait to go back to try more from all parts of their menu and might even stick around for a bottomless cup of tea.

Venue: Grounds of the City

Address: Shop RG 12, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone(02) 9699 2235

Website: http://thegroundscity.com.au/
The Grounds of the City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Lorraine’s Patisserie

Finding myself up the top end of the CBD wanting to get breakfast, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. My sister had told me about Lorraine’s Patisserie ages ago and ever since then, I have wanted to try their famous strawberry and mascarpone cake. It was just a few streets away from Pitt Street Mall, tucked in down the end of a cute little hipster-friendly looking alleyway lined with other funky modern shops. I was surprised to see that the patisserie was really small with no seating and they didn’t sell any beverages – but that didn’t matter as we found the cake cabinet very inviting.

We grabbed a few things and headed into the sun filled seats of Martin Place to eat our breakfast.Croissant ($4.00). We were tempted to go back and get another croissant, we basically finished it a few steps away from the shop front.Choc eclair puff ($5.50). This was heaven. The choux pastry was perfect with its little bit of crunch, the vanilla bean cream was divine all topped off with the right amount of chocolate. I was also tempted to get another one of these as TimmyC ate most of this one.Mascarpone cake lightened mascarpone, layered with crispy coconut dacquoise, fresh strawberries ($10.00). The perfect marriage of strawberries and mascarpone with an added delight of the chewy coconut dacquoise layers. As much as I enjoyed this, I preferred the choc éclair puff more as it didn’t have the hype and expectations placed on it like the mascarpone cake had. I thought the price of one cake was a little steep considering its small serving size.

Sausage roll. Not the most delicious sausage roll I’ve had but it provided a good savoury relief from all the sweets I was having for breakfast.I am eager to head back there and eat more of these cakes and croissants while hopefully also getting to taste more of their cake range.

Venue: Lorraine’s Patisserie

Address: Shop 5, Palings Lane, 320 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone(02) 9254 8009

Doux Amour

I had been stalking Doux Amour for a while, ever since I spotted their very cute penguin choux pastry on Instagram. By chance, friends of mine came across their pop up store at the  lower ground level, QVB and were nice enough to bring some home to share. Not all animals were available (7 out of 12) but I did have my eye on ‘Rosie’ (rose and lychee) and ‘PoPo’ (cookies and cream).

Photo sent from my friend which made me squeal very loudly.The menu.My friends couldn’t remember how much each puff was but I’ve seen on some reviews they are around $7.60. They bought home Rosie, PoPo and ‘Nutty Freckle’ (nutella).Cutting one up reveals a light fluffy custard that isn’t too OTT and you could easily eat more than one without feeling sugar sweats. I thought I would enjoy Rosie the most because of the similarity with Pierre Hermes’ Ispahan but surprisingly my favourite was PoPo. I thought the flavours of the nutella and rose/lychee weren’t strong enough.It could be said that these choux pastries are really gimmicky as they are very instagrammable and ridiculously cute but lucky they are also delicious. I can’t speak for all flavours though and I still want to get my hands on ‘Blackie’ (black sesame), ‘Quackie (pineapple), ‘Hopper’ (strawberry) and ‘Chai-ger’ (chai).

Venue: Doux Amour

Address: QVB pop up, lower ground level north
Doux Amour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Teddy Picker’s

It had not been 12 hours since we arrived home when TimmyC asked me if I wanted to eat breakfast at home or out. After 13+ years together, you’d think he would know the answer to that question. I had the exact place in mind of where I wanted brunch as soon as I was back in Canberra; the newly opened Teddy Picker’s in Campbell.

As we drove past roads lined with parked cars, it was reminding me of the almost impossible car parking situation in Braddon but we eventually found a spot a short stroll away. We were met with a relatively short line and we were told it was going to be a 10-15 minute wait until a table for two was available. With that, TimmyC ordered what appeared to be a very tiny small coffee ($4.00) and a Dream Cuisine croissant ($5.00) for whilst we waited outside.I love the funky interior setting of the cafe, the natural light through the windows makes it the perfect place to take food photos.Brunch is ready!Large flat white ($4.50). TimmyC said it was a nice smooth coffee but not the nicest one he has ever had.

The coffee had beautiful latte art before TimmyC dumped all the sugar on top.Vermont Chai infused tea recommended with soy ($5.50). I didn’t think the taste of chai was very strong but it was very milky and frothy.Pressed French toast blueberry custard, lemon yoghurt, macadamia ($17.50). There is an ever so slightly crunchy exterior of the French toast before you hit the squishy soft almost pudding-like centre. I like the subtle sweetness on the surface of the toast but I felt that the blueberry custard didn’t add anything except for visual effect. We really enjoyed the yoghurt + fresh blueberries + toasted macadamia combo.How soft and squishy does that French toast centre look!Eggs Benedict Christmas ham, smoked hollandaise, rye muffin, poached eggs ($16.90) + Teddy’s hash brown ($4.50). I think the Teddy’s hash brown makes everything better; add it to your benny, whopper, heck even your oats! I love how it was crunchy on the outside and soft and potatoey on the inside. TimmyC substituted the Christmas ham for Pialligo Estate bacon which accentuated the smokiness of the hollandaise. The rye muffin was a little tough to cut through but I really enjoyed this breakfast.

The big plate makes it look like something is missing from the breakfast.The eggs were cooked perfectly.This hash brown is what you need in your life right now!Double points to Teddy Picker’s for an awesome extensive tea menu and their collaboration with local businesses such as Tea Garden Co and Red Brick Espresso.

Once we were seated, the wait staff were very attentive, friendly and efficient. There wasn’t a long wait time for our food after ordering and our water bottle was never empty. I cannot wait to go back and try more of their menu.

Venue: Teddy Picker’s

Address: 53/65 Constitution Ave, Campbell ACT 2612

Phone: no phone number- don’t bother booking, they only take walk ins

Facebook//www.facebook.com/teddypickersest2016/

Teddy Picker's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoThey even have a cute ‘dog bar’ area for your furry companions.

Adult fail. Culinary win!

So it appears after going to the markets with no meal plan in mind, all I’ve bought is a million apples, delicious scotch fillet and popping corn on the cob… Not exactly ingredients for a meal- ADULT FAIL.

Later that day after a long yum cha catch up, I decided not to sit down and bum about and instead cooked truffled risotto with brie, two cheat apple tarte tatins (for the first time) and prepared the fillings to make kroketten (also for the first time) in just over two hours- CULINARY WIN!

Back to reality- I realised I still don’t have any lunch for tomorrow so I had to quickly cook rice to accompany some left over beef rib that I have in the fridge.

A close of the ‘cheat’ apple tarte tatin, the caramel dripping off the crunchy pastry was the best part.

Patty’s Patisserie

With clear descriptions from SheisMelen and Wita, I was able to spot Patty’s Patisserie and their red top marquee located at the centre of the Epic markets pretty easily. I had never seem them before despite them attending the markets for the past three months, it must have been bad timing because up until now they had attended the Farmers markets every second week.

There wasn’t much left by the time I got there but it still took me a long time to decide what I wanted.They take much pride in their work and it was really nice that they stuck the cakes/sweets down into the box as it would have definitely been found upside down by the time I got around to eating them.Raspberry rose vanilla cake ($7.50). This was a delicate cake consisting of what seemed like raspberry mousse, vanilla bean panna cotta and a raspberry jelly layer. It was very easy to eat and reminded me of summer. I would want this cake in a bigger size.Raspberry and vanilla, a match made in heaven.Strawberry tiramisu ($7.50). There is no coffee component to this dessert at all, in fact the only thing it has in common with a tiramisu is the layers of sponge biscuit and cream. The custard cream component was thick and luscious which was really soaked up by the sponge and sweetened by a little strawberry sauce. With what started off as ‘just one bite’ turned into TimmyC almost finishing the whole thing to himself.Chocolate and caramel cake ($7.50). Sorry for the photo, it had spent a few hours in the box before I got around to eating the cake. I thought this would be an OTT really rich cake but all the textures and flavours were rather light and so you could eat a whole cake easily without feelings of regret and sickness. The caramel mousse-y layer was particularly good.Orange and chocolate eclair ($6.00). This was shared around between some friends who like the chocolate/orange combination. TimmyC who doesn’t like the combination, still appreciated the choux pastry texture and the creme patissiere. I wish we got there earlier to try their many other eclair flavours like: chocolate, vanilla & chocolate, pistachio and white chocolate, coffee and chocolate or their salted caramel.  
It is nice to know that when you rock up past 11am that there was still some choice of sweets (albiet limited), according to their cake menu there should be eight cakes available(?). My friend who had been to the markets on the same day but two hours earlier, was able to pick up a V8 cake that was originally recommended to me by my friends.

I think as the word gets out about their producst, their popularity will grow and they would sell out much quicker. Hmmm, should I be telling people who wake up earlier than me about them then?

You’ll be happy to know that Patty’s Patisserie will now come every week to the Epic Farmers market and that they also sell jars of salted caramel.

Venue: Patty’s Patisserie
Address: 556 Olive Street, Albury, New South Wales, Australia
Email: patriciapastrychef@gmail.com
Canberra outlet: Epic Farmers market (every Saturday 7:30 – 11:30am)
Phone: (02) 6021 4662

What do you see?

If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would probably think that this was a photo of something strange and out of the ordinary but what my eyes automatically zoomed to when TimmyC sent me this photo was the Duffy Pies sign !!! I immediately asked if there were any sausage rolls as they are in my top two for sausage rolls around Canberra (the other one is from Dream cuisine). They were sold out yesterday but will have more today, it is good to know that I don’t have to drive all the way out to Binalong to get one now.IMG_7029.JPG  *This photograph was taken by TimmyC and used with his full permission.

Portuguese tarts Lord Stow’s bakery – Macau

I sat there with a sweat dripping out of every pore. My feet were sore from excessive running in inappropriate shoes. My face was red and flushed and I might have annoyed a few people along the way. Yet I felt deeply satisfied with the resulting box that laid in my hands.

How did it all come to this?

60 minutes earlier

We were heading out for the morning after a night of R ‘n R staying at the luxurious Lisboa hotel. The plan was simple – buy our ferry tickets for our return trip to Hong Kong, hunt down Lord Stow’s bakery and then head back to the hotel just in time for our 1pm late check out, allowing time to wildly throwing everything back in our suitcase.

Me being as stubborn as I am, wanted to go to the original Lord Stow bakery hidden somewhere amongst the not so main streets of Macau but when Google, phone reception and the taxi drivers were not helpful in finding the store, we had no choice but to run wildly towards the Venetian hotel (I knew there was a store there), which seemed very far away and time was ticking.

Inside the Venetian was an awesome canal with gondolas paddling up and down between all the fabulous stores, there are gorgeous paintings everywhere all over the ceiling and there were human statues, magicians walking around performing tricks but there was no time for any of that, we were here for one thing – PORTUGUESE TARTS!

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It would have looked like four crazy tourists running in multiple directions and there might have been a bit of running around in circles but we finally found it!20131123-002057.jpg

Warm Portuguese tarts from Lord Stow’s bakery ($8.00 HKD per tart).20131123-002206.jpg

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The pastry is so flaky looking with beautiful imperfect brown spots.20131123-002617.jpg

The custard was so delicate and silky smooth, which a great contrast to the crispy flaky pastry. Oh my goodness, there is a party in my mouth.20131123-002659.jpg

You can see the pastry is swirled at the bottom and you can really feel that in the texture when you bite into it.

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Even the next day when the tarts were all cold, they were still amazing and while sitting in a five-star hotel looking over Macau just made the experience just even better.

While you’re in Macau, you have to make this as one of your ‘absolutely have to do’ things on your list. I would suggest going straight to the Venetian hotel and take time to browse around the mall and float down the canal in a gondola and not frantically scramble to check out of your hotel room.

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