Taste of Shanghai, Sydney CBD ($$)

Address:  907/644 George St, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9261 8832

Website: http://www.tasteofshanghai.com.au/

* * *

Atmosphere

It was a busy Friday afternoon when Mum and I decided to grab some lunch in our lunch breaks. We headed over to Taste of Shanghai in the bottom level of World Square Shopping Centre.

When we got there, there was a queue with about 6 people ahead of us. We asked how long it would take to get a seat and were told that it would probably be about 15 minutes.

Mum wasn’t keen on waiting but I really wanted to try this place out as I have walked past it so many times, so we decided to wait.

It turned out that the wait was only 10 minutes and we were soon seated at the back of the restaurant at a big round table with two other groups of people.

2

The front of the restaurant is average looking but presentable. There are lovely patterned  stencils on the walls and dark brown chairs and tables.  However the back is a bit of a mess: the fish tank at the back and the papers and random signs make it look disorganised and a bit cheap.

Service

Service was disappointing.

We had a look at the menu and after ordering we were told that our meals would take about 30-35 minutes to come out.

We couldn’t wait that long as we had to make it back to work within the one hour lunch breaks we both had so we thought we would ask if they could make our orders any faster or if there was a particular dish that they could make quickly.

After editing our order, we were told the food would take about 15 minutes. Happy with this, we decided to wait.

The staff were a bit like zombies. They didn’t really communicate much and, when they did, they weren’t all friendly. We had one gentleman who was polite and brought us some green tea and water with a smile and a friendly “hello” but all the others were grim faced and sullen; possibly due to the busy shift- but still!

Food

To start off we chose the Pork Dumplings in Chilli Oil. We felt like something a little spicy and this dish definitely hit the spot.

The dumplings were soft, warm and juicy. They were quite large and filled with the delicious pork filling. Really great dish and I would be keen to try some of the other dumplings and pork buns available.

4

Mum decided to order Braised Pork with Rice and Quail Eggs.

I’m not a fan of quail eggs but Mum said they weren’t too bad. Overall the dish was bland with average pork, small pieces and a rice wine vinegar flavour.

3

I decided to go with the Combination Noodles.

Unfortunately, while there was plenty of food, it wasn’t very flavoursome and there were only 3 prawns in the whole dish and a few pieces of chicken and pork. Would have preferred less noodle and more meat!

5

Overall the meal was very average.

If not for the delicious dumplings I would probably never go there again. That said, I will probably return for the dumplings -if only to try the spicy crab meat ones!

Cost

Overall both meals cost about $32.00.

Rating:

Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 4
  • Food- 6
  • Ambience- 6.5
  • Value – 6

Taste of Shanghai on Urbanspoon

Raspberry & Almond Mini Friands (makes 24 mini sized)

My mini almond friands look so cute and are great for afternoon tea or for when unexpected guests pop around.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 75g melted butter
  • 2 Tbs milk ( I used skim)
  • 1/3 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 Tbs slivered almonds

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Grease a mini 24 hole baking tray.

3. Place flour, almond meal, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl, stir.

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4. Add milk, egg, butter and stir.

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5. Add raspberries and mix.

6. Spoon mixture into trays – fill halfway. Top with some slivered almonds.

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7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until friand springs back when gently touched.

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8. Use a knife to remove from trays then serve.

Bridge St Garage, Sydney ($$)

Address:  17 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9251 9392

Website: http://bridgestgarage.com.au/

* * *

Atmosphere

Bridge St Garage recently opened up late last year, bringing the rock and grunge of an American style diner to Sydney’s CBD.

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The garage features neon signs, mechanic’s tools, recycled headlights and a cranked garage door, exposed walls and pipes and black and white checks, but somehow manages to bring sophistication and style to the space, using a white bar and polished black concrete floors.

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The space is quite large, the photos only show the front Bridge Street entrance, but the back has lots of tables and some booths, as well as the kitchen.

Bathrooms feature mechanic’s tools on the door handles for extra character and have a very Southern look to them.

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Overall, the space is great for after work drinks or a tapas-style meal with a date. It has a laid back atmosphere and plenty of conversation-starter material.

Service

Service was quite good, we had a few different staff members bring us food and take our orders and all were friendly.

Food came out quickly and we had plenty of attention when we wanted something.

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For drinks, MC ordered a cider and I had a cocktail, the Skyfall, which featured Invivo Sauvignon Blanc, Limoncello and French lychee liquer covered with Bridge St Garage house made berry compote.

The drink was very sweet, the way I like it!

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Cider, $8.00 and Skyfall, $16.00

Food

Argentinean chef Oscar Gorosito has included chimichurri sauce, onion rings, ribs, burgers and empanadas on the menu.

The menu looked exciting and interesting and as we browsed, deciding on what to order, MC and I wanted to try everything on it.

There were prawns, mussels, lamb lollipops, steak, tacos and more.

Eventually we decided on a few items, but when they were brought out we did not think that the food was that great, and were left a little disappointed.

First up we tried the Crispy Chicken.

We expected a mixture of chicken pieces with a Southern -style crispy skin and a thick buttermilk coating.

What we got was four deep-fried drumsticks with a tasty flavour, but not much crunch.

We were a bit disappointed with this and would have preferred some wings, breasts and thighs thrown in there for variety, and a thicker, crunchier coating.

The coleslaw was OK but seemed unnecessary. We did enjoy the garage sauce though, a tangy, and tasty dip that added some character to the dish.

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Deep Fried Southern Crispy Chicken, $22.00

Next we went for the Garage Burger, described on the menu as:

” Our twist on a conventional burger – a dry-aged Angus & Wagyu beef patty sits atop lettuce, tomato, beetroot, pineapple, bacon, pickles and sauces in a toasted bun. With a basket of hand-cut chips.”

The dish is well presented, on a wooden board with a cute metal basked for the chips.

The burger is on the small side, but is plenty for one person on their own (an average girl, not sure about the big eaters/guys!).  MC and I shared all the dishes.

The beef is delicious and was well cooked, the vegetables fresh and the toasted bun, crisp and tasty.  The chips are basically crunchy wedges that were well seasoned, but a little dry.

Overall the Garage Burger is tasty and would make a good meal on its own.

Would be interested to try some of the other burgers, especially the Gaucho and Lamb Burgers.

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Garage Burger, $19.50

Finally, we thought we should order some vegetables.

MC doesn’t like coleslaw vegetables, and the burger we ordered came with chips so we ordered the Mississippi Green Beans.

These are pan-fried green beans with bacon and onion, drizzled in vinegar.

The beans were crunchy and cooked to perfection (al dente). The bacon was crispy and salty-sweet from the vinegar.

We really enjoyed this dish but when we got to the bottom we didn’t like the look of the oil and vinegar sitting in the dish. Would be good to drain this out first before serving. And possibly add something fresh like fresh cherry tomatoes to break it up a little.

Otherwise a tasty dish.

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Mississippi Style Green Beans, $9.00

Summary

Overall, I loved the atmosphere of this place and the cool cocktails.  It has a great vibe and would make a good post-work hangout location.

Although the food was not amazing, it was still quite OK and I would be interested to try some of the other items on the menu.

Rating

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 7
  • Food- 6
  • Ambience- 8
  • Value – 7

Bridge Street Garage Bar & Diner on Urbanspoon

Two Good Eggs, Surry Hills ($)

Address: Shop 2, 148 Goulburn St (Cnr Brisbane Street), Surry Hills NSW

Tel: (02) 9283 9694

Website: http://www.twogoodeggs.com.au/

Opening Hours:

Mon – Fri:  7.00am – 4.00pm
Sat 8.00am – 4.00pm
Sun & Pub Hols: 8.00am – 3.00pm

* * *

My work colleagues and I are always on the look out for interesting and conveniently located places for our monthly team lunch.

With health nuts as well as those who don’t eat pork or beef, it isn’t always easy finding a place that suits everyone.

A bit of Googling and Urbanspooning led me to this place. Two Good Eggs (TGE). I wondered whether the name was a good indication of the quality of food we were to expect.

Atmosphere

TGE has a lovely atmosphere with large windows letting in plenty of light and a view of a small park across the road. The interior has simple chairs and tables but nice wallpaper and interesting artwork line the walls.

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It has a quaint mix of colours and patterns which somehow seem to work, making for a laid back and inviting dining environment.

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There are also some quirky figurines and American number plates which although a little out of place, add character and uniqueness.

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Overall it is a nice atmosphere which is further helped by the lovely staff.

Service

We booked before arriving and found that it was much easier to decide what we wanted from the menu before getting there, to ensure that our 1 hour lunch break was maximised.

The staff were quite efficient in taking our orders, never got any of them wrong, and brought out our meals within 10-15 minutes.

They were super friendly and we liked the fact that they allowed us to pay separately at the registers, which is great when you dine in groups (we were 10).

Food

Food was fantastic at this place.

I ordered a Guava Juice to start off with, it was from the bottle but was still cool and refreshing!

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Guava Juice: as you can see I was so thirsty I have already drunk some!

One of my dining companions ordered the Two Good Eggs Breakfast: poached eggs with bacon, hash browns, roast mushrooms, tomato relish and sourdough toast.

It was colourful and quite a decent sized portion and the mushrooms were charred and beautiful.

The eggs appeared nicely poached and the hash browns were golden and the bacon was crunchy.

 

 

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Two Good Eggs Breakfast, $18.90

I chose the Young and Old Sandwich with chips.

The sandwich contained young manchego and aged cheddar with roast sweet potato, red capsicum, chilli jam and rocket.

The sweet potato was delicious and soft and the cheese melted in your mouth. This was an interesting flavour combination I had not tried before and I really enjoyed it.

The chips were crunchy and golden and there was a large serving of them, which KiwiKompanion helped me out with.

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Young & Old Sandwich with Chips, $16.90

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The gooey cheese inside my sandiwch

DB ordered the special Chicken Salad which had grilled chicken breast, a tomato salsa, baby spinach, chickpeas and blue cheese.

The salad was beautifully presented and very colourful.

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Chicken Salad, $16.90

Another friend chose the Wagyu Beef Burger with chips.

The burger contained a wagyu pattie, tomato, cheddar cheese, rocket and chunky chips served with a side of tomato relish.

The bun was nicely toasted to give a crunchy texture and the tomato relish was a great idea for dipping the chips in!

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Wagyu Beef Burger with Chips, $18.90

I ordered the Grilled Chicken Salad. 

This contained a bed of rocket with a balsamic dressing, cherry tomatoes, sweet potato, fried chorizo slices and grilled chicken breast, topped with a piece of fried haloumi.

Again, the dish was well presented and was a generous serving which made me feel full, without the guilt of chips and bread.

I really enjoyed the tangy dressing, juicy chicken breast and sweet sweet potatoes.

The haloumi was tasty and a little chewy, great with the fresh tomatoes.

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Grilled Chicken Salad, $17.90.

One of my friends ordered a side of chips to go with her dish and we were pleased with the large quantity and the aioli they provided on the side.

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Side of Chunky Chips, $8.00

A few other friends decided on the Roast Pumpkin and Haloumi salad, which contained chickpeas, roast capsicum, rocket and toasted almonds, but they also added a piece of grilled chicken to the dish to bulk it up.

This dish came with a side of crusty bread.

Both said they enjoyed it and liked the texture of the pumpkin and the nice grilled chicken.

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Chicken, Roast Pumpkin and Haloumi Salad, $17.90

Finally, KiwiKompanion, who had already eaten her lunch (she forgot we had a team lunch that day), had a croissant with chocolate spread (Nutella) and jam.

The croissant was toasted and also came with butter. It was quite large and plentiful but unfortunately, there was not enough Nutella.

KiwiKompanion also commented that it was a little dry.

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Croissant with Nutella and Jam, $6.90

Summary

Overall, we all enjoyed our meals, which were all beautifully presented, tasty and of good quality.

Service is great and the cafe has a quaint and quirky feel to it.

I would definitely recommend this place for its salads, sandwiches and the fact that it has an All Day Breakfast- something I love in a cafe!

Rating

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

Service- 7
Food- 8.5
Atmosphere- 7
Value – 8

Two Good Eggs on Urbanspoon

Snag Stand, Westfield Sydney ($)

Address: Level 5, Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt St Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: (02) 9221 9600

Websitehttp://snagstand.com.au/

Opening hours –       

Mon to Wed -10am to 6.30pm

Thurs- 10am to 9pm

Fri and Sat -10am to 8pm

Sun -10am to 6pm

* * *

Atmosphere

Westfield Sydney is always busy during lunch time on weekdays and today was no exception.

I have been to Snag Stand a number of times since it opened and also note that it is steadily growing with a new store opening up in my local shopping centre- Macquarie Centre in North Ryde.

The Westfield Sydney one remains popular with hungry workers at lunch and although the busy food court was packed, we were lucky enough to get a seat so we could sit down and enjoy one of Snag Stand’s delicious gourmet hot dogs.

Service

Service was OK, the staff member who took my order was friendly and nice and the food came out within about 5 minutes of ordering, despite us having to wait about 5 minutes in line before we could actually order.

The place is basically a quick hot dog fix where you order at the counter, take a buzzer then come back to collect your food.

The system is pretty quick and no fuss and the hot dogs are made fresh to order so you can watch them sizzling away while you wait.

Food

MC met me in my lunch break and we each ordered a different dawg.

I ordered the Toulouse, freshly grilled sausage with sauteed onions, rosemary, mushrooms and truffle aioli on a toasted roll.

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I wasn’t too pleased with it as mushrooms are not my favourite vegetable (my dumb fault for ordering the mushroom one) and I thought there were waaay too many of them. However, the brioche roll was quite nice and well-toasted and the sausage was delicious with the truffle aioli. I also liked the freshness of the spring onion for presentation.

I also ordered a regular chips for $3.50 as Snag Stand’s chips are some of the best! They are crunchy, well salted, and have a delicious crispy and creamy texture.

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MC ordered the Wagyu Beef hotdog, served on a rustic roll with butter and garlic mash, herbed gravy and sauteed onions.

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While the actual wagyu sausage itself was delicious, the onions were not cooked enough and were a little slimy.

Rating:

Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 6
  • Food- 6
  • Ambience- 7
  • Value – 7.5

Snag Stand on Urbanspoon