Saturday, June 28, 2014

Handcraft Specialty Coffee, Newtown

Flat white
Newtown is known for its eclectic and vibrant Bohemian culture. In recent months, its specialty coffee culture has significantly flourished. The opening of the new Handcraft Specialty Coffee on King Street adds to Newtown's amazing cafe scene.

Handcraft Specialty Coffee brings a hipster and chic vibe to the area. They are also currently the only carrier of the Sensory Lab coffee beans in the area. They also feature other beans weekly like Proud Mary and Market Lane. Espresso and filter coffee brewing methods are both on offer here. Thanks to David Jiew's burger recommendation that I found out about them. Sensory Lab beans plus burgers could only mean one thing; visiting them ASAP is a must!
Piccolo latte
We started with a flat white ($3.50) and a piccolo latte ($3.50). Sensory Lab's Steadfast blend was used for both. The coffee was full-bodied with notes of milk chocolate and a nutty finish. Their head barista John got the milk temperature and texture spot on. I prefer the Steadfast blend as a flat white due to its strong flavour profile. The blend cuts through the milk nicely.
Seoul bite burger with chips


The Seoul Bite Burger with chips ($12) was the other reason for this visit. The sweet soy beef patty retained a lot of juicy goodness, was slightly sweet and flavoursome. The sweet tomato relish, mustard, pickles and onion gave it that classic cheeseburger taste. The bun is a little bit on the dense side but the burger as a whole was delicious. The nicely seasoned chips were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Fried eggs with bacon jam, hash browns, roasted rosemary tomatoes and toast

Bacon jam

The fried eggs with sourdough toast, roasted rosemary tomatoes, hash browns and bacon jam ($12) was a next level kind of breakfast. Yes, you read that right! It had BACON JAM!!! It was like a caramelised sweet and slightly salty meat relish with flavour that reminded me of char siu (Cantonese-style barbecued pork). Spread it on your toast and fried eggs with runny egg yolk and you got yourself a breakfast party in a plate.

I love everything about Handcraft Specialty Coffee! The pleasant service combined with excellent coffee and food are just a few of the reasons to return. A great addition to both Newtown and the Sensory Lab family.

Handcraft Specialty Coffee
67 King Street
Newtown NSW
Ph:02 9550 3701
Trading hours:
Monday - Saturday 7pm to 4pm

Handcraft on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Candelori's, Smithfield

Italian food brings that feel-good vibe into my system. I find comfort in pizza and excitement takes over me when I have gnocchi dishes. Appreciation of good produce and simplicity is the essence of Italian cuisine. The newly renovated Candelori's in Smithfield took on that philosophy along with top notch producers to bring the best out of Italian food in South-Western Sydney.

Candelori's is a casual Italian restaurant that has been in business for 15 years and is successfully ran by the Candelori Family. The man behind the design is Paul Papadopoulos who excels in genre-blending designs. This casual restaurant has a mix of contemporary and Sicilian look. They offer a range of Italian dishes from different areas such as Rome, Siciliy and Naples. Thanks to Wasamedia, I was able to sample what Candelori's has to offer and had the chance to meet their suppliers at their restaurant launch. Here's what went down:

Freshly stretched Stracciatella di bufala cheese

Freshly sliced prosciutto and stracciatella buffalo cheese
Antipasto board
Crumbled stuffed green olvies

Mixed bruschetta
Octopus carpaccio
The octopus carpaccio was one of my favourites of the night. I have never had octopus prepared that way and it was amazing! The extra virgin olive oil and lemon gave the octopus a nice smooth texture and light citrus zing. While the orange zest and pomegranate seeds gave it sweetness. The touch of dry chilli balanced out the flavours.
Buffalo mozzarella caprese
Oven baked figs
The oven baked figs was one of the stars of the night! This is the first time I've had fig as a savoury dish and it was all kinds of awesome! The sweetness from the soft fig and the lightly salty flavour from the San Daniele prosciutto it was wrapped in was a perfect marriage. The the soft fig and slightly crisp prosciutto gave the dish a nice pronounced textural contrast. The gorgonzola sauce completes the whole dish serving as its final flavour accent.
Zucchini flowers 
Gamberi in tegame
The gamberi in tegame was very Sicilian and also superb! It consisted of perfectly cooked tiger prawns with cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, pomodoro and chilli. Sicilian food is influenced by Spanish cuisine. The punch from garlic and chilli along with nice tomato based sauce is a testimony of that influence. Here's a tip: finish off the sauce by dunking crusty bread in it. One of the best things ever!
Wood-fired pizza alessandra - buffalo mozzerella, mushrooms, smoked ham and cherry tomatoes
Wood-fired pizza margherita D.O.C.
I absolutely adored and enjoyed their wood-fired pizza margherita D.O.C.!  The simplicity of tomato, melted buffalo mozzerella, basil and some extra virgin olive oil in a nice thin pizza base was perfection! The pizza base stayed true to how a Neopolitan Pizza base should be (one that folds and that has nice burnt bits).

Gnocchi with duck ragu

Crespelle - mascarpone crepe with warm Belgian dark chocolate and crushed hazelnuts
Candelori's was both authentic and innovative with their dishes. The combination of quality ingredients from their suppliers and their passion for Italian cuisine, they took some things to the next level whilst keeping the others traditional. Congratulations to Candelori's for a successful launch!

Ramen Raff was invited by Wasamedia as a guest of Candelori's.

685 The Horseley Drive,
Smithfield NSW 2164
Phone (02) 9729 115

Trading hours:
Open Monday – Sunday, 
12.00pm – 3.00pm, 
6.00pm – 10.00pm.
Facebook: /candeloris
Instagram /candeloris

Candelori's on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 16, 2014

One Penny Red, Summer Hill

I admire designs that display heritage elegance meets contemporary space. Also, when classics are revived with a modern twist. There's something classic about Summer Hill that also embraces all things new. I can see why the owners of the new One Penny Red decided to open up in Summer Hill. It has a village life charm and it is quite accessible.

One Penny Red is located inside the old Summer Hill Post Office (circa 1900) near the Town Square. The Post Office's interior has been recently renovated and transformed into a stunning restaurant. The modern fixtures and decor compliments the heritage beauty of the building. There are two levels: The casual dining room that is located on the first level and upstairs is a modern chic bar area that includes a balcony. The man behind the bar and restaurant menu is the restaurant's head chef, RJ Lines (ex Longrain, Neutral Bay Bar and Dining, and Glebe Point Diner). The cuisine is Modern Australian with a seasonal approach. All their dishes are made for sharing.

For many weeks, I have been eyeing One Penny Red's opening. As soon as it opened last Thursday, 12th of June, I made plans to visit. We tried small plate dishes on their bar menu during our visit:
Complimentary salted fried chickpeas
A refreshing passionfruit and blood orange mocktail
Salt cod fritters with smoked mayo
The salt cod fritters with smoked mayo ($14) were a delight and nicely seasoned. I loved the contrast of crisped outer shell and mushy innards (kind of like a croquette). The salt cod fillet pieces in the center were perfectly cooked. The smoked mayo totally reminded me of chipotle mayo but with very mild heat.

The lamb-panadas ($5 each) are empanadas filled with braised pulled lamb meat and accompanied with condiment of pebre salsa. The amazing empanada pastry was flaky, light and buttery! It was filled with green olives and super tender and tasty braised lamb. The pebre salsa is almost like chimichurri without the garlic punch. Once you spread it on the empanadas, it makes the delicious pastries very addictive.
One Penny cheeseburger with potato crisps
A burgerman like myself can never say no to a cheeseburger (just coz it's cheeseburger)! One Penny Red cheeseburger ($18) was the item I was looking forward to the most! It did not disappoint at all! The very flavoursome beef patty (made from 200g minced grass fed beef) was cooked medium well and retained a lot of it's juice. It also had a nutty and creamy melted gruyere cheese, tomato jam and pickles that was all contained within soft buttery brioche bun. I think there was a special housemade sauce in it too (I think I need to have it again just to make sure *wink*). It also came with some delicious potato crisps.
Banana and salted caramel souffle with chocolate fudge

We always make room for dessert! So we ordered the banana and salted caramel beignets soufflé with chocolate fudge sauce ($14). I was expecting this to be in a copper pan because of the soufflé part in the name. Rather, it came out as mini beignets sprinkled with icing sugar. After taking a bite, I completely forgot about the whole copper pan thing. I was immersed in these deep-fried morsels that were crisped on the outside with a marshmallow-like fluffy consistency on the inside. The beignets had a lush banana salted caramel filling. Dipping them on the chocolate fudge sauce is followed by blissful moments after each bite.

To me, the appreciation of food classics and giving them a contemporary twist is what One Penny Red is about. I will definitely return to try their dinner menu dishes like their slow cooked lamb shoulder with chickpea puree, pomegranate and sorrel salad ($28) or their kingfish and pork belly skewers with salsa verde ($14).

One Penny Red
2 Moonbie Rd
Summer Hills NSW
Phone: 02 9797 8118

Operating hours:
Mon to Thurs 4:00pm-12:00am
Friday 12:00pm-12:00am
Sat 10:00am-12:00am
Sun 10:00am-10:00pm

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