Once a year, I dedicate a weekend to Sydney. One weekend of pure gluttony, where getting full is not an option and optimising every last bit of space in that second stomach is very much mandatory. Last year Fakebooo and I flew up for a weekend of pastries, cakes and brilliant Argentinian food and you can read all about it here. This year my itinerary was pretty much the same, except this time round, The Angmoh came along as my dining companion.
His only request food-wise was to have yumcha. That’s how we found ourselves in The Eight Restaurant, gorging on prawn dumplings, steamed pork ribs and glutinous rice as soon our plane landed. The restaurant was quiet when we rocked up close to 11am, with trolleys piled high with steaming bamboo baskets. By the time we left though, it was packed and rowdy, the way every reputable yumcha restaurant ought to be. The food was pretty good: slippery fresh prawns housed in silky translucent skins, smooth beef balls with the delicate crunch of water chestnut and velvety soy curd in a gingery syrup.
We walked out lugging our backpacks and hiked across town towards Woolloomooloo, for the one and only and my Sydney-must-have Flour and Stone. Here I indulged in a rich chocolate tart while The Angmoh nibbled on some fruit toast. Deciding against the panna cotta lamington to save space for dinner, we headed towards our hotel for an afternoon siesta.
At 5pm, we were the first in line for Porteno. Having inadequate figures for a table booking, we decided to be kiasu and started camping an hour before the doors opened. Was the wait worth it? Hell yeah! Porteno panders to every carnivore’s wet dream where meats are grilled to perfection. Served in generous portions by cute waiters in leather aprons, every dish a sight for sore hungry eyes. My absolute favourite item, ironically, is a vegetable one. The grilled peppers are an absolute delight. Their skins blistered from high heat slip off to reveal soft flesh, succulent and sweet. Desserts here are excellent too, and I split an alfajores with The Angmoh. This was an amazing dish with crumbly buttery shortbread sandwiching a sticky caramel-like dulce de leche, all smothered in chocolate and then topped with an incredible brown butter ice cream. I was in dessert heaven.
The next morning, we squeezed ourselves into a tiny café. Room 10 is a hole-in-the-wall which we’d chanced upon during our brief stroll in Kings’ Cross. We were counting the number of strip joints where a turn led us onto an unassuming laneway which had a handful of cafes and bistros. The morning crowd built quickly and we were lucky to get a table right away. The coffees were served hot and leant towards bitter. While The Angmoh enjoyed a slab of homemade banana bread with Pepe Saya butter, I worked off my morning gym session with a protein-heavy sandwich of smoked ham, triple cheese and smashed egg. Both dishes ticked all our breakfast boxes.
Next on our agenda was another of my Sydney must-haves: Blackstar Pastry’s strawberry, watermelon cake with rose-scented cream. This has to be one of my all-time favourite cakes. Feminine in description and appearance, this cake is pure heaven with just the right amount of sweetness and perfect combination of floral and fruity flavours. It’s not only this cake that excels at Blackstar. The pastries too, are sensational. The Angmoh, after sampling the sausage roll, declared it to be “the best sausage roll of his life”. The flaky pastry is loaded with butter and filling was packed with flavour and spice, and even retained a resilient chewy texture. We took a couple of these bad boys back to Melbourne and The Angmoh’s dad proclaimed the very same.
To kill time before dinner, I catched up on my zzz’s while The Angmoh enjoyed “Locke”. These odd arty-farty movies aren’t quite my thing but our final meal totally is. Gumshara Ramen sits in a foodcourt in Chinatown. The broth here is one of the best I’ve come across, with depth and stickiness achieved from boiling pork bones till kingdom come. The noodles and egg are cooked without any fault, retaining bite and wobble respectively. I enjoyed mine with a hit of black garlic and less salt. Needless to say, it went down a treat.
Sadly this concludes our weekend in Sydney. I’m already anticipating another foodie trip that will challenge the waistline and loosen the belt. Please hit me up for any mouth-watering delectable recommendations!
9-13 Hay Street,
+61 2 9282 9988
358 Cleveland Street
+61 2 8399 1440
Black Star Pastry
277 Australia Street
+61 2 9557 8656