Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Famous Berry Pies, Berry

Its quite a coincidence that Berry has the famous doughnut shop and another famous pie shop. Well, the famous “ Berry Pie Shop”- small little café and serves a wide array of pies, sausage rolls, pasties and quiches. Simple pie shop. You have the regular pies- steak, steak and cheese, steak and mushroom, steak and kidney. Then you have the sausage rolls, spinach, ricotta and feta roll, vegetable pasties. In the gourmet pies, various versions of the chicken pies- the chicken leek and mushroom, chicken and vegetable, chicken and curry, the butter chicken, chicken with honey and mustard. You also have quiches, and freshly baked bread.

Look overall, there is usually a long queue. This is a cash only joint. When I went there, I was interested in the chicken and curry pie or the butter chicken pie. Unfortunately, both were sold out. I was tempted between the Thai green curry pie and the chunky lamb pie. Eventually settled for the chunky lamb pie and the chicken and mushroom pie.

To be honest, it was just about ok. I do give marks to it-hot pie, fresh. However, I have high expectations from pies. After having the butter chicken pie at Hayden’s Ulladulla, and the curry Chicken pie at Harry’s, there is certainly a high expectation. To be honest, both the pies I tried were just about okay, but not legendary or out of the world. The pies cost $4 - $5.

If I am in Berry, I might give it a try again, but just about okay is my verdict.

110 Queen street
Berry, New South Wales
(02) 4464 1122

The Original Berry Bakery Menu,
Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mezzadella's Woodfired Pizza, Berry

All right, this is my second post about Berry. This small little village, which I am totally in love with.  A small cute place which has its own charm. Lost in time, old architecture and boutique shops. Now in  one of my visits, thanks to the excessive long traffic queue due to the holiday period, we ended up reaching berry, just in time for the restaurant we wanted to eat at closed. Nonetheless, we wander around and I come across this small little door with the name Mezzadellas. Look at the menu and its all about wood fired pizza’s. Well there is an instant interest and I walk down a small narrow passage to open up into a wide restaurant.

It’s a nice little spot, a bit of rustic setting, and beautiful outside seating in the garden as well.  the décor is casual, with natural wooden textured tables on an iron frames and funky colorful plastic designer chairs. Plain white interiors ads to the charm and big window frames overlooking the garden seating.

Look into the menu and this in interesting. They do pizza’s – wood fired, the regular appetizers such as garlic breads, salads. But what makes it interesting is that they also do tapas.

I order the chicken skewers on the tapas. Its description reads, its marinated with coriander, cumin, white wine and oregano. This one is served on skewers along with some fat yellow rice, more like risotto rice, but not sticky and gooey as risotto. The chicken is a little bit charred and its really good. Really juicy, very delicious and flavoursome. The spice mix is incredible. When you have the rice, just by itself, it is a bit bland, but then you have it with the chicken. Its great. So, I loved it, and would love to have it again.

Next came the pizza’s. being a chicken lover, there were about just two options. Interestingly, there quite a few vegetarian options- which is quite a delight. I ordered the pizza called Taipan. This one has satay marinated chicken, along with onions, capsicums. The pizza when it came, was awesome. It looked bright and pretty with amazing red colours of the red capsicum, the green fresh coriander. There is sprinkled sesame seeds, cashew nuts. A very thin crust pizza, and tastes yum. Its got this hint of sweetness, I believe due to the pineapple chutney. Thin slices, and fresh. That’s the word. Fresh. When I ahd this pizza, it instantly reminded me of the pizza’s I had as a kid at home. Simple, fresh ingredients- a bit sweet, with fresh cheese. I liked the pizza here. I liked the pizza. Overall, I have had pizza’s at a number of places, and I will say I really liked the ingredients, the freshness – it’s a bit different.  

One large pizza served the three of us, although we were all mildly hungry as we had eaten some doughnuts before. But if you are wildly hungry, I’d say a large pizza would go for two people.

Will I visit again- most likely yes.                                          
Phone: 02 4464 2045
Shop 6, 97/99 Queen st. Berry. NSW 
Entrance on Alexandra st. Behind 'Pottering Around'

Mezzadellas Woodfired Pizza
Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Famous Berry Doughnut Van

All right, this one is about a small little town, more like a cute village. Now if you are driving from Sydney down to south coast towards Jervis Bay or beyond, right after Kiama and Gerringong, you drive past Berry. I have in the last few years driven so many times past this little village and didn’t pay too much attention until last year and well, it was so worth it. With its boutique shops, candy stores, classy and elegant furniture stores, hippy shops with the Indian touch, its got it all.

A village of hardly a kilometer in length, and towards the end on the right, there is a doughnut van. Now from what I have heard, although it’s a van, it’s a fixed van there for the last 20 – 30 years. And the specialty- Doughnuts. Very simple – fresh cinnamon doughnut nuts. And its just heavenly. They are made fresh to order. So not reheated and served, but freshly made.

It’s just beyond words – warm fresh soft doughnuts, covered with mellow sugar crystals which just melt in your mouth. 

 Other than doughnuts, they serve hot coffee, milkshakes, ice cream shakes. In hot food, there is meat pies, sausage rolls, and hot dog with onions and cheese. Now I have tried the milkshake and it’s pretty good.

Highly recommended and I would suggest and recommend anyone passing Berry to definitely visit this  jewel.

73 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535

Famous Berry Donut Van Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dosa Hub, Five Docks

All right, this one is a new find. Five Docks has been an area, which I have been visiting over the years. It started with going to Himalaya’s –a Pakistani Indian joint, which is sensational. I have been visiting here since 5 years. Next came an Afghan joint- Bamiyan- which is also great. And now Dosa Hub- what a smashing sensational find. A few weeks back, someone recommended this joint for Dosa’s.

Since the suggestion has come through two months back, I have visited this place close to 5 times now. Dosa Hub, usually quite busy on a Friday and Saturday night and might have a waiting, so I’d suggest, calling up and making a reservation beforehand. Beware on a regular week day, it may close by 9, so getting early is always good. We have had a situation when we have visited and then had to go back to find food elsewhere.

Now the décor of the restaurant, is basic and yet very elegant. White interiors, with good focus lights and glass paintings on the wall, make it a very good ambiance. A bit too many tables and small tables, but you know what- probably makes it cosy- and like they say – if the food is awesome, then it’s all worth it. Outside the shop on the pavement, interestingly they have put in a green carpet which looks like artificial grass and have seating over there. On a nice evening, would be great to sit outside as well.

As you sit down, let me just get to the point. The restaurant has a fabulous list of dosa’s. Quite an interesting mix- the speciality being the Karam Dosa – which is their speciality. The regular fanfare of the masala, paper masala, ghee dosa etc. are also there. They do some other variants like the spinach cheese and the peri peri dosa as well.

Since we are talking about the dosa’s- let me tell you- the dosa’s are great. The paper karam is so super awesome. It’s a dosa which comes with a spice paste inside which is awesome. Highly recommended. Other dosa’s I have tried include the paneer dosa, ghee dosa, spinach dosa, paper karam, masala dosa. If I were to suggest and recommend- it would definitely be the paper karam dosa, the spinach cheese dosa. Really superb. The dosa’s are served with an interesting array of little bowls of chutneys. There is a sambar pot, along with coconut chutney, ginger chutney and a peanut chutney. All awesome. Just one wishful thought is if the quantity of sambar was more, especially given that it is so thick, hot and yum.

Next the menu has a number of items, including tiffin’s such as idlis and vada’s, thali’s, and then proper main course fare of Biryani, curries and roti’s. Now the thing is that when you look through the menu, you realise, it is a Hyderabadi restaurant and a family run business. I am guessing the owners are also from the Andhra/ Telengana region. You can make out by the influence of Andhra style cooking in the dishes made- specifically Gongura Mutton and Chicken, Dum ka mutton and chicken.

Let’s begin with the recommendation of the owner. The biryani. So far in life, I have been a crazy fanatic for biryani. I love biryani and love to try out different variants. The Kashmiri style pulao, the lucknwai pulao and the hyderabadi dum biryani. Now in Sydney, one of my favs for Hyderabadi biryani was probably Paradise. Other than that, I liked the biryani at Zaffraan, and at Nilgiri’s. So I ordered the mutton dum biryani. You have the option of having the biryani served either in an earthen pot, with pastry on top of it or on a regular copper vessel. Now I have tried both variants at different instances and let me tell you. It is – wait for it- legendary. One of the best biryani I have had so far. As it is served, it is love at first sight- whether you gently open the pastry on the earthen pot or simply dig in the spoon into the copper vessel. The rice is beautiful. White long grain fragrant basmati rice on top. As you go deeper into the vessel, you get the mutton masala cooked in dum mixed with the rice. It is served with the regular peanut based Mirchi ka Salan and the thick curd raita of onion and tomato. Lovely. The goat meat is so soft and tender- just perfect. I love the biryani here and can confidently say, it is one of the nest I have had so far.

The railway mutton curry is the other dish which I have tried and it’s also amazing. Succulent and soft mutton pieces falling off the one in a thick gravy with a smoky flavour. It’s really nice and tasty. Love the flavour and whether you have it with plain rice or with a freshly based roti or naan. You will just love it.

The poori sabji unfortunately didn’t go to well. While the pooris were good, one of the vegetables served with the poori was pungent and too much of a strong coconut smell, which unfortunately didn’t go too well. Hopefully it was a one off bad experience
So all in all, I would say- a great place to eat some authentic Hyderabadi/ Andhra cuisine. 
Highly recommended.

86 Great North Road, Five Dock, Sydney
0431 607 163
02 9712 3672

 Dosa Hub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Belles Hot Chicken, Barangaroo, Sydney

Belles Hot Chicken

All right, in the swanky new Barangaroo precinct, the waterfront is boasting of a new pop up shops. There is Gin  IT, Belle’s Hot Chicken, and Mamak. When I first walked through, I probably though wow – Mamak!. Perhaps, I felt like a sinner in the church in the confession box saying, Forgive e father for I have sinned. Last Friday, afternoon, I decided to check out Belle’s Hot chicken. It was only when I reached, I realized a lot of people near the Gin & IT bar. So I go near the shop and try to stand by the line and only to realize, I got it wrong. Apparently the crowd in the adjacent bar was actually a waiting line for Belles hot chicken. Wow. So I walked down to the other end of the long line, 2 shops beyond and stood into my place. Wow ! what a phenomenal line. This must be good, I thought. As the line progressed, it was getting clearer to me. People were ordering drinks from Gin & IT, as they waited on the line patiently.  As we moved forward, I gradually saw people getting their orders and why its so wow. It took me an hour to finally place the order and then another 20 ins before I got the order.

So what’s so special about Belle’s? Well, to begin with, the order is simple. Its fried chicken. Simple. Wings, Drumsticks & Thighs, Tenders. For the veggies, there is mushrooms. And to choose the heat, there is southern, medium, hot, really hot and really F**kin hot. For sides, you can select from coleslaw, fries, mixed pickles or the 3 bean salad.

So to begin with, I had a war between drumsticks or wings, and then a war on hot, or really hot? Being adventurous, I decided to order for the chicken wings, and then thinking it’s a bloody Friday, what can possibly go wrong and who cares- I go for the really hot. I order this with coleslaw and blue cheese dip, along with lemonade with cardamoms. To begin with, the whole experience of waiting in the line and seeing people get their dishes, builds up an appetite. And then once you place the order an wait for your name to be called, its an intoxicating hunger and craving that's driving you crazy and makes you wild. And once the dish is served, you just fall in love with it. Sprinkled with pickles, and the deep red color which more than warmth, exuberates heat. The chicken wings- comes with four pieces. Well fried and crunchy on the outside, and juicy hot chicken inside. The coating of the crunchy outer cover and mixed with the red hot chilli is insane. Let me tell you, it’s an absolute treat and a must have. Highly recommended.  The really hot chicken with th mild coleslaw and the blue cheese dip to cool off, is fantastic and sensation. I thnk I can now make a new movie like Harold and Kumar go to White Castle version for the Belle’s Hot chicken. The lemonade with cardamom is quite an interesting variation.

There is a very big waiting time, so beware, specially on a friday arvo.  Either come after 1:30 or by 11:00 in the morning. The good thing is that it is open on the weekends as well, and also in the evening till 8 or 9.

Trust me, it is right now the biggest temptation to my diet regime and I do succumb once in a while. Id say go and celebrate this success which has arrived in Sydney, all the way from Melbourne.
So all in all, highly recommended.
Wulugul Pop Up, Wulugul Walk, The Streets of Barangaroo, Barangaroo, The Rocks, Sydney

Belles Hot Chicken Menu,
Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Utsav Indian Restaurant, Charlestown

All right, this is one of those restaurants which we visited twice, over two consecutive weekends. Now, it was more of a coincidence, and more chance to sample more food to be honest. The first week, we were in Lake Macquarie and after a day of barbecue and reds on a bright sunny day, we were out for dinner. Now close to Lake Macquarie, there weren’t too many places in Belmont or Swansea and the fact that Utsav had such great reviews on trip advisor and as number 1. So we drove the 14 kms in search of good food. The second time, we were on our way to Coonabarabran and started from Sydney to Charlestown. When I booked accommodation, I didn’t realise this is where Utsav was as well. Reaching at 8:30 again, Charlestown was nearly closed, with Utsav being one of the few restaurants which are open until late.

Lets me start of with all the dishes I have had here. For starters we ordered the tawa fish, and the gobhi 65. The tawa fish was a barra fillet, pan fried with some basic spices. You know what, if you think Indian and think fish and starters, chances are you will be either served a batter coated Amritsari fish or very high coloured fish tikka. But not here. The fish was an absolute delight to have.

The gobhi 65, my oh my, what a disaster. The gobhi or the cauliflower florets dipped in a batter and deep fried were about ok, but it was served in a chutney sauce on a flat plate. Not exactly Gobhi 65. To me, Gobhi 65, a variation of the famous Chicken 65 from Hyderabad, has to be crunchy, flavoursome and with curry leaves. So this was quite a disappointment for us.

Let’s come to the main course. We have come across a few dishes- butter chicken, the daal tadka, and goat Rogan Josh.  The Butter chicken is good. Most restaurants here do mess up butter chicken making it over creamy and too sweet. The butter chicken here was good, above average Id say. It was fresh, the curry wasn’t too smooth or thick in consistency. I got to tell you, I liked it. So a yes to the butter chicken. The only thing which did put me off a bit was when the order was taken, I was asked how much spicy or hotness, which the true dilli wallah would know. Butter chicken isn’t hot;-) But I liked the butter chicken here.
The Daal tadka or the yellow lentils was again good and flavorsome. Simple, with slight masala, topped with fresh ginger. Sometimes, you just want to have simple no frills food. This daal was like that. With roti’s it went well.

Next came the Goat Rogan Josh. Well, when I ordered, I was sceptical. Sceptical because goat is usually either not fresh, or too chewy, or substituted with Lamb. Indian eateries do make a mess of goat dishes, and the number of times I have ordered and been disappointed is far too high. Too high that I have stopped ordering goat at times. Anyways, that was the past.

At Utsav, I took a leap of faith and let me tell you, it was fantastic. The goat Rogan Josh when served came in a thick brown gravy, with some coriander and ginger strands on top of it. The curry was great. The quality of goat was also good. Soft and well textured. In fact both me and my friend who are fanatics for goat, loved it. So a thumb up from my side.

The rotis, naans and breads are fresh. The salted Lassi is really good over here. The gulab Jamuns and rasgullas are descent.

So overall a great place. In a place like Charlestown, its doing good business. We did interact with the owner, and other staff as well. The team tries to look after you and give you good customer service and they do request for Tripadvisor feedback. So I would like to come here again.

If there is one thing I would change about this restaurant- it would be the colour of the walls. Not Maroon or dark red colour on the walls please. It isn’t exotic, it just makes it look shady. Watch a few episodes of Gordon Ramseys – make it light colured walls and it will look classy and bigger.

2/199 Pacific Highway,Charlestown, NSW 2290
02 4906 0506

UTSAV Indian
Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 21, 2015

5 Little Pig’s Café, Huskisson

All right, this one is about Jervis Bay area- huskisson. Now we were to go on our whale and dolphin watching cruise. We settled into the 5 little pig’s café for breakfast. 2 rooms. First one, has the coffee machine and the cakes and all. Second room has all the seating. Very unique and modern seating. The table was made out of pipes.

We ordered coffees. While I settled for the Mexican brekkie, my friend ordered the simple bacon and egg role. The coffees came up quick and then it took a bit of time before the breakfast arrived. But on a sunny Sunday, it was just great to relax and take it easy. Now the Mexican brekkie was quite the thing. A tortilla, topped with red kidney beans, fresh onion tomatoes chopped, with guacamole. The red kidney beans and the super spicy salsa. Wow. This dish was quite colourful, fresh and well balanced. While the super spicy chillies touched the high, the guacamole balanced it. The lemon added the zing. The coriander sprig just looked so good. So, two fried eggs, fresh finely chopped refreshing tomato onion, hot chilli and avo. This was really good.

The coffee was good as well.

 The bacon and egg role was a bit different. Instead of English muffins, they had a Panini, with bacon eggs and spinach inside. While it was ok, I personally am a fan of crispy bacon and wished the bacon was crispier. The béchamel sauce was wonderful and fresh.
So all in all, if you are in Huskisson, or the Jervis Bay area, please do visit this nice café and relax with a great brekkie.

Shop 4-5, 64-66 Owen Street
Huskisson, New South Wales

(02) 4441 7056 

5 Little Pigs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato