Sunday, 17 August 2014

Paper Plane Cafe - Parramatta - Sydney, Australia

Paper Plane Cafe 



The weather this weekend has been utterly miserable, with gloomy skies and heavy rainfall. The forecasts for the weekend didn't stop us from going out. We planned a brekkie at a boutique cafe called Paper Plane Cafe in Parramatta. Luckily, we had breakfast on the Saturday morning and the rain held in till the late afternoon.

Parramatta seems to be the new dining destination with a number of eateries opening up lately such as PappaRich, Gelato Messina and the upcoming Bourke Street Bakery. It seems like you can find any type of cuisine there without having to travel far. Unfortunately for me, I live quite a proximity away, so driving there can a pain at times due to the traffic.

Located close to the main street, Church St, Paper Plane's Cafe is on the quieter side of  Horwood Place, but this hasn't detracted people from going there. Having opened not too long ago, since the start of the year to be exact, the food has been highly rated my many including my best friend. I hear it does get extremely busy and since it's not known by many as of yet, you definitely have to try it before the crowds roll in due to its growing popularity.


It's a full house when we arrive at 11am, with patrons enjoying their breakfast dishes as lunch isn't available yet to my disappointment. We manage to get an outside table close to the heater in a matter of minutes. I really wanted to have something from their lunch menu, specifically the raved about burger and chips, as I'm not very big on my Aussie breakfast but I guess that means I have to return again another time.

The cafe is nicely furnished with a vibrant decor, filled with wooden tables and chairs, blackboards and mini pot plants or fresh flowers placed on every table. It's not only hip but cool. This is the type of setting I like most as there is heaps of light and lots of air.  You don't feel squished into one place and you can find yourself sitting there for many hours with good company.


Their menu is broad with a number of selections to choose from over the numerous paper pages. All items on the menu are reasonably priced and won't hurt your wallet. That even includes the lunch dishes! Service is prompt and their wait staff are very friendly, attending to our needs within a matter of minutes.


The 'Cappuccino ($3.50)' is made from a Picasso blend. It's described as having a 'strong honey fragrance, flavours of dark chocolate, coconut & coffee blossom, bright acidity of green apple & orange'. I must admit their coffee was a nice blend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It would have been better if they made the milk warmer as it was leaning towards cold-warm.


'Chai Latte($3.50)' is the preferred choice of drink for Jj. She isn't a fan of coffee so she opts for the chai tea with milk. The tea holds a strong flavour due to the combination of aromatic herbs and spices.


'Soy Latte ($3.50+$0.50)' also uses the Picasso blend.

We should have ordered the larger size drinks as we finished our coffees before our breakfast arrived. The food took a long time to reach our table. We didn't count the minutes but I would say between 20 to 30 minutes.


The 'Big Breakfast ($16.95)' was huge and at the sight of it we got an initial shock at the sheer size. It's a generous serving and can even be shared between two. On a wooden board there were two large sized eggs cooked sunny side up, chorizo, crispy bacon, sauteed mushrooms, a hash brown, juicy tomatoes and a rocket salad, served on toasted sourdough bread.  A fresh selection, making a complete meal.


I did enjoy the mix of flavours, especially the well-cooked, plump chorizo sausages with a hint of spiciness.


The sourdough bread was extremely crispy and the sides could barely be eaten. Also, the eggs were under-cooked as parts of the white were still clear. I struggled to finish it given its generous serving but my friend with a bigger appetite polished it all off.


'Truffle Eggs ($11.00)' was more normal in terms of portion size and more suited for one. Consisting of scrambled eggs cooked with a hint of truffle oil, tomatoes & mushrooms, on a sourdough bread with a side of rocket salad. The eggs were fluffy and creamy, but once again the sourdough crust was hard to eat. This is a great dish for you truffle lovers out there.

Its quirky restaurant feel and good value menu will definitely bring me back. The coffee was great but their breakfast was mediocre. However, I still want to try out their lunch menu as it looks superb. Please note breakfast is available all day.

Where?
2 Horwood Pl
Parramatta NSW 2150
Australia

Phone no: 0400 888 772

Opening Hours
Open 7 Days a Week
Monday - Friday - 8:00am to 3:00pm
Saturday - Sunday - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Website
https://www.facebook.com/cafepaperplane

Paper Plane Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Two Sticks - Yunnan China - Haymarket - Sydney, Australia

Two Sticks - Yunnan China

Why has it been so cold these past few weeks? We've been fairly lucky with many days of clear skies and warm temperatures last month so I guess I shouldn't be complaining. I can't wait till Spring kicks in as the days will get warmer.

On an awfully cold night, having soup is the perfect dish to heat up the body.


Two Sticks Restaurant is located on busy George St, close to the World Square shopping centre. With its central location and affordable menu, it's destined to be popular. They specialise in Yunnan cuisine, an area far south-west of China.

On a Friday night there is a queue but that's predicted.  The turnover is fast as diners eat and then go.



From the outside, the restaurant looks quite spacious but upon entry, there are many tables and chairs which have been tightly packed together in a small narrow enclosure. We find ourselves cramped, with lack of leg room and space between us and the tables next to us. It's loud, noisy and chatty, and that's what I like about it. Though, you may find yourself having to raise your voice for your dining companions to hear.


Its modern looking wooden interior has hues of yellow and black, and is positively a stark contrast to the typical Chinese restaurants.


There is a variety of items on offer including appetisers, mains and desserts. Their mini-pot noodle soups are what most diners are here for. The appetisers are aplenty and we find ourselves having to limit our order as they all sound delicious.



'White Cut Chicken ($4.80)' is poached chicken served with ginger shallot oil and sesame. Surprisingly, it came out warm just like how we would have liked it to be. I loved the addition of the ginger on top and it tasted very much like the shallot oil sauce you would get at a Cantonese BBQ store. The chicken was wonderfully tender and velvety smooth.



The 'Fried Chicken Wings - Spicy ($3.80)' aren't your typical chicken wings. It's coated in a Danshan chilli powder and then fried to a crispy, golden colour giving it a nice crunch and juicy insides.



The 'Dried Fried Beef Jerky - Spicy ($4.80)' is unfortunately over fried leaving it extremely dry, tough and hard to bite. The chilli's were extremely spicy so eat with caution.


'Yunnan Signature Rice Noodle Soup ($11.80)' or as they call it 'Crossing the Bridge Noodles', is as the name suggests, their signature dish. On most tables, we witness at least one of those pots, so it's got to be good right? It's like a mini version of the hot pot where items are added separately.





The wait staff bring out a tray containing a number of items including the ceramic pot with soup, bowl of noodles with beansprouts and shredded bean curd, quail egg, meat plate consisting of paper thin raw chicken and pork, and a side of condiments. The meat and egg is quickly added by the staff into the steaming pot of soup to cook for two minutes.



Then the rest is left to your discretion on what and how much you want to add. There goes the springy noodles, pickles, chilli and coriander.



I love how the noodles are ultra smooth, making it easy to slurp with the wonderfully flavoured soup broth that light and not heavy to the palate. The stock is slightly sour, yet also sweet but oh so tasty. Though, it's rather difficult getting a hold of the remaining bits from the bottom of the pot.


If you're after an authentic, satisfying and quick meal, then this is the place to go. Not only are the prices cheap but the food portions are also decent. The tables are able to accommodate a few diners, and isn't suited for large groups.

It's been a rather busy month for me and I'll be jetting off to Singapore again and Vietnam at the end of this month, so do wait for the travel posts once I get back. It's been over 12 years since I last went to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and I hear it has changed drastically in terms of modernisation and growth. I can't wait to try the foods I've been craving for these many years such as the deliciously crispy banh mi's, broken rice with pork chops, Vietnamese coffee and the list goes on and on.

Where?
694 George St
Haymarket NSW 2000
Australia

Opening Hours
Open 7 Days a Week
11:30am - 11:00pm

Website
https://www.facebook.com/Twosticksaustralia

Two Sticks - Yunnan China on Urbanspoon