Harvested, Sydney

Did you know that $8-10 billion worth of edible food is wasted each year by Australian households alone? That is twice the amount of foreign aid Australia gives!

In fact:

  • Australians throw away 20% of groceries
  • Australia produces enough food for 60 million people annually, yet 2 million go hungry
  • Every day, 1 million Australian kids do not get breakfast or dinner

The list goes on.

OzHarvest is a non-profit organisation that has been rescuing surplus food meant for the bin for over 10 years and distributes it to 600 charities nationally. It is the only organisation in Australia who performs this work, and has converted over 10,780 tonnes of food destined for the landfill, into over 32,340,498 meals to date.

ozharvestToday, OzHarvest launched their pop-up cafe ‘Harvested’, which makes delicious meals out of rescued food for the public.

1431402559923Owl and myself have been supporters of OzHarvest for many a year now and were super keen to check the cafe out.
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Today’s menu consisted of:

12 May 15 MenuAt only $15, you can choose as many dishes as you like from a menu that changes daily, depending on what they have managed to rescue. Dish size depends on the number of people on your table as all dishes are made for sharing (except for soup dishes). The following dish sizes were for two (Owl and me).

House-made pide + smoked aubergine labnehHouse-made pide with smoked aubergine labneh
The pide was soft with a slight bite to it, like when you use some spelt flour. The labneh was smooth, creamy and was gloriously smokey with garlicky undertones.
Zuchinni fritters, dill sauce +herbsZucchini fritters with dill sauce and herbs
This dish stole the limelight. It was pillowy soft on the inside and lightly crunchy on the outside. It felt like eating soft-shelled crab and went beautifully with the yoghurt-dill sauce. The herb salad had crisp cucumbers, fresh mint, spring onion and parsley dressed in some sort of lemony buttery sauce that lifted the fritters beautifully. I would go back just to eat $15 worth of this dish…
Slow-cooked lamb, braised white bean + pickled radish12-hour slow-cooked lamb, braised with bean and pickled radish
This dish drew you in with its promise of warmth and comfort, and it did not disappoint. The beans were creamy and nicely balanced (not too salty like some places), and the lamb was braised to perfection. It was soft enough to portion with a butter knife and yet was distinctively and intensely flavourful. I was quite enamoured by the cute little pickled radish which added colour, texture and also cut through the rich lamb and beans beautifully.
Charred veggies, yoghurt + sesame spiceAs an after-thought, Owl and I asked for a dish of the ‘Charred veggies with yoghurt and sesame spice‘. Although very pleasant and not cooked to mush, it pretty much tasted like charred veggies with yoghurt and dukkah. I did notice the cleverly added bits of roasted kale which added to the nuttiness of the dish. The beetroot also added beautiful pink swirls to the dish, enhancing it’s visual appeal even during consumption.

By the end, both Owl and I were comfortably full and completely satisfied, which means the portion sizes were good as we are both ‘healthy eaters’ (ahem). I was half wishing that they had a dessert dish but then remembered it was $2 coffee day at Antidote and did not mind so much  😉 1431402395454

The glass-walled restaurant was sunny, relaxed and friendly; with passion exuding out of all the volunteer waiters and waitresses there. Ronni Kahn, the founder of OzHarvest, was there to greet all the guests and make sure everything ran smoothly (which it did!). Everything was just beautiful and a big kudos to everyone who made this project such a success. Keep up the good work, guys!

Harvested is only open for lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11.30am – 2.30pm. No bookings taken so hurry – they are said to be closing at the end of July 2015.

If you cannot make it, fret not. Baraka, another pop-up restaurant from the founder of Chic Pea has opened in the same place and will donate part of its proceeds to OzHarvest. It opens for dinner Thurs-Sat from 6pm. Bookings will be taken.

#harvestedMore than the novelty and delicious food, it is important that we continue to support events like this to educate, create awareness and enhance sustainability. As Jeff Sachs said, “We face, therefore, a moral crisis, not a material crisis. We face a problem not of means but of ends. As Aristotle might have said, we have the techne (the technological know-how) but not yet the phronesis (the moral wisdom) to choose survival over death. We are trapped by an indifference that ironically has been magnified by America’s exaggerated defense of liberty at the expense of virtue.”

Perhaps Australians are not too far behind.

Harvested
56 Harris Street, Pyrmont, NSW
1800 108 006

More information: SMH Good Food :: Femail :: Ozharvest

Burger Project – World Square

As you all know, Neil Perry opened a burger joint next to Din Tai Fung at World Square. It offers the same 36 month grass fed Cape Grim beef (albeit the chuck and brisket cuts) and triple-cooked fries as Rockpool Bar and Grill, but with a more chill atmosphere and affordable price tag.

Nice atmosphere and quite private

Nice atmosphere and quite private

Now, I’m not going to explain the flavours in detail. There are plenty other blogs that do that; I’m just here to give you more pictures of stuff on the menu. Suffice to say I was pretty happy with the food here and I’m not sure the bad reviews on Urbanspoon were warranted. Especially considering everything was under $10.

I also did not doctor any of the images so that you have a non-biased view of what the food actually looks like. #nofilter #sorryitsblurry

Our tray of noms!

Our tray of noms!

Triple fried chips with smokey chipotle chilli sprinkles. The alternative was just +salt. These babies were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, even the ones at the bottom of the cup! The seasoning was very tasty and not spicy.

Triple fried chips with smokey chipotle chilli sprinkles.

The alternative was just +salt. These babies were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, even the ones at the bottom of the cup! The seasoning was very tasty and not spicy.

Spicy Chicken Burger. It is what it is. Not that spicy.

Spicy Chicken Burger. It is what it is except, not that spicy.

Such a juicy, succulent burger. Not too salty but just enough to keep you wanting moat. I love the Maccas Quarter Pounder and this sure reminds me of a tastier version. Not a fan of the raw onions, though. Why! Why raw when cooked is infinitely yummier  :(

Cheeseburger

Such a juicy, succulent burger. Not too salty but just enough to keep you wanting moat. I love the Maccas Quarter Pounder and this sure reminds me of a tastier version. Not a fan of the raw onions, though. Why! Why raw when cooked is infinitely yummier 😦

Cheese & Bacon. The Cheese^10 because, well, bacon!

Cheese & Bacon. The Cheese^10 because, well, bacon!

Crispy hot wings with classic hot sauce. You know how I kept saying all the above mentioned foods weren't spicy? This is not one of them. It definitely packed a tangy, spicy punch and I could not help nut lap up every last bit of the sauce. The skin was gloriously crispy without being oily. So crunchy that, without meaning to, crumbs fell into my burger and then into my mouth. Mmmm texture. Defs gonna try the version with szechuan pepper next time.

Crispy hot wings with classic hot sauce.

You know how I kept saying all the above mentioned foods weren’t spicy? This is not one of them. It definitely packed a tangy, spicy punch and I could not help but mop up every last bit of the sauce. The skin was gloriously crispy without being oily. So crunchy that, without meaning to, crumbs fell into my burger and then into my mouth. Mmmm texture. Defs gonna try the version with Szechuan pepper next time.

Wash it all down with a cold, creamy strawberry shake. With added malt, or course. I kept browsing the web to see if anyone had compared the normal shake with the thick shake but no luck. Nonetheless, the normal shake was still pretty thick. Someone compared it to the Shake Shack. I think it is slightly thicker, but it could have been the added malt. Very flavoursome and does not taste like fake strawberry but a blend (which is my favourite because I actually like the hot pink flavour).

Wash it all down with a cold, creamy strawberry shake. With added malt, or course. I kept browsing the web to see if anyone had compared the normal shake with the thick shake but no luck. Nonetheless, the normal shake was still pretty thick. Someone compared it to the Shake Shack. I think it is slightly thicker, but it could have been the added malt. Very flavoursome and does not taste like fake strawberry but a blend (which is my favourite because I actually like the hot pink flavour).

Impressively, the in-store menu matches the online menu perfectly (not necessarily true for many places). There was only one extra addition – the Australian Burger – but this may be due to Australia Day being a couple of days before.

I would definitely go back. The serves were just enough that you could enjoy a burger, fries and shake comfortably, and then even contemplate dessert (I wanted dessert, the other were not so keen so I got froyo elsewhere). Perhaps Aqua S for some soft serve with grilled marshmallows and fairy floss?  😀

This meal was independantly sought and paid for by the authors.

Burger Project
World Square (next to Din Tai Fung upstairs)
644 George Street, Sydney

Queenstown – Places To Eat

Kia Ora! When we were planning our trip to Queenstown, NZ we couldn’t find a lot of reviews for food places in Queenstown. The only recommendations were Fergberger, Vudu Café and the elusive Joe’s Garage. There was also a mention of Patagonia Chocolates and Aggy’s Fish & Chip kiosk.

It is unusual for me to travel without planning at least 2 days worth of meals so I felt somewhat apprehensive as we approached Queenstown. Luckily we were smack in the middle of the ‘CBD’ and food was in no short supply.

Impressed by:

Les Alpes
A French restaurant which we visited for breakfast. It was an inviting and cosy place by the wharf, run (I think) by a most friendly and energetic Frenchman. Their menu looked so good and their promise of free jazz that evening so inviting that I almost went back for dinner but unfortunately was distracted by other happenings. The waffles with chestnut puree and whipped cream was absolute heaven. I really need to find a bottle of that stuff! Will definitely be back! p.s. order a ‘trim cap’ if skinny cappuccinos are your thing.

16 Church Street, Queenstown
(03) 442 6060
Open: 8.00am – late, 7 days

Best Onion Rings Ever:

Frank ‘n’ Burger
Tucked away in a little corner, it has 2 entrances and post-it notes for décor. The portions are, like all the burgers here, massive and is pleasant enough though nothing to scream about. Worth mentioning, though, are the onion rings. Large and crisped to golden brown perfection; Burger King’s onion rings look like it was churned out by some roadside wallah compared to these beauties. Never have I had such satisfying onion rings. Interestingly, this place doesn’t feature in the ubiquitous ‘Queenstown Menu Guide’.

1/66 Shotover Street, Queenstown
(02) 442 8211

Kept Checking But Never Actually Ate Here:

Slurp’s Soups
This takeaway joint is a dieter’s nightmare. Not only is everything liquid; but it’s rich, fatty, cholesterol laden liquid. The extensive list of soups take turns being on the daily menu, where about 5 or 6 are featured and get sold out very quickly. The reason I kept checking was because I wasn’t particularly interested in what they were offering on the days I popped in. By the time they were selling what I wanted (Smoked Chicken & Mushroom Minestrone), I was thoroughly tempted by the colourful display of gelatos further within the shop and bought a gelato instead from Lick’s Gelatos. I will definitely try a soup the next time I visit though!

Slurp’s Soups/Lick Dessert Bar & Espresso
40 Shotover Street, Queenstown
(03) 441 8505

Really Wanted to Try But Wasn’t Open:

The Noodle Ninja
I wanted to eat here because I love eating out of noodle boxes. It makes me feel like I’m on the set of ‘Friends’. Also, there’s an inside joke between us regarding ninjas. Also, they claim to have rickshaw deliveries by trained ninjas! We spent a good half hour looking for this place but it turns out its only open at certain times. The other half of the time the venue turns into a guitar pub or something. Very strange…. Would still love to try this place out when I return.

The Noodle Ninja (Under Monty’s)
13-14 Church ST., Queenstown
(03) 442 7685
Open Mon-Fri 11am – 4pm

So Disappointed By:

Mandarin Chinese Restaurant

Being a Sydneysider you get really spoilt for good Chinese food. We decided to try out Mandarin Chinese Restaurant by the water. Perhaps this is the standard, I’m not really sure as we only ate Chinese cuisine at this venue, but I was sorely disappointed. I ordered a medium-sized combination chow mein – I expected it to be crispy and have a good assortment of “combination” – being char siu (roasted sweet pork), some seafood, chicken and an array of vegetables. However, what came out was a plate about the length and width of DL sized envelope (regular envelope for folded A4 paper) and had noodles which were pretty much soggy. Asian greens and carrots were sparse; there were a few pieces of char siu and two prawns. It was very much smaller than what I was expecting for the money (NZ$13+). We also ordered a bowl of rice and a sizzling hot plate, which was no larger and nothing exceptional. It was fairly bland and the bowl of rice was around NZ$3 for a small bowl of two scoops. Overall, I was fairly disappointed. It also made me appreciate the quality back in Australia.

Mandarin Chinese Restaurant
65 Beach Street, Queenstown Central

– ant – & /~Owl~\