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.
1431395536192

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

Summer is for festivals

I read two wordFlying pigs today that made my heart stop.

Bacon. Festival.

Bacon festival!!!

Yes, I know bacon stopped trending and, yes, I know it is no longer the cover child of foodie fascists fashionistas. But it’s just so darn tasty! Bacon is a flavour that pervades even the ficklest heart and has made all manners of breakfast (and other mealtime) foods infinitely better.

From the 9th of February 2015, Cuckoo Callay at Newtown will be upping the bacon ante with amazing dishes like ‘What a Croque of Bacon’ (bacon, basil and vintage cheddar croquettes served with bourbon bacon, pea puree and two poached eggs) and ‘Ya Bacon Me Crazy’ (buttermilk waffles with house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup and chocolate coated bourbon bacon). They even have bacon drinks!

Best of all, the bacon is from Black Forest Smokehouse, which means that Australian farmers get a cut of this sweet deal.

Lard, have mercy on my soul!

menu

Note: Ant does not work for CC and does not get anything for this write-up but how can one resist such an amazing place which even features a little doggie menu? #hearts

Cuckoo Callay

Newtown Train Station, 324a King Street, Newtown, New South Wales 2042
Tel: +61 (02) 9557 7006
Monday – Wednesday: 6:00 am – 4:00 pm
Thursday – Friday: 6:00 am – 9:30 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am – 9:30 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Drink tea for World Water Day

HandwashingHappy World Water Day, everyone!

Worldvision Australia has partnered with Chatime Australia today for World Water Day. 10% of all hot and iced teas purchased on 22 March 2014 will go towards transforming the lives of children, families, and entire communities through the precious gift of water. Now thats refreshing!  🙂 Read more here.

Time To Fight Back

It started with milk, then bread. Predictably the battle then spread to produce, with the fruit war making headlines daily. Owl and I were becoming increasingly uncomfortable and wary of these so-called ‘great savings’ which may be great in the short term, but will no doubt ultimately cause endless grief once all competition has been wiped out and mass market monopoly rears it’s ugly head.

Besides the fear of jacked up prices, there is also the fear of Aussie farmers throwing in the trovels and calling it a day for better pay in other industries. If we set prices of commodities by the amount we earn and spend, how can we expect farmers to survive on losses and minimal wages for the sake of our own greed? We would rather buy an iPad than think twice about whether our grocery savings are driving farmers out of work. We feel good about buying fair trade items from Oxfam but forget about doing the right thing by our own countrymen.

zucchini
from Little Eco Footprints

It is time to fight back. I was going to write a whole article about this but I think this blog does it so well that I’m just going to redirect you to it (I hope you don’t mind, Tricia!). I urge you to please think about the future of produce supply in Australia and to make an educated choice when you make your grocery run. I’m not talking about buying organic, GM-free, free range etc (even though they are good too). I’m talking about Australians supporting Australians and doing justice to generations of farmers choosing to feed you as a profession. I hope you understand that it is no less noble than a doctor saving your life, or a teacher educating your kids, or a social worker caring for the needy.

A website not linked on Tricia’s site is the Aussie Farmers Direct. Don’t forget also that the Pyrmont Grower’s Markets are on this Saturday (4 Feb 2012) from 7-11am and are on every first Saturday of the month. Might see you on Saturday if you go  😉

Night Owls Kids Film Fest

The newly opened Darling Quarter at Darling Harbour is hosting two weeks of free outdoor cinema from 10 – 23 January screening 14 classic and contemporary family favourites. The fun starts at 6pm with films commencing at 6:45pm nightly.

Owl and I watched Tangled (2010) tonight after having $12 steak at Stacks (Mon-Wed). It comes with either salad or chips and is about 300g.

Steak & Salad

The steaks were a little chewy (akin to most cheap steaks) but had a nice smoky flavour to it. I recommend ordering the steaks one level below what you like e.g. medium-rare for a medium steak. Dinner only starts at 6pm but they do offer a tapas menu beforehand. Since we only had about 15 mins to go we just ordered some beautifully crisp Pumpkin Arancini, which came with a tomato salsa and fronds of baby basil. I swooped in before we took pictures. Sorry, my bad  :p

 The showground isn’t a large space but sufficient for the number of people that show up (since kids usually take only half the space one needs hehe). There are also benches and random ledges to sit on near the restaurants if grass isn’t your thing. Sound quality was very good and managed to rise above some of the rowdier bar patrons behind. Picture quality was also good. I would recommend bringing a jumper and a rug. It got pretty cold towards the evening despite the 27°C day!

Park Bench

I had been looking forward to trying the Lemon Meringue gelato and the Salted Caramel Popcorn gelato from Meno Diciotto ever since they opened so this was the perfect opportunity. The Lemon was a beautiful blend of creamy tartness; not quite sorbet but more like chilled lemon curd. Soft and slightly chewy bits of candied lemon surfaced every so often to add a nice texture to the gelato, as did the more rarely found meringue. The Popcorn tasted like Macadamia but left kernelly bits in your mouth after the gelato dissolved which I very much disliked. They also sell little bags of popcorn if you want some for the movies! Service was efficient and genuine. Again, scarfed the gelato before any pictures were taken. Oops  ><

Stacks Tavern More Seating

Steak & Chips

Here is the rest of the schedule from the Precinct website:

Wednesday 18 | Ratatouille (2007)
Thursday 19 | Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Friday 20 | Wizard of Oz (1939)
Saturday 21 | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Sunday 22 | Happy Feet (2006)
Monday 23 | Doctor Do Little (1965)

Snag Stand, Sydney

“A gourmet hot-dog stand? Now that’s worth having a look,” I mused. So it was a fateful day where Owl and I trekked up to Westfield in the city to try Snag Stand’s food. I had spent about an hour the night before agonising between The famous Reuben Sandwich ($13.50) from Reuben & Moore, the Hand-crafted Chilli Crab Burger from Charlie & Co.’s ($18), and Snag Stand’s ‘haute dogs’ (as they put it).

When I finally decided on SS, it took me another hour to decide between the Pork & Fennel (w/ sautéed tri-colour capsicum, balsamic glaze & shaved parmesan on a toasted brioche roll; $9.90), the Toulouse(w/ sautéed onions, rosemary mushrooms and truffle aioli on a toasted brioche roll; $10.90) or the African Boerewors option which isn’t on their menu anymore. I slept on it and emerged fully convinced that the Pork & Fennel was the way to go, and I was not disappointed. Aside from the gloriously smoky capsicum and complementary combo of the balsamic and pork, that particular hot dog was the ‘Special of the Day’ – which meant it was a dollar off at $8.90. Score!

yum!

Owl decided on the Spicy Spanish Chorizo (w/ semi sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle aioli, baby rocket, and shredded Spanish goat’s cheese on a brioche roll; $9.90). I thought that it would be too salty but we were pleasantly surprised to find that everything amalgamated well, leaving a slight tingle of spice and a satisfying savoury aftertaste. The chips were crunchy and, again, not too salty although I did regret not getting a $1 dipping sauce to go with them – the Spiracha Mayo appealed to my love for chilli.

I love the sturdy little cartons the food came in, adding to the whole ‘hot-dog stand’ feel. Fare with flare is how I would describe this unassuming place. Next time I have a hot dog craving, I wouldn’t mind checking out Stitch Bar which has hot dogs, curly fries and ice-cream sandwiches to boot! Heaven…

Snag Stand
Level 5, Westfield Sydney Food Court
Cnr Market and Castlereagh St
NSW Sydney Australia 2000

Mecca Café, Ultimo, Sydney

I started drinking coffee out of necessity during my uni years but have grown to enjoy it and often cannot function without my morning cup now. Will someone please invent an alarm clock which makes you coffee? It’s Groundhog Day and Catch-22 at the same time every morning in my bedroom. Need to get up to get my caffeine but can’t get up without my caffeine. Intravenous drip plskthx.

Anyway, Owl and I were interested in checking out Mecca in Ultimo after having been voted Best Café 2011 by the SMH Café Guide. The promise of very good coffee was lure enough without it being so enticingly close to us.

Being the indecisive creature that I am, I often pick an item from the menu before I visit an eatery but despite much scouring on the internet, I could not find the menu for Mecca. Everyone mentioned the same thing: a good selection of salads, sandwiches, and your usual café array of pastries. Hmm.

We arrived at around 12pm and were surprised at how small the café was, plus it was completely packed! What little standing space they had was crowded with isolated individuals avoiding eye contact whilst waiting for their take-away. After surveying the vicinity and the menu (salads, sandwiches and 2 varieties of rather sad-looking pastries) we ordered our caps, a tuna sandwich to share, and plonked ourselves on the one communal table; shuffling the chairs a little to resemble some sort of meagre privacy.

I don’t have any pictures, although these blogs do. Some would call the décor ‘concrete chic’ but it I found it hard and cold. The surroundings rather befit the service, actually. Plus, the lack of textiles made the small enclosure rather noisy. I prefer the cosy kinds of cafes; the ones with large amounts of character. The coffees were good, to be sure, but the blend ever-so-subtly hinted at a nuttiness akin to old cigarettes which I found slightly off-putting. To each his own, I suppose.

The star of the place was definitely the tuna sandwich which contained ample amounts of leafy veggies, tomatoes, capers, tuna and mashed hard-boiled eggs. It was a tuna nicoise salad imprisoned by thinly sliced, untoasted sourdough and generously drizzled with olive oil. Half of my sandwich landed on the table much to my regret as I really could have done with more, so delicious it was!

Not being the kind of place you would linger and chat, Owl and I scooted off within half an hour of arriving. To be honest, I found the place altogether overrated and cynically mentioned to Owl the wonders of political influences and bribery. I probably would go back, but only for the sandwich, and only as one of the many avoiding eye contact and shuffling their iPods nervously.

Mecca Espresso
(02) 9280 4204
646 Harris Street, Ultimo. NSW. 2007.
Monday – Friday: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Sunday: Closed

Medusa Greek Taverna, Sydney

We went to the Medusa Greek Taverna in Sydney for a friend’s birthday not too long ago and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We found the service was attentive, food was great value and thought it’d be good to share with others.

Upon walking in you feel like you’re in Greece, the walls and general ambience are relaxing and they definitely add that little extra to the experience.

You get good generous portions for each meal and found we had plenty to eat.

For entrees we started out with the Halloumi ($16). A good sized serving which was served quite quickly and fed the three of us easily.

For mains, we had to scour the menu carefully as there were so many things on the menu which sounded promising.

I chose the Exohiko Arni ($32), which was delicious. The lamb was nicely medium rare and the filo pasty balanced the lamb and sauce well. The serving was very generous and while I usually have a good appetite this still managed to give me a run for my money.

The Swordfish skewers (Xifias Souvlaki – $34) were also a substantial serving and very tasty. They were not easily finished and ended up being shared around amongst the three of us.

swordfish and prawn skewers, chargrilled with lemon, chilli parsley sauce

The last dish was ordered by Ant, which was the whole baby calamari filled with pinenuts and rice on a chilli spiced tomato salsa (Kalamarakia Yemista – $29.50), who at first was very impressed with the dish and enjoyed it, but was eventually overwhelmed by the salt, flavour and sheer size of the portion.

whole baby calamari filled with pinenuts and rice on a chilli spiced tomato salsaThe Dessert plate for two was the final thing we ordered, and this consisted of a tasting of the Medusa strawberries, baclava, galactobouriko, chocolate mousse, loukoumades, vissino with ouzo ice cream. The plate is outstanding and more than enough for two people, especially if you’ve just had entree and mains here. You get such a great assortment of sweets that there will definitely be something that suits the taste buds. It’s a shame that Medusa don’t just sell these dessert plates as a standalone, because they are definitely worth a try!

a tasting of the Medusa strawberries, baclava, galactobouriko, chocolate mousse, loukoumades, vissino with ouzo ice creamAll up we all really enjoyed the night out at Medusa, the restaurant fills up quite quickly (we went on a Friday night) and you might want to book ahead. Parking is a bit difficult in the area, but there are plenty of carparks with paid parking on Kent and Sussex Streets or if you’re lucky on street parking may be available.

One of the best things about Medusa is that is has an excellent website, so you don’t need to guess the details of your night out. I love when venues have online booking options and provide you everything you need to know about the location and service. Medusa also have their menus conveniently provided on their site as a PDF. If you’re looking for a nice Greek restaurant, try out Medusa Greek Taverna!

Medusa Greek Taverna
2 Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (Corner of Kent & Market Streets)
Phone: (02) 9267 0799
Email: info@medusagreektaverna.com.au
Website: http://www.medusagreektaverna.com.au/index.html

\~OwL~/

The Terrace Thai, Pyrmont

I get cravings for Thai food and currently my favourite place to eat is Terrace Thai in Pyrmont. Terrace Thai has reasonably consistent customer service and well priced lunch meals. Dishes have good portion sizes and the décor if you dine in is quite pretty.  It’s definitely worth trying if you are in the Pyrmont area, though I would probably recommend going here for lunch over dinner as the prices go up at night, but the portion sizes stay the same – so no real extra bang for your buck. It’s newly opened since mid 2010, and I’ve probably come back here six times for either lunch, dinner or take away. The wait staff are nice and usually quick to serve you, though it does hit peak traffic around 1pm for lunch and will often be a full house and very difficult to find a seat (especially on Fridays).

Chicken Pad Thai
Mix your own Pad Thai flavour

I love the chicken Pad Thai they do – it’s not too sweet or bland and a good portion size (lunch time in-house), which comes with sugar, chilli flakes and peanuts on the side so you can customise the meal to your taste. It is probably one of the better Pad Thai’s I have had and when it’s good it’s sublime, though I have found it can sometimes be inconsistent. Another well done dish is the Thai Beef salad, which is a real treat – very tasty and highly recommended. We have ordered take away for dinner once, and the papaya salad was an interesting choice with soft shell crab and worth a try. The curries have a good flavour, and satay skewers are also reasonably priced and tasty.

Thai Beef Salad
Lunch time portion of Thai Beef Salad

Meals range from $6 – $15 for the lunch menu and between $7 – $30 for the dinner menu.

They have free delivery for take away provided you’re in the general vicinity and order a minimum of $20 (or there is a surcharge). Service is prompt and you get the food in a nice brown paper bag. Noodles come in the cool paper Asian takeaway boxes so you can eat out just like they do in American television shows (this was a big plus for Ant).

They have a comprehensive well designed website with all the menus available on there in PDF, as well as, online ordering and reservations! I love when restaurants have an online presence, it makes it so much easier to scope the place out and make bookings – especially since you don’t have to wait on phones or wait until opening hours to call.

While the restaurant has a beautiful set up, the sound can be quite loud when busy and the background music can be a little loud. If you’re seated along the lounge wall it is probably best to acquire some pillows to prop yourself up as well as there is quite a height discrepancy between you and the table even for those not generally height challenged. On the plus side, it means you’re closer to the food and so less likely to splatter yourself with any tricky or saucy dishes.

In summary

Price – 4/5 (for lunch), 3/5 (dinner)
Ambience – 4/5
Portion sizes – 3/5
Customer service – 3.5/5

The Terrace Thai

G03/55 Miller Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009
Tel: (02) 9518-9588
Fax: (02) 9518-9885

Trading Hours Lunch: Monday-Sunday 11.30am – 3pm
Dinner: Monday-Sunday 5pm – 10pm