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

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.

World Water Day 2014

World Water Day 2014 logo

The United Nations World Water Day is celebrated annually on the 22nd of March  – thats only 5 days away! Every year brings a different theme to raise awareness of issues relating to our most precious resource and this year’s theme is “Water and Energy”.

Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.

In 2014, the UN System – working closely with its Member States and other relevant stakeholders – is collectively bringing its attention to the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequities, especially for the ‘bottom billion’ who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services. It also aims to facilitate the development of policies and crosscutting frameworks that bridge ministries and sectors, leading the way to energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy. Particular attention will be paid to identifying best practices that can make a water- and energy-efficient ‘Green Industry’ a reality.

UN Water, 2014

Energy + Water

I tried to see if there were any events happening in Sydney but the search has thus far proved to be elusive as the main event is occurring in Tokyo, Japan. Nonetheless, you can host your own event with the UN providing lots of free resources including posters, fact sheets, and even T-shirt templates.

Fact on Biodiesel

You can find out more at the UN and the UN Water website. In the meantime, savewater is promising the chance to win a plethora of stuff, including an Apple iPad, for survey fill-ins (they are pretty short).

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)

Sushi Choo Buffet

Sushi Choo Ad

Sushi Choo’s famous $20 All-You-Can-Eat sushi train buffet has once again graced our city to my excitement as I have been having a sushi craving and was really quite sad when I found out about last year’s event much too late.

Owl and I were determined to reach our goal of 15 plates each, effectively reducing the cost to only $1.50 a plate. What a bargain! We met up with another friend after work and relaxed in the comfortable lounge area just outside of Sushi Choo. We were there half an hour before opening time due to our excitement which allowed us to observe the setting up of the restaurant as it is a very open plan area.

The decor was very aesthetic, lighting at a comfortable level of brightness and the jazz music soft. Owl was unimpressed by one of the chefs coughing into his hand and then handling the raw tuna so she stayed away from it.

We were rather impressed by the selection provided as past reviews indicated a much lesser variety – I think they have changed the menu slightly this year. There was the usual gyoza, raw salmon/tuna nigiri, ebi nigiri, seaweed salad, edamame, pickles and a bunch of rice rolls. The rice roll selection was vast including crumbed chicken, cooked tuna, spicy and non-spicy raw salmon/avocado, sweet potato, teriyaki chicken and even soft shelled crab with lettuce! I’m sure there were many others but my eyes were fixated on the nigiri and seaweed salad. They also had a tangy cold noodle dish and have replaced the potato croquettes with a beautifully deep fried panko crumbed prawn dish. They were so crispy that you could even crunch through the tail. This is quite possibly the most impressive dish I had during the course of the dinner and polished through 2 of them.

As usual the service was impeccable and made for a very good night out indeed. We were fully satiated by the hour and happily stumbled off whilst fighting off severe food coma. Its too bad there weren’t any dessert dishes because i might possible have afforded a mango pudding  😉

I have read a lot of reviews about this $20 deal with many a divided party but personally, I have to firmly say that it is worth your $20 even if most of what you consume is rice and the fish is somewhat sinewy. The ability to eat as many varieties of dishes as you like and no time limit with impeccable service makes it worth the $20 and I would say definitely try it at least once.

Oh, and our tally? Friend walked away with 12 plates, Owl with 15.5 and me with 16.5 (4 plates of seaweed so its cheating a little teehee!). Money well spent!

Sushi Choo

320 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 3000

Cafe Ope-blah

Owl and I were very intrigued when we heard that Cafe Opera’s buffet had unlimited Peking Duck. That plus all the yummy seafood and the paella was a temptation to not be resisted for long. We heard that the seafood buffet only runs on the weekends so we were very careful to book 4 months in advanced for a Saturday (19th February 2011 to be exact).

The sandstone building is beautiful with an air well in the middle and warm lights guiding you. We weren’t quite sure where to go so I went to the Information booth but the man completely ignored me. He was on the phone and didn’t even make eye contact to indicate that he is going to attend to me next. That was a little off-putting so I traipsed to the concierge around the corner and enquired of him instead. He was very helpful and courteous which made up for the former rudeness.

Service at Cafe Opera was excellent. We had a very friendly and attentive waitress who knew when to drop by and when to leave us to our messy seafood munching. Unfortunately, the food was rather disappointing. Choice was very limited particularly the hot food selection with only steamed veggies, 1 curry, rice, a fish dish, a chicken dish, roast potatoes and roast lamb/pork. Oddly, their choice for soup was Laksa soup without the noodles or usual condiments. Not exactly an appetising option even if it was their only one.

No matter, we were here for the Peking duck, lobster and paella!

Okay the Peking duck was there in overflowing abundance but the paella was replaced with seafood pasta (not even a marinara! some random tomato based hodge podge with maccheroni rigati tubes). And alas! There was no champagne lobster to be had! No indication of it anywhere and our friendly waitress didn’t inform us that we might have to order it. I looked around several times that night and nobody was eating lobster either. 😦

The sashimi was fresh although the hunks took awhile to chew through so it was a wee warm by the time you swallowed it. Sadly, even the Peking duck was disappointing. The pancakes and duck were cold since they come out from the kitchen and sit on a table. They also forewent the traditional crispy skin and instead put bits of meat so really, it was more like duck spring rolls. Like uber thick duck popiah. Pleasant enough, but it wasn’t Peking duck.

The dessert selection was excellent, however. There were so many varieties of cakes, mousses, fruits and even a tasty toffee ice cream which went super well with the pecan pie. I expected there to be something special like a chocolate fountain because it was the Valentines weekend but unfortunately it wasn’t there. The most surprising dish of the night was the cream coloured cake with light green gelatine on the top. I thought it would taste like melon but it turned out to be mint! Very refreshing in more ways than one.

Overall, we were pretty disappointed with the quality and selection considering we paid AUD$95 each. Definitely will not be going back. It’s unfortunate that I only managed to find 2 blogs about it and the second one disappeared when I looked for it again. The first one was sponsored by Intercontinental so it must have been a little biased. Or a lot biased.

I hope this entry serves as a review point for people wanting to know if it is a good place to attend. I would say save your money and go to the Corn Exchange or Sheraton on the Park.

As it stands, I still have not really found my perfect buffet yet. The search continues! 😉 Where are your favourite buffet hits?

Inter Continental Hotel
117 Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9253 9000