A weekend escape to the Sunshine Coast

It’s customary when you’re suffering through the shivering throes of winter to book a getaway to a sunny destination.  In Australia, that sunny destination for us Southerners has traditionally been somewhere in the state of Queensland.

As it turned out, this was the mildest winter ever in Sydney, but the White Russian and I took the opportunity anyway to spend a weekend on the Sunshine Coast.  We flew into a Maroochydore, hired a car, and drove to Noosa Heads to check out the beach!  Yes, this is winter in Australia…

sunshine coast queensland beach

At Noosa Heads, we walked along the busy shopping strip of Hastings Street, checking out the little boutiques and galleries.  When lunchtime rolled around, we were eager to seek out something other than your run-of-the-mill diner.  We headed to Bistro C, which overlooks the beach, and has a great, buzzy vibe.

bistro c noosa bistro c noosa

We indulged in a few wines over lunch (a weekend away counts as a holiday, right?), and our waiter was very knowledgeable about the wine list, which featured a reasonable selection by the glass from wineries around Australia and New Zealand.

My Asian-inspired coconut chicken salad wasn’t cheap at $25, but it was a tasty mix of tastes and textures from the coconut marinated chicken, shredded tofu, and crunchy cashews, brought together by a salty and sweet nuoc cham dressing.  The WR ordered the whole spatchcock, which was compromised before I am able to get a shot of it!

coconut chicken salad bistro c noosa

I couldn’t go past the dessert special, since I’m a sucker for anything with caramel.  The banana caramel tart was deliciously creamy and rich, served with candied pecans, but I think it needed a little acidity or something to offset the incredible sweetness.

banana caramel tart bistro c noosa

Despite our lack of reservation, our waiter and all the other staff are very accommodating and friendly.  We’ll just know for next time to book beforehand for a better chance of getting a seat with a view of the gorgeous beach!

noosa heads beach

Bistro C Beachside Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Cronuts – the new pastry craze

Sydney is a long way from New York, where Dominique Ansel started the cronut craze. His bakery in Soho has pastry fiends queuing at dawn for a sample of the half-croissant, half-donut creation.

A few high profile outlets here in Australia have brought out their own interpretations, including Adriano Zumbo’s zonut and Movida’s dossant. Although I’ve been curious about the hype, I clearly wasn’t curious enough to make a special effort to try either of these.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I stumbled across cronuts at Pierre’s Patisserie & Cafe in Turramurra.

I first tried their cronut a few weeks back and, in an instant, I was in bliss. Layers of light, flaky, crisp, golden pastry, with a creamy, vanilla custard sandwiched in the middle, dusted with icing sugar – as soon as the White Russian arrived at the cafe, I demanded he get one straight away because, damn, he didn’t know what he was missing!

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Today, on our way up the coast, we made a pit stop at the cafe to satisfy our cronut urges. The memory of our first cronut experience had been relived many times over during the last few weeks and we could not wait to indulge in another.

Perhaps that first experience will forever remain hard to beat, kind of like your first ever kiss, but today’s cronut was not as good. The pastry was still golden and flaky, but there was a heavier, greasier taste this time.

Despite this slight disappointment, it’s still a worthwhile trip to get a taste of this latest craze.

A long lunch at Ormeggio

When I called up to book a table at Ormeggio at The Spit, the host asked me, “is this for a special occasion?”, to which I replied, “oh, just lunch!”

Winter in Sydney is nothing like the winters I experienced in London, and with the latest run of sunny weather, a lunch at Ormeggio overlooking the yachts moored at The Spit was the perfect way to spend a Sunday lunch.  A special occasion indeed!

The White Russian and I decided to treat ourselves to the 8-course emozioni degustation with matching wines ($105, or $189 with matching wines).  We had even made the journey to the restaurant by public transport so that we could indulge without guilt or danger to fellow motorists.  Before we launched into lunch, we were perusing the cocktail list for an aperitivo, and our host recommended a negroni, which is a cocktail comprising of gin, vermouth, and Campari.  The first taste was a hit of bitterness, but it had a nice, dry finish that sufficiently whetted the appetite.

negroni

ormeggio at the spit snacks

ormeggio at the spit sourdough breadLunch was a lovely slow and scenic journey through a range of flavours and cooking styles, with some leaning towards classic Italian and others more a fusion of Modern Australian.  There was octopus cooked sous vide at 85C for 4 hours, a Flinders Island wallaby buttata (or tartare), and tortelli filled with wonderfully smokey burnt eggplant.

ormeggio at the spit octopus

ormeggio at the spit wallaby

ormeggio at the spit tortelli

ormeggio at the spit risotto

ormeggio at the spit mulloway

ormeggio at the spit braised lamb

After admitting that the sourdough bread was our downfall (we just couldn’t stop after that first taste of warm, crusty bread slathered with freshly churned sour butter), we were full to the brim before the dessert courses arrived.  However, it was hard to resist them when they came out, with the carrot sponge with fennel seed ice cream being our preferred choice over the pomegranate jelly served with frozen yoghurt on a dry rye biscuit.ormeggio at the spit carrot sponge

ormeggio at the spit pomegranate yoghurt

ormeggio at the spit carrot spongeFour hours after we arrived, we rolled out of the restaurant toward the bus stop, satisfyingly full, content, and sobered up after the ratio of food to wine finally swung back in favour of the former.  The service was spot on attentive, knowledgeable, and always friendly, and made it a relaxed and enjoyable Sunday lunch.

Ormeggio at the Spit on Urbanspoon

Launch of Noisy Noodler

Yes, I think I have previously professed my passionate adoration for noodles. And what better way to show this love than to create a shrine to my favourite starchy carbohydrate.  Whether I’m slurping ramen or laksa, or tucking into a tasty plate of char kway teow or ho fun, my love of noodles encompasses the spectrum of noodle offerings.

My new food blog, Noisy Noodler, will capture my noodle experiences across Sydney, on a hunt for the best noodle dishes in my home city.

CHECK IT OUT!

char kway teow

Tonkotsu heaven

Noodles are hands down my favourite starchy carbohydrate, and I would be confident in saying that a perfect bowl of ramen is the pinnacle of noodle heaven.

After an enthusiastic review from my good friend, Little Swallow, I was excited to finally try Ippudo.  We arrived at around 3pm, which was thankfully well after the lunchtime rush because I hate queuing.

Ippudo Sydney

We started with the Goma Q Japanese cucumber with sesame sauce and the Momofuku-style Ippudo Pork Bun.  The cucumber was crunchy and refreshing with a clean salty tang, however the pork in the pork bun was a little dry.

However, the main event was the ramen.  Ippudo’s tonkotsu broth is just deliciously rich, and the full pork flavour just has a creamy mouth feel that it pretty much sends your senses into an immediate foodgasm.

Ippudo Sydney tonkotsu ramen

I think that I would definitely agree with Little Swallow’s assessment – best ramen ever!

Ippudō on Urbanspoon