By Greedy Financier
If you’re a ramen fan, then I’ve got some great news for you – Ippudo are opening their famous ramen joint at the new Central Park shopping centre development. Due to open on 2 October 2014, this will be Ippudo’s second restaurant in Sydney, in addition to their restaurant at Pitt Street, Westfields.
Ippudo at Central Park
The Two Taste Buds were invited along to Ippudo’s pre-opening day last week where we had the privilege of sampling some of their menu items. Upon arrival at the store, we were greeted the traditional Japanese way and promptly escorted to our seats in a very sleek looking restaurant.
Inside Ippudo at Central Park
To start, we decided to share some salmon sushi. Unlike your typical sushi wrapped in seaweed, this sushi consisted of seared salmon wrapped around rice. The bite sized portions were topped with some diced avocado and the most scrumptious mayonnaise. Each piece was fresh and simply delicious!
Seared Salmon Sushi – Temari Salmon Sushi served with Mentai Mayo Sauce and Avocado
Ippudo is renowned for their ramen and offer several different types of broth. Additionally, they give you the choice of how you would like your noodles cooked – to a soft, medium or hard level of firmness. If you order the “special” ramens, they also come with an additional plate of toppings including a flavoured egg, pork belly, seaweed, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and spring onions.
Additional Toppings included with each Ramen Special
The Net Geek went with the Akamaru Special ramen. This ramen uses Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth but is enhanced with a special blended miso paste and garlic oil. Surprisingly the garlic oil was not overpowering, but rather added a nice subtle touch of flavour to the well balanced and aromatic broth.
Akamaru Special Ramen
I chose the Miso Tonkotsu Special ramen which uses Ippudo’s signature pork broth infused with red miso. The broth was flavoursome and had a certain level of depth which lent to its richness. Of all the ramen toppings, the pork belly and egg deserve a special mention – the pork was extremely tender and the egg (although served cold) was gooey in the middle.
Miso Tonkotsu Special Ramen
Service is very efficient at Ippudo – we were in and out within forty five minutes! However, that doesn’t mean that quality is sacrificed, as the ramen was exceptional. If you’re after a good bowl of ramen, Ippudo will be sure to hit the spot.
Ippudo Central Park
Opening 2 October 2014
Monday to Sunday 11.00am – 9.00pm
Central Park, Lower Ground Floor (RB07)
By Net Geek
Be sure to check out the competition at the bottom of this blog post for your chance to win a free meal for two at Vapiano Sydney!
We have reviewed Vapiano before, as the Two Taste Buds can never keep their mitts off some delicious aldente pasta. Naturally, we jumped on the opportunity when they invited us to sample their new spring menu filled with offerings to bring us out of the cold and into the fresh new season!
Our lovely host Clare bestowing upon us some great Vapiano knowledge!
With winter still clinging on, a hearty soup hit the spot! It was extremely pumpkiny and was served to us as the entree with some toasty ciabatta croutons to top it off. Something to note is how so much of Vapiano’s inventory is made on location! The pasta is rolled in their own custom machine daily and the bread baked on site.
The soup was so good it gets two photos!
Another lovely addition to their offerings is the freshest of basil one can imagine! So fresh that you pick it yourself at your own leisure. Their small potted basil plants sit in front of diners adding both herby goodness and a lovely aesthetic. Everything in Vapiano seems to combine for a fresh and modern vibe.
Sharing stories over the communal Vapiano tables
The kitchen is open and always buzzing with action!
To begin the mains was a pizza fresh from the oven topped with premium Aussie air-dried salted beef, rocket, tomato sauce and in-house mozzarella. Oh so fresh! And we’re told the air-dried beef gets tip top marks health-wise compared to other cured meats. Drizzled with truffle olive oil, this pizza is very well paired to lovely spring days!
Drizzled with truffle oil!
As previously mentioned, a good aldente pasta is what we crave; and that is definitely what we were served. The Vapiano experience of getting to see your dish whipped up before your eyes at the pizza and pasta stations adds a new angle to eating pasta; a reason to come at least once even if you’re not the biggest pasta fan! The Risotto Pollo Levanto was creamy and golden with chunky chicken pieces. I picked many a basil leaf off my personal pot plant and it gave such a welcome fresh edge to the thick and rich sauce. Definitely a spring time winner. Second was the Pasta Gamberi Con Rosso; semi sundried tomatoes, plump prawns and pesto with a light chilli kick for good measure! By this point were getting close to our eating limits; but it was all too delicious to pass on!
Freshness levels off the charts!
For dessert our salted caramel cravings were quenched. White chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel & Honeycomb always goes down a treat; and it was served in a charming little glass. The texture was smooth as butter and they were not afraid to make this salted caramel actually salty, while it was all topped off with some crispy honeycomb chunks. We downed every last bite despite how full we were!
Buttery smooth goodness!
Vapiano Sydney was kind enough to offer a free meal voucher to one of our readers and a guest of their choice. To enter, simply describe to us your favourite Italian dish in the comments below! (Make sure we can contact you too!) The best description will earn the writer a voucher shipped to them in the mail. While you’re at it, also be sure to follow Vapiano Sydney on Facebook, Twitter (@VapianoOz) and Instagram (VapianoAustralia)! (Competition closes 30 September 2014)
Open 11am daily
Closes 11pm Sunday to Thursday and midnight Friday to Saturday
Corner of King and York Street
By Greedy Financier
I have the biggest sweet tooth. It’s no secret that I’d rather eat dessert for dinner any night of the week – and that’s exactly what happened one fateful Thursday evening last month. The Two Taste Buds were fortunate enough to be invited to sample all things sweet at Mooberry Dessert & Breakfast Bar in Neutral Bay.
Inside Mooberry Dessert & Breakfast Bar
We started our dessert dinner with some frozen yoghurt. Mooberry make their own frozen yoghurt in house and have several flavours on offer, as well as all your typical froyo toppings. We opted to try their original frozen yoghurt, along with the chocolate and salted caramel varieties. As a froyo fan, I have to say I was definitely pleased – the froyo was flavourful and a seamless balance of tartness and sweetness.
Frozen Yoghurt – Original, Salted Caramel and Chocolate
For our next course, we were served some exceptionally smooth hot chocolates. Mooberry have several different varieties of hot chocolate on offer to cater for all tastes. We sampled the original Belgian and salted caramel hot chocolates. Neither too thick nor thin, these hot chocolates would certainly hit the spot if you ever had a chocolate craving.
Belgian Hot Chocolate and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
We finished our dessert tasting with a hot Belgian waffle drenched in melted milk chocolate. Freshly cut fruit and coconut frozen yoghurt on the side were the perfect accompaniments to cut through the richness of the chocolate and waffle. Mooberry were actually in the process of trialling their own in house made waffles as we walked in, however, unfortunately they weren’t ready to be taste tested.
Wicked Waffles – Belgian Waffles, Coconut Frozen Yoghurt, Strawberries & Bananas drenched with Belgian Chocolate
Even if you don’t have a super sweet tooth like me, I think you will still find something on the Mooberry menu that will be sure to please. They also offer other breakfast/brunch items including bacon and egg rolls and even a healthy Acai fruit bowl. A peanut butter milkshake on the menu caught my eye as we were leaving – so I know I’ll definitely be back for this, as well as to try their upcoming in house made waffles!
Mooberry Dessert & Breakfast Bar, Neutral Bay
Open daily 8.00am – 11.00pm
Shop 2, 164 Military Road
By Net Geek
The Blackbird Cafe at Darling Harbour always has a buzzing crowd and good vibes. Never has there been a night we walk by and it isn’t bustling with patrons for both dinners and larger gatherings. It also sports a nice view of the harbour which is great for a prime Saturday night fireworks viewing.
The glowing bar area
They were kind enough to invite us to try a few cocktails of their brand spanking new cocktail menu. The new menu was created by their mixologist named Mirko Cacciola who touts worldly experience behind the bar.
The Two Taste Buds are suckers for a sweet and fruity drink, so naturally our selections swayed one way. The Apple Lychee Martini was the first up for me; and the smoothest of sugar rushes was more than welcomed. Could barely taste the alcohol in many of these drinks, making them especially easy to throw back! It was topped off with a plump lychee. The “Sweet Emotion” cocktail had a soft peach schnapps backing the fruity sweetness. Another easy one to throw back.
Fruity Goodness: round 1
Next up were the Mojitos Pear and Pina Coladas. The presentation of these were amazing, with the Mojitos served in a charming jar and bursting with greenery, while the Pina Colada was donned with a creamy head and giant slices of fruit. These were also an absolute pleasure to drink; especially the super sweet and tangy Mojito with a twist of pear juice.
Fruity Goodness: round 2 (With lighting help from the iPhone of the Greedy Financier!)
To finish, The Greedy Financier went for something a bit lighter on the palette; the Japanese Green Tea cocktail. This was a much sharper cocktail in which you can actually taste the alcohol. After all the sweetness the bitter edge of the green tea provided a much needed break.
To top it off! Getting a little tipsy by this point!
Sipping on cocktails while nibbling on wedges in the vibrant Blackbird Cafe was a great way to spend a Friday night. We totally recommend trying out their cocktail menu as a fun way to kick off a big night out, or even just to wind down with mates after work. Thanks again, Blackbird Cafe!
Open everyday till late
Ph: +61 2 9283 7384
Balcony level, Cocklebay Wharf, Harbour Street
By Greedy Financier
I recently moved back to the inner city area and have only just started to explore my locality. I am excited about all these cafés in my neighbourhood, and the great coffee and food that is literally just around the corner. One such café that brews up an awesome coffee and not too shabby food is The Wedge Espresso in Glebe.
Inside The Wedge Espresso
The Wedge is located just off busy Glebe Point Road and is seriously the narrowest café I have ever come across in Sydney. Smart use of space is definitely required with several small tables and stools being put to good use. Fortunately on this sunny Saturday morning, we didn’t have to wait too long to nab a table.
The menu is not extensive (which is good for indecisive people like me) and is predominantly made up of sandwiches and coffee – both of which are done very well. All menu items are also reasonably priced.
Had the weather been warmer (it was a chilly Winter morning), I would have ordered an Iced Milo – one of their signature drinks. However, I was more than pleased with my cappuccino which warmed me up and was exceptionally smooth.
Despite the limited menu, I still “ummed and ahhed” over my selection. In the end, I decided to go with the “Cheeseburgwich” – a cross between a cheeseburger and a sandwich – which did not disappoint.
Toasted crunchy Turkish bread held melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket, cheese, pickles, mustard, onion and plenty of rocket. It was reminiscent of a Big Mac and Cheeseburger, but oh so much better.
My friend went with The Henry sandwich. A hearty sandwich consisting of smashed egg, ham, avocado, cheese, chipotle mayonnaise, basil and rocket – it was super creamy and delightful, and as my friend put it, you will find yourself craving this sandwich again and again.
The Henry dissection
To finish off, we ordered some banana bread for dessert. But this was no ordinary banana bread! A thick cut slice of bread was accompanied with a generous dollop of the most amazing dulce de leche peanut butter. Yes, you read that right – two of the best sweet spreads in this world were combined together with sea salt to form the most scrumptious banana bread “butter” you will ever encounter.
Banana Bread with Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Flakes
You’ve probably gauged from my post that I am a fan, and now will be a regular at The Wedge Espresso. Good coffee, fantastic sandwiches and dulce de leche peanut butter will keep me coming back for more. Not to mention the other menu items sound just as divine. If you haven’t discovered this small gem in Glebe yet, you are certainly missing out.
The Wedge Espresso
Monday to Saturday 8.00am – 4.00pm
Sunday 9.00am – 3.00pm
Ph: +61 2 9969 4088
53/55 Glebe Point Road
(entrance on Cowper Street)