I am freaking in love with Papi Chulo (22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly) and the most amazing wagyu brisket zomgggg
It’s taken me a while to finally get my butt over to Papi Chulo (22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly) mainly because I’m terrified of being sick on the ferry ride over. Yep I get the worst sea sickness even on short rides in calm waters! Luckily Raff the eating machine offered to drive us to lunch with Rara and Suzi so all I had to worry about was what to order as I’d been stalking Chef Patrick Friesen for so long that I wanted to order everything!
The Prawn and Scallop Ceviche ($17) is a must order, the super fresh Crystal Bay prawns and sea scallops are a perfect match with the mango, chilli and coconut dressing. The flavours are light and clean and tastes like summer at the beach.
I’m always a sucker for Grilled Corn ($4.50 each) and Papi Chulo’s comes with an ethereally light cloud of smoked cheese. All manners and etiquette fly out the door whenever I eat corn. Add a squeeze of lime for some zing and it’s like there’s a party in my mouth and all the tastebuds are invited!
The Smoked Hot Wings ($16) are crazy addictive with the comeback sauce, a smokey chipotle sauce which just the right amount of heat. They were awesome but hey you shouldn’t take my words as cold, hard, facts (EVEN IF I AM A BOTTOMLESS PIT OF UNQUESTIONABLE WISDOM!!!)
Bibs are donned in preparation for the main event…
The epic Papi Chulo BBQ platter ($86)! That there is half a rack of pork ribs, 150gm each of wagyu brisket, chopped pork and pork belly and served with pickles. The kitchen also gave us Smoked Lamb Ribs with Papi’s BBQ sauce ($32) which was incredible- the fat had rendered to caramelised lip smackingly tastiness.
Nother shot cos it was so freaking awesome. The absolute fav hands down was the brisket. HOT DAYUM! Meltingly tender and fatty with glorious smokey caramelised edges… I was in raptures! It transported me back to my trip to Texas last year! I would totally risk getting sea sick and travel back to Papi Chulo just for that brisket.
Oh and the platter also comes with super fluffy bread that Nami (aka the cutest kid on Instagram) had already managed to devour one in the time it took us to take photos.
We couldn’t resist ordering the Curly Fries ($9) because well, it’s curly yo! Delicious carbohydrates at its finest!
I’m generally not a salad person but after all the meats on the platter I was glad we’d gotten Dan Hong’s (not a) chopped salad ($16), a refreshing salad of raw and grilled vegetables with juicy pops of corn kernels scattered throughout.
The kitchen also sent out Balmain Bugs ($34) on the house which was greatly appreciated! The bugs were grilled and slathered with konbu (kelp) butter so the flesh was smokey but still unbelievably tender.
Aaaand we also ordered the Papi Chulo burger ($18) because whenever Raff sees burgers on a menu he’s drawn to it and pretty much nothing will stop him from ordering it. I managed a teensy bite but I was just too full to appreciate it so guess I’ll have to come back and try it again 😛
Originally I had wanted to try ALL the desserts on the menu (Tres Leche cake! Banana Split!) but that was impossible after all the foods we’d consumed. We exercised some sort of control and shared the Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie ($14) which was oozing rivers of rich chocolate and went perfectly with the creamy vanilla malt ice-cream, butterscotch sauce and smattering of macadamia brittle crumbs.
The Pig and Pastry (1 Station St, Petersham). Gingerbread milkshake, gingerbread meringue, sweet corn fritters and home made sausage rolls!
I’ve been dying in jealousy over seeing incredible photos of mega ice coffees and ice chocolates on Instagram so I grabbed Raff my eating buddy in crime and we trekked over to The Pig and Pastry, (1 Station St, Petersham).
Gotta love the presentation of hipster jars! My Iced Coffee ($5), is surprisingly strong and gave me a good hit of caffeine to kickstart my day and Raff’s Piccolo ($3.50) is as pretty as a picture and is given the two thumbs up.
We’d made it just in time for breakfast (which finishes at 12pm) and ordered the Sweet Corn Fritters ($17) quick smart. The kernels of corn bursts with the taste and happiness of sunshine. A gooey poached egg is incredibly satisfying to stab and I watched with glee as the rich egg yolk oozed everywhere. And the bacon! The bacon was super crispy and just AMAZING with the the zingy avocado salsa.
As soon as the clock hit 12 we ordered off the lunch menu. The Braised Pork Belly ($17.50) was quiveringly tender with layers of creamy fat alternating with juicy meat and is topped with bacon and deep fried bread crumbs. So much win. Oh and there was a salad made up of radish, bean sprouts, watercress, mint, coriander and chilli with a soy, balsamic, ginger and chilli dressing. But because
you don’t make friends with salad of my soy allergy I gave Raff my share of the greenery.
The pastry on the Pork & Apple Sausage Roll ($6) is light and so delicately flaky that I kinda wished there was more of it to stand up against the robust flavour of the pork filling though the pot of house made tomato sauce was the perfect accompaniment.
Checking out the counter display and I couldn’t stop staring at the pile of meringues.
So I ordered it. Behold, the Gingerbread Meringue ($3.50)! The scent of ginger and spices was so incredibly heady and best of all the meringue was studded with gingerbread pieces! And yes it was sweet but really it’s a meringue, duh. Oh and we also couldn’t resist ordering the Gingerbread Milkshake ($6.50) and Salted Caramel Milkshake ($6.50). Brain explosion max!
I absolutely loved The Pig and Pastry, it’s charmingly comfortable with a laid-back atmosphere and heaps of natural light streaming in. I was super grateful for the noise reduction panels on the ceiling cos I’m starting to have old people issues with places that gets too noisy heh oh and also love how each table had freshly cut flowers and that you could even buy a bunch to take home!
Mary’s (6 Mary St, Newtown), home of amazing cheeseburgers, fried chicken and bloody mary’s
The hipsters speak with hushed, reverent tones when they talk of Mary’s (6 Mary St, Newtown). It begins with the feeling of being in the know as you turn off Princes Highway and walk about 100m down Mary St to an unmarked door with a blue edge and a red light bulb hanging dubiously from above. It’s a pretty dodgy looking door huh?
But make your way in! Don’t be shy! Order at the bar if you’re sitting downstairs or make your way up the stairs for table service and much more comfy seating. I’ve been told that Mary’s at night is ridiculously noisy so I’ve come bright and early for lunch on the weekend where the mood is more mellow and there’s quite a few families around grabbing a bite to eat.
The menu is short, like see that blackboard? That’s all they have. 3 types of burgers, fried chicken and mash & gravy. Short and sweet baby! But sadly no desserts.
But first we drink! There’s a pretty massive list of cocktails, beers and wine on the chalkboard, Noods was tempted to get the Tiny Heiny but turns out it’s just a small can of Heineken haha instead he get’s a My Wife’s Bitter($9) beer and I get… a Bloody Mary ($18)! An uber crispy shard of bacon lies ever so sexily on a slice of American cheese that’s been blowtorched to melt onto the lip of the glass and the drink itself is spicy and just incredibly tasty. It sounds like a monstrosity but eating a bite of everything with a sip of the actual drink it oddly tasted like a super cheesy pizza. It’s a bit on the pricey side but dayum it was delicious.
A basket of Fried Chicken (half bird $16) is first to arrive, piping hot from its swim in the deep fryer. The batter is crisp and luckily not at all oily and the chicken is super tender and juicy.
The Cheeseburger ($14) is wrapped in wax paper and comes with a mountain of golden fries. I of course ordered the cheeseburger with a double patty and cheese for $3 extra aaand then added ‘trashcan bacon’ ($4) which is named after the clean trashcan in which the bacon is smoked. That bacon is so fricken awesome. Like, dude, TASTES LIKE RAINBOWS. Toe curling, eyes rolled back bacon HEAVEN! The cheeseburger bun is squishily soft, airy and slightly sweet, rumours are that the buns are from Breadtop- can anyone confirm? Then there’s the awesome rasher of bacon, the slices of pickles and the patties that have a smoky char and blessed with copious amounts of beef juices. The melty American cheese makes my heart swoon and a good cheeseburger just does a soul good, you know?
The Mash & Gravy ($5) is pretty darn mind blowing with unbelievable fluffy mash and a river of gravy that is perfect to dunk your fries and chicken and well I ended up eating it with a spoon. Hell yeah it was good, comfort food max!
I wouldn’t say Mary’s is my favourite cheeseburger of Sydney (though it’s pretty high up the top of the list!) mainly because I was in such raptures with the bacon that it was all I could focus on and I reckon with a good cheeseburger all components should fuse together to create magic and happiness. But hey I’d totes return! And you should too!
Newly opened Swine & Co (16 O’Connell St, Sydney) serves up an awesome suckling pig, Reuben sandwich and Tuna Crudo.
There’s been rumblings that newly opened Swine & Co (16 O’Connell St, Sydney) serves up an awesome suckling pig and whenever suckling pig is mentioned my ears just automatically perk up for there is nothing more glorious than a slow roasted pig with tender innards and golden crackle. I’ve rolled my 3 visits into this one post so don’t freak out about the amount of foods I consumed!
Swine & Co opened up on the site of the old Bavarian Bier Café and kept the massive bar which pumps out the most incredible cocktails. For takeaway orders of sandwiches and baked goods you can order at the deli counter from 11am-3pm, but Raff and I had a bit of time so we sat on the comfy couches and the worlds friendliest waiter took our order. Seriously the service is here is pretty bang on, knowledgeable, friendly and not at all pretentious.
We couldn’t help but order the Swine Smash ($14), a fruity mojito-like cocktail with CANDIED PANCETTA!!! That pancetta was so damn tasty! I really wanted to order it by itself. Like, 10 strips of it. For a snack y’know?
The Reuben ($14) was a monster. The amount of sauerkraut was like woah, how do I wrap my jaws around this sauerkraut mountain? I would much rather have the same ratio for the 5 day cured Wagyu brisket which was meltingly tender and happily hugging its Swiss cheese soul mate. Oh and there was paper thin slices of pickles in there but you all know how I feel about pickles that aren’t whole.. The innards do make the soft rye bread soggy so eat quickly!
We had to get the Pork Belly Roll ($12) because well, pork belly! The slices of tender pork belly with golden crackle edges are stuffed into a soft brioche roll with slaw and refreshing slices of Granny Smith apple.
For dessert we shared the Nutella Cronut ($3.50) and it was a perfectly delicious donut just not so much a cronut… Apparently they do use the same dough as their croissants but it just didn’t have the many layers that a cronut is supposed to have. But it was tasty and the Nutella filling was a winner with my sweet tooth.
For dinner head down the stairs to the black tiled dining room with charcoal seats, marble tabletops and this:
A rotating piggy on the spit! He was just so captivating we couldn’t help but stare at him all night!
I’m nicking this photo from my mums IG @alwayseating because I somehow forgot to take a photo of the bread on my camera but woo! I love places that give free bread and such a generous portion! There was white, rye, flatbread and breadsticks in case you couldn’t decide what you wanted. Which is kinda bad for me because I’m super indecisive and ended up eating 1 of everything… Oh and there were complimentary appetisers! Which uh, I’m ashamed to admit that I have nfi what it was because I may have shoved the whole thing in my mouth. I vaguely remember there was smokey tomato and acidic vinegar pearls on a thin crisp and that it was tasty. Yep.
We start with the Tuna Crudo ($17), gorgeously presented on a slab of pink salt. The cubes of tuna are fresh and the saltiness of the white anchovies, fried capers and white balsamic dressing is cut through with the refreshingly juicy watermelon cubes.
Noods had to get the Steak Tartare ($19), it’s his weakness and the one item on a menu that will guarantee him going to a restaurant. The meat was hand cut, topped with a gooey softly poached quail egg and had the perfect balance of seasoning with just the faintest scent of truffle oil.
Noods was also curious about the Spiced Fried Lamb’s Brains ($15) which were golden nuggets flecked with cumin (and I believe fennel and cardamom but don’t hold me to that) and with innards that were creamy and thankfully didn’t have a squishy or bouncy texture. The pickled carrots provided a welcome crunch and ended up being addictive that we scissor, paper, rock’d for the last bite.
Our waiter recommended the Crisp Pig’s Tail ($19), saying it was just like crackle and well, crackle is the magical word! The tail had been deboned, flattened and fried to a crisp and omg it was awesome! Yes, just like crackle! There was a pinenut purée hiding underneath with shiitake and oyster mushrooms that had been pickled and smoked, a couple of red grapes for some sweetness, a swirl of red wine and mustard vinaigrette with dandelion and red oak leaf.
While I loved the richness of the Chicken Liver Pâté ($16) I found the layer of port jelly a tad overpowering so I just ate around it and slathered the pate inch thick on the super cute buttery brioche. And teehee I heart cornichons!
But now the moment you/we/I have been waiting for: the Suckling Pig ($40)! The milk fed suckling pig is sourced from Macleay Valley and it is freaking incredible! There was a whole sheet of glorious crackle and oh my stars! The meat! Ridiculously tender and unctuous! But that crackle? It’s where the party is at yo! Absolutely mind blowing! The serving size for the suckling pig was pretty generous so I’d recommend ordering an entree, getting some sides and sharing this.
When I went for dinner with my parents we had ordered the suckling pig and hesitated for a split second on what to get for another main. Of course how could we resist the Pork Belly ($34)? That’s right why resist? Resistance is futile! The pork belly had the perfect striated fat to juicy meat ratio and I loved swiping the pumpkin puree and wished for a bucket more. There was also a pile of sautéed Tuscan cabbage and a cute nugget of Suckling Pig Croquette that’s available on the bar menu after 3pm.
I’m a sucker for Brussel Sprouts ($12), I’m not entirely sure why. I was never forced to eat them (or spinach for that matter) when I was growing up which is probably why I like them? And especially if it comes with speck heh
The Potato Puree ($10) is also pretty damn good, ethereally light and smooth.
For dessert there’s an incredibly silky creme brulee with toffee shards, a decadant chocolate mousse with home made earl grey marshmallows and honeycomb and a lime cheesecake but it is the Donuts ($14) that I have my heart set on. Three fat, sugar dusted donuts are filled with a creamy custard filling and plump raisins are scattered throughout. The scoop of apple sorbet oddly reminds me of the Hi Chew apple candy which I love but probably could have done without but the apple crisp is awesome and I would love a bag of them to munch on while watching teevee.
It looks like Swine & Co is a hit with all the suits in the area so make a booking (hooray a restaurant that takes bookings!) or try your luck and come super early. And get the suckling pig. You won’t regret it.
Marukame Udon: 332 Victoria Ave, Chatswood. Watch udon being freshly made on the premises!
While I am very much a die hard lover of ramen, I do occasionally crave the bouncy texture of udon. When Penguin Says Feed Me blawged about Marukame Udon (332 Victoria Ave, Chatswood) opening at the beginning of the year I was super keen to get my udon fix and convinced Spoon Fork and Chopsticks to bring her mini human along for an overdue catchup.
So it’s pretty much the same self-serve cafeteria style as Mappen so line up and check out the menu while you wait. The udon comes in medium and large and there’s also Rice Bowls available if you don’t feel like udon. But you’re at an udon place soooo get udon.
They make the dough from scratch and it’s just so fascinating watching the dough being fed through the machine in one end and perfect strands out the other.
The noodles go for a swim in a hot spa and then dunked into cold water before being weighed and portioned.
Order at the beginning of the queue, grab a tray and shuffle along.
Your order will be handed to you and then it’s off to deep fried heaven!
Each item is fried in batches so that nothing gets cold or soggy. There was everything under the deep fried rainbow from golden prawns, squid, chicken, tofu, pork cutlets and even sausages.
Over on the cold side there was inari sushi (sushi rice in a sweet tofu pocket) and kimchi.
Do yourself a favour and get an iced green tea ($1.50) from the dispenser! It is the bomb yo, one side is unsweetened but the sweetened side? So refreshing and SO MUCH DELICIOUSNESS!
Pay at the end of the counter and then make your way to the toppings station and load up on scallions, tempura flakes, sesame seeds and dipping sauces.
I admit I may have ordered the Kamaage Udon (med: $4.90) mainly because the bowl reminded me of an old school bathtub… haha cmon! It’s not just me surely… The table next to us had the large size and we totally thought Rita’s mini human could fit in it! ANYWAYS. You’re meant to dip the udon in the side of warm dashi soup with ginger and shallots and it was just deeeelicious. I felt so virtuous and healthy eating it!
I also ordered the Bukkake Udon with slow cooked egg and beef (med: $7.90) because well, tender beef nubbins and gooey, oozy egg ftw! The udon had the perfect springy, bouncy texture perfect for slurping and my sides of white fish tempura ($2.40) and tofu tempura ($2.40) have the perfect crunch.
Oh and the basket of pork cutlets ($2.90) were da bomb too.
While the lines can be a bit daunting, usually everyone eats pretty fast so there wasn’t too much of a wait. There’s heaps of seating spanning over two floors and don’t forget to return your trays!