Paper Plane Cafe, Parramatta

29 June 2014, 16:15

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I admit, I have been sitting on this post for a couple of weeks now. Partly because I didn’t want my secret cafe to be so inundated that I wouldn’t get a seat but also because I wanted to try so many things off their menu which meant multiple visits to Paper Plane Cafe (5/2 Horwood Pl, Parramatta). Open since Feb, the cafe is located opposite the Roxy in the old Ma’Leisia Cafe cafe and isn’t affiliated with the Bondi Paper Planes.

The serve of French Toast ($8), is pretty generous, the 3 slices are fluffy and light and topped with a tangy rhubarb compote, a dollop of creamy french vanilla custard, crushed pistachios and lightly sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar. I may have ordered a side of bacon ($2) because it’s bacon week :P

The Jalapeño Popper Burger ($12) is amazing. The beef patty is flavourful and has the perfect charred edges to super juicy innards ratio. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the schmear of cream cheese but somehow it went well with the spicy jalapeños stuffed inside with the tomato and lettuce on Brasserie Bread’s brioche bun. The side of ‘bad boys’ turns out to be mega fat, golden potato chips that are ridiculously tasty.

The BIG Brekkie ($16.95) is massive and could probably feed 2 people. Or one hungry Noods. There were fat rashers of bacon and sunny side up eggs on sourdough toast x 2, a whole mountain of sautéed mushrooms, spicy chorizo, grilled tomatoes, hash brown and a pile of rocket in case you needed some greens.

I was having a mad craving for scrambled eggs that day so ordered the Truffled Eggs ($11). The pile of fluffy scrambled eggs were perfect and creamy with just a dash of truffle oil. I loved the juicy mushrooms but had to nick some of Noods’ bacon because well, I don’t feel right eating eggs without any bacon for brekkie… They go hand in hand ya know?

The Paper Plane Burger ($12.90) was a must order the second we spotted it on the menu because it had bacon AND peanut butter! It was a pretty damn tasty burger, I would say it’s very close to my fave burger ever! Our burger came with cheese although the menu didn’t say it had any but I was grateful because I’m of the ‘every burger should have cheese’ faction. It was super juicy, bordering on that uhoh gonna explode ledge but the brioche buns held up their end of the deal and we finished it without burger juices going everywhere.

The Reuben ($14.50) was sadly not my fave of the bunch. The silverside beef was unfortunately not tender and biting into the sandwich resulted in the whole piece escaping from its breadlike hug as I tried to gnaw off a piece. It was a shame because I loved everything else about that sandwich from the crusty rye bread and sliced pickles, to the swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. Ah wells.

Drinks come in the standard hipster glasses and swirly paper straws. I must be the only one in the world that hates those paper straws because I take forever in drinking and my straw starts melting… But ANYWAYS the freshly squeezed Orange Juice ($5) ticks all my vitamin needs and while the milkshakes take a while to arrive the double espresso and strawberry ($6) are pretty delicious.

The staff are still in their early learning stages so timing can be a bit wonky so don’t go there if you’re in a rush but I’m glad there’s a new addition to the hood that is serving tops food and open for weekends too (kitchen closes 2pm)!

Paper Plane Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

23 June 2014, 00:33

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Rising Sun Workshop (36 Lennox Street, Newtown) is a communal garage for motorcycle enthusiasts but has recently became known for the ramen bar that is pumping out pretty awesome eats. It’s just around the corner from Mary’s with street parking nearby or if you’re not so lucky, there’s a Wilson car park right next door that looks super dodgy but is $3/hr.

I first read about the ramen over here and here but it wasn’t until I saw on Instagram that if you mention the Rising Sun Workshop’s secret sentence that weekend: “someone throw me a bone here!” that you get an additional topping of roast bone marrow so I made the trek over quick smart! And this, people, is an example of how awesome social media is! Just don’t get me started on people who use ridiculous hashtags. Tch.

We mosey over to an empty table and the ever so cheeky Daniel Cesarano, (ex Single Origin Roasters) comes over to take our drinks order and explain the ramen offerings. I choose Green Tea ($4) and the Green Justice Juice ($4.50) with cucumber, apple, kale, ginger (and I think spinach?) for the boy. I’m not sure why Noods keeps ordering green juices but hey whatever floats his boat. The juice is from Joostice in Newtown, a not for profit juice shop supporting public interest journalism which is pretty tops.

Our first ramen is The Darkness ($20) with a broth made from pork tonkotsu, soy and smoked ham hocks. It is rich but thankfully we’re not left with a heavy oh-god-kill-me feeling. I did feel there was a tad too much soy in the broth but that’s because I have a soy allergy so I’m super hyper sensitive and aware of anything with soy in it. The gooey egg has me in raptures but I’m head over heels in love with the springy noodles with the perfect bite to them.

The Light ($20)- chicken, bonito and 3x salt broth is super comforting. I preferred this over The Darkness because I’m still getting over a cold thanks to my weak immune system and the flavours of the broth felt clean somehow, like it was nourishing my soul with tasty nutrients.

Close up of the roast bone marrow with crispy togarashii panko (chilli pepper and breadcrumbs)! At first I dug out globules of the marrow with the teaspoon, relishing the quivering richness in all its glory but then I mixed the rest in with the ramen which totally amped up all the flavours, bringing up a hit of salt that was missing previously.

Both bowls also had thick slabs of melt in the mouth pork belly, satisfying fat mushrooms, crisp sheets of seaweed and shallots that Chef Nick Smith (ex Single Origin Roasters) placed ever so carefully with each order. It was so calming watching him work!

But ah dessert! How can one resist? The baked goods are made in house and I may have ordered the dessert before the ramen arrived because I was worried they would’ve disappeared by the time we’d finished eating our ramen :P

Whenever I see donuts I have to get them. Donuts are my weakness bro! Especially Lemon Curd Donuts ($5)! The ridiculously fluffy donut has a very generous amount of sweet lemon curd stuffed inside and each bite took my breath away. Seriously guys, you gotta save room for this donut or take some home with you! I say some because one donut is never enough!

And I managed to score the last fat slice of the Dark Chocolate Cake with Salted Buttercream ($6.50) which was all kinds of amazing. The cake itself was super moist (oh man my fave adjective) with such a tender crumb that I would probably have been fine without the icing but hey it’s me and we all know I have the worlds sweetest tooth (or should that be teeth..) so woot look at all dem layers of fluffy icing! Prepare yourself for a mad sugar coma!

Seating. I loved the chillaxed vibe at Rising Sun Workshop but the fun police aka Marrickville Council didn’t extend the lease for their hybrid workshop/cafe so you’ve got until September to try out their ramen and baked goods! Let’s hope the Rising Sun Workshop finds new digs soon so we can get our ramen fix 24/7!

Rising Sun Workshop on Urbanspoon

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Japan, Part 4

15 June 2014, 18:21

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Aaaaand this marks the last post from my Japan trip! Writing these posts have left me constantly refreshing airline websites in the hopes for an insanely cheap ticket so I can relive the experience all over again! Seriously guys, it was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had and I barely scratched the surface of what Japan has to offer.

For lunch we were determined to eat a whole lotta meat at a yakiniku restaurant, a japanese DIY style of cooking of meats on a grill. I’m not too sure which restaurant this was because I am fail and forgot to take a pic of the exterior but we were lured in by the signs spruiking Yomogata and Kobe beef.

There wasn’t an english menu so we basically just pointed at pics haha gaijin ordering fail! We were given some dipping sauces and a pot of broad beans mixed with salsa which was totally addictive.

Look at that marbling! Yeah baby yeah!

That sweet, glorious scent of fatty meat searing away ermahgerddd!!

We were in Shibuya for random shopping and buying last minute candy gifts and spotted signs for Cat Cafe Hapineko (Cratos Building (3rd floor), 2-28-3 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo). I wanted to go to a maid cafe instead but Noods wanted to see exactly what a cat cafe was and since we were right there we climbed the stairs and made our way to the reception area. 30 mins in the cafe was 500yen/$5.25 not including tax and you have to order a drink off the menu for another 500 yen/$5.25.

AND THEN COME THE RULES. First shoes had to be taken off (which is pretty much a given anywhere in Japan), jeans had to be rolled up above the ankles, we could only bring our phones and cameras into the room so bags had to be left in lockers, we had to read and agree to the rules on which cats could or couldn’t be touched let alone picked up AND THEN head on over to the cleaning station where you have to follow very specific instructions to wash your hands in the order of disinfectant, water, soap and hand sanitiser and drying with paper towels.

I can totally understand all the rules though cos the cafe does get pretty busy with a lot of curious tourists and the cats do look pretty well taken care of. There were about 10 cats wandering around that day but half were sleeping and the rest were either super shy or just cbf playing with humans. If you guys visit, pay the 150yen/$1.60 for the cat food and the cats will show a bit more interest in you.

You get a designated area on where to sit and where your drinks arrive but really you can still walk around after the cats. The place was super warm and cosy and felt like someone’s living room! So many cat knick knacks and heaps of photos, books and toys all over the place. The size of our drinks (green tea and Calpis) were quite large and came with some biscuits.

Here kitty kitty kitty

When our time was up we reluctantly left the warmth of the cafe and wandered over to the Hachikō statue where I made a fool of myself.

As it was our last day Noods was super determined to eat udon and spent the night before googling where to go while I apparently sleep-talked in my sickness induced coma. We took the train to Tokyo station (15mins on the JR Chuo Line) and I very grumpily lagged behind as Noods attempted to find Tsurutontan (2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Tokyo Building (TOKIA) B1F), a famous restaurant specialising in udon. We were walking outside in the rain for a good 15mins before we realised the restaurant was underground bah! Luckily by the time we found the restaurant the queue wasn’t too long and we were seated pretty quickly.

WOOT GIANT BOWLS OF UDON!!! The bowls were big enough to bathe a small child! I felt so sorry for the waitresses cos the bowls are damn heavy.

After doing his homework Noods told me to order the Creamy Zanmai Oudon (1800yen/$18.80), Tsurutontan’s specialty creamy udon with prawns, tender chicken pieces, super fat scallops and cod roe. Luckily (or not so luckily) the bowls aren’t filled to the top, the portioning is pretty spot and I only just managed to finish it all. It was pretty damn tasty and my insides felt warm with happiness.

Noods ordered the Shabuniku no Oudon (1500yen/$15.65), a sweetened soy sauce flavoured soup with meltingly tender Japanese beef loin and topped with a gooey egg. The noodles had the perfect bite to them and the soup hit the umami note spot on. It wasn’t the prettiest presentation but it was comfort food to the max! Good work Noods!

Since we were in the area we headed to Super Potato (5F, 4F, 3F, Kitabayasi Bldg., 1-11-2, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo), an incredible 3 level retro gaming store.

Unfortunately the store was about to close so I didn’t have time to snap more pics but each level was filled with all the games of my childhood that you could purchase and even old gaming consoles like Atari! Plenty of plush toys and keychains galore and on the 3rd level there was a whole row of old skool arcade games that Noods was dying to play.

I managed to fit in a couple of MOS cheeseburgers that day because they are freaking awesome with melty cheese, a juicy patty and super squishy soft bun! So obsessed with how glorious these burgers were! And golden onion rings are so much win!

Also tried the cheeseburgers at Lotteria but wasn’t as blown away as I was with the MOS burgers. It was still a tasty burger but I felt it was tad greasy.

Oh random lego pic and lol I dyed my hair black in the hotel room in preparation for my brother’s wedding the next day. Felt like a criminal doing an identity change!

The End! Oh Japan, how I miss you. Words cannot express how much I felt so at home! The food, the people, everything! I will be back, oh yes…

Click here for Japan Part 1
Click here for Japan Part 2
Click here for Japan Part 3

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