Soul Dining in Surry Hills is serving up Korean food with a modern twist like tteokbokki bathed in a luxurious creamy sauce and showered with truffle.
Have you ever been to a restaurant and been so blown away by everything that you’ve immediately made a booking to return before the meal is even over? This is what happened when Angela and I dined at Soul Dining in Surry Hills for my birthday and we immediately msged Isaac to join us a few weeks later so this post is a mashup of the 2 visits.
There’s currently a truffle menu available so get in quick before the season ends! The Truffle Wagyu beef tartare ($10 each) is an absolute delight, the crinkly rice crisp holds nubbins of ruby red Wagyu, paper thin slices of radish and a sprinkle of chives. Three giant truffle shavings perch proudly atop, infusing the air with that heady truffle scent.
The Truffle egg bread ($22) doesn’t look like much but cutting into it reveals a river of gooey egg yolk that melds with the creamy truffle mayo.
[Cries in happiness]
Our favourite of the bunch though was the Truffle cream tteokbokki ($27) with chicken cream broth. I’m used to the tteokbokki rice cakes in a spicy sauce but this combination was awesome, the tteokbokki soaked up the cream sauce perfectly and while it was rich, it was the perfect vehicle for the grated truffle to meld together and unlock that umami door.
We return programming to the non truffle menu starting with their version of yukhoe, a Wagyu tartare ($22) with juicy sweet Singo pear, chilli, watermelon radish and an egg yolk just begging to be stabbed and released into oblivion. Mix it all up and scoopsies onto the seaweed crisp for a textural bombshell of deliciousness.
The Spicy pork jaffle ($15) was an immediate hit, the jaffle is stuffed with shreds of tender, spicy pork and blanketed with a generous amount of Jack cheese and gorgonzola. The pot of yuzu jam blows our minds, it’s sweet but refreshing and I would’ve dearly loved to buy a jar to spoon over ice cream!
I was on the fence on ordering the Curly corn on the cob ($12) but I’m so glad we did! The corn is awesome, somehow simultaneously crispy and juicy at the same time and slathered with garlic butter, pistachio powder and creme fraiche on the side for extra sauce-ing.
The Barbecue beef short rib ($38) with galbi glaze is such a generous serve, and sliced for ease of eating even though it’s so incredibly tender I barely need teeth to enjoy the slow cooked meat. The glaze is sweet but there’s a slight smokiness that I really enjoy and mop up the sauce potato pave, carefully dissecting each potato layer.
The Burnt honey semi-freddo ($15) is a spin on bingsoo with finely shaved ice, sweet persimmon and kinako powder. It’s simultaneously rich but refreshing and the perfect end to our meal.
204 Devonshire St,
Tuesday – Wednesday 5–11pm
Thursday – Saturday: 12–3pm, 5–11pm
Sunday – Monday Closed
For the best burgers in Sydney you’ve gotta try Bush in Redfern! The smashed patties in the cheeseburger is amazing and the crinkle cut fries is life
BUSH HAS OPENED IN REDFERN! You might’ve had their roo pies or cheeseburgers at popups around Sydney at The Meat Emporium or seen Grant Lawn around at Young Henry’s but he’s finally set up permanent digs in the ‘fern! They’re located on the quieter side of Redfern with a courtyard space, handmade communal tables and plush Aussie animals around the space. They’re also BYO (for now) and a short and sweet menu with plans for more items soon.
Of course the Curry roo party pie ($6) has made it onto the menu and you bet it’s pretty damn tasty!
The puff pastry is gloriously golden and flaky, holding a generous amount of curried kangaroo mince mixture. It comes with tomato sauce but there’s also hot sauce available if you ask nice enough 😛
The Cheeseburger ($12) with crinkle cut chips ($6) has made it to the top of the list of my favourite burgers in Sydney! The milk bun is squishy and soft but lightly toasted so that it doesn’t disintegrate halfway through. The smashed pattie is perfectly juicy and blanketed with American cheese, pickles and chopped onion. Also crinkle cut chips is life.
Or if you’re feeling like some health, instead of the fries you could instead opt for the Greens ($8), a salad of grilled cauliflower, potato, smoked almonds and fried capers tossed together in a green tahini dressing.
There’s also a Mushroom burger ($12) for the veggos, a giant grilled portobello mushroom that’s hella juicy and pretty damn satisfying even for this carnivore.
We were expressing doubt at the validity of getting the Grapefruit with grandma’s honey ($7) as dessert and the boys overheard us and sent out a complimentary one and oh boy it’s so good! The grapefruit is refreshing after the burgers and the bitter notes are masked by the most amazing honey I have ever tasted! It’s incredibly fragrant and floral and blasts all the one-note supermarket honeys right out of the water. The honey is sourced from Grant’s grandma and can be bought by the jar to drown everything to your heart’s desire.
If the sight of the Fairy bread and butter pudding ($10) doesn’t make you smile then you are quite possibly dead on the inside. This is a dessert that’s reminiscent of childhood thanks to the generous sprinkle of the hundreds & thousands but also pleases my (slightly more) adult palate with the rich custard soaked buttery bread pudding.
55 George St,
Tues – Sat: 12pm – 10pm
Sun – Mon: Closed
Poly restaurant in Surry Hills is part of the Paramount Hotel with a much more casual wine bar vibe than sister restaurant Ester but equally as delicious
Poly in Surry Hills is part of the Paramount Hotel with a much more casual wine bar vibe than sister restaurant Ester but is equally as delicious. I’ve been a few times- once for the amazing Scarlet prawn dish and the light comte donut but both times I’d forgotten my camera so a birthday dinner with Isaac rectifies this!
We start with the Fried potato, salted egg yolk ($14), which I’d bookmarked on Instagram and thought about since their first inception in early May. The golden cubes are made up of layers of tender potato- it was like eating the most perfect hashbrown! While the salted egg yolk topping was delicious I kinda expected a more intense salted egg yolk flavour? Although I think I have become spoilt by eating many bags of Irvins that maybe my tastebuds have become immune to salted egg yolk flavour that doesn’t punch you in the face.
The Raw beef, fried cheese ($24) is a mound of hand chopped steak tartare hiding under a parmesan wafer.
We were instructed to break up the wafer and mix but I chose to break off bits and scoopsies the tartare and woah it totally tasted like a cheeseburger! The tartare was perfectly seasoned and I loved the sharpness of the cheese.
The only word to describe the Cheese dumplings with cheese rind and grilled onion soup ($24) is: DEEEEELIGHTFUL. This whole plate was perfection, the dumplings tender pasta skin held pockets of liquid cheese and together with a spoonful of the onion soup it just tasted like a warm hug for the soul.
Instead of getting the Steak sandwich we decide to go all out and order the Short rib, burnt honey, sugarloaf cabbage salad ($60). It is a very generous portion of tender, juicy meat with a perfect medium rare centre and deliciously charred edges. We started getting the meat sweats towards the end but it’s so worth it!
Sadly the Comte donut has disappeared from the menu but there’s a Sticky date donut ($15) for dessert that is absolutely lip smackingly delicious! The donut is more a crisp cruller/churros style than a fluffy donut but oh boy that sauce! That beautiful rich, butterscotch sauce! I wanted to bathe in it but instead settled for scraping every last schmear off the plate.
74-76 Commonwealth St,
Monday – Friday: 5pm – 12am
Saturday: 3pm – 12am
Sunday: 3pm – 10pm
Nicholas Hill (ex Sepia) has breathed new life into the Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomooloo with British influenced bistro food and a rotating specials menu featuring a pie of the day
When you mention pub food I immediately think of salt and pepper calamari, Thai food or a stodgy parmie. None of these are available at the Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomooloo now with Nicholas Hill (ex Sepia) at the helm in the kitchen which is a relief in a town with the same ol same ol on the menu. Instead, the menu is British influenced bistro food with a rotating specials menu featuring a pie of the day. Order at the bar and grab a pint before making your way past the kitchen to the mezzanine area which also connects to the theatre- warning, the place gets packed with pre theatre guests and staff will ring a bell when a show is about to start.
We start with the Hot chip butty ($10), which is only available at lunch with optional upgrades of beef dripping gravy ($4) and curried egg ($4) and trust me, get them. It arrives deconstructed style so you can sneak a chip or two while slathering your devils white bread with butter. A less OCD person would dump all the chips onto the bread but well, I wanted to ensure even chip coverage and so carefully jenga stacked the fat golden chips before adding the curried egg layer and then smothering in the rich gravy.
Carb on carb perfection! There’s also bottles of HP, Worcestershire, vinegar and hot sauce available to customise your sammich to your liking.
There’s quite a few snacks on the menu and we cannot pass up the Scotch egg($8) which is picture perfect.
Inside the crispy, golden breadcrumbed shell is a deliciously peppery sausage meat layer around firm egg white and a gloriously golden and gooey yolky center.
We score a complimentary Chicken and lardo terrine ($16) from the kitchen, a tile of chilled, pressed chicken with ribbons of creamy rich lardo on top that I may have carefully peeled off to eat separately. I quite liked the tarragon mustard which provided a nice heat to the terrine.
The Raw beef on dripping toast($14) is basically a steak tartare on toast and it’s one tasty dish! The meat is nicely seasoned and the sprinkle of finely chopped chives providing a pleasant crunch and brightness against the rich umami laden toast.
The Tripe and chicken nuggets ($8) only comes 2 for the portion which made me a bit sad because I reckon the scotch egg would be more value buuuuut they were delicious and I’d totally order them again.
If you’re a fan of the textural elements of tripe you might be disappointed with how they’re reduced to nubbins and vying for center of attention against the chicken but there’s just something about these nuggets that explode with flavour and make you wish there were 20 more.
I’ve never eaten a rissole before so was curious about the Rissole sandwich with fries ($17) and was pleasantly surprised about how soft and tender the rissole was! I would definitely return for this and loved the melty cheddar against the sweetness of the beetroot. A special mention to the fries, they were covered in some crazy addictive salt that we would gladly buy to sprinkle on absolutely everything.
Pie fillings (and sizes) rotate daily so check out their grams for what’s on. On one visit our group shared the Roast chicken and artichoke pie for two ($45) and ohhh boy the pie was spectacular and so fricken massive! I reckon it would’ve been enough for 3-4 people for mains! The chicken fat and yellow wine sauce was velvety smooth and just so delicious that I wanted to bathe in it but settled for drowning the very juicy pieces of chicken dug up from the cavernous pie. And of course the puff pastry was amazing, golden with many flaky layers.
On another visit the pie of the day was Pigs head with grilled onion and cheddar ($22). I loved the juicy meat and tiny cubes of fat that melted on the tongue with the rich gravy.
While smaller in size the pie was no less tasty and in fact I actually preferred this pie as it felt like there was a higher puff pastry to innards ratio.
The Old Fitzroy Hotel
129 Dowling St,
Monday – Friday: 11am – 12am
Saturday: 12pm – 12am
Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
Banh Xeo Bar is bringing Vietnamese food to Rosebery with banh mi, banh xeo and hearty pho but order the crispy pig head for a special occasion!
I’ve been to Banh Xeo Bar in The Cannery in Rosebery a few times now, their bun bo hue is awesome and I love their bone marrow so for my bday lunch with the fam I decided it was time for the ½ Berkshire pig head ($79.50)!
The pig head takes about 30-40mins to roast so we order some dishes to share while we wait. The Lemongrass chicken Banh Xeo ($25) has a 15mins wait warning message but it’s definitely worth the wait. The banh xeo is massive and every bit as tasty as it looked! Super crispy lacy edges and choc a block filled with fragrant chicken pieces and fat beansprouts.
You absolutely have to order the Whole greenback flounder with brown butter fish sauce, lemongrass and chilli ($41.50). It comes with a plate of the lightest, most crisp baguette I’ve ever had and was just oh so perfect for mopping up the incredible sauce, brown butter is seriously the answer to all problems in life. The flounder was perfectly cooked and oh so tender but the fam and I were sad to see that the tail had been trimmed as we love gnawing away at all the crispy bits haha
And now for the main event! The pig head was golden and crisp and the meat in the cheek was just so crazily juicy and fatty. There was enough crackle to go around our table of 5 and we fall into silence as we all sighed with carnivorous happiness.
Meaty cross section! Oh and there’s baguettes lying on the bottom of the pig soaking up meaty juices which was so incredibly rich that I had to admit defeat after a few bites.
The lettuce, pickles and sauces are replenishable thank goodness, the fattiness of the pork will of course get overwhelming so I’d recommend sharing it between 5-6 people.
To stave off the feeling of a heart attack, we wrapped pieces of pork and glorious crackle in lettuce cups and pickled vegetables before drizzling on our selected condiments- chilli sauce, sambal, lemongrass & chilli and fish sauce.
There was also potatoes roasted in beef fat! These were the most incredible roast potatoes I have ever eaten! The outside was so freaking crispy and the inside perfectly soft and fluffy and the flavour just tasted so comforting and savoury.
Banh Xeo Bar (inside the Cannery)
11/61-71 Mentmore Ave,
Tues – Thurs: 12pm – 3.30pm
Fri – Sat: 12 – 3.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Sun: 12 – 3.30pm