Yayoi, The Galeries


Yayoi is not just another Japanese restaurant. Yayoi is a restaurant specialising in Teishoku - a Japanese set meal that consists of a number of smaller dishes, often served on a tray with steamed rice and miso soup.

I love Choux!


There is something quite extraordinary about pastry. I find it truly amazing that a simple mixture of butter, flour and water can magically transform in the oven into a light, airy puff, or develop a multitude of flaky layers. There are so many desserts that would be amiss without pastry. What would the world be without the 'pie' in apple pie, the buttery crust of a lemon meringue tart, or the light softness of a chocolate éclair?

A Tuscan Feast at Andiamo Trattoria del Popolo, Chippendale


If you asked me as a child what my favourite cuisine was, my answer would have been Italian. I still adore pizza and pasta. I remember when dining out used to be all about enjoying simple, honest food. This was particularly so when we frequented our local Italian restaurants, which dished up home-cooked favourites free from the garnishings, ellusive dish names and ambiguous menus that seem to be so popular today.

Summer Vibes at The Newport




What's an Aussie summer without a day spent by the beach? Located in the northern suburbs, a little further away from Sydney's more well-trodden beaches, The Newport is a lively place to spend a long summer afternoon. 

Ms. G's, Potts Point



The outer facade of Ms. G's, lit by glowing red neon lights, exudes a sense of playfulness and mystery. It's enough to make you instantly want to enter and join in on the fun.

Old Town on Barangaroo


With the opening of the new tunnel connecting Wynyard to Barangaroo, it's now a whole lot easier to access Sydney's newest harbourside precinct. The dining and retail portion of the area is marketed as 'The Streets of Barangaroo', and walking through the clean, modern streets gives rise to the exciting feeling of exploring a newly developed community.

Rell's Kitchen, Randwick


With the Superfood craze that is becoming ever popular in today's dining scene, I have to admit that I had never tried Acai before visiting this cute little Randwick cafe. 

Japchae


I adore noodles. Whether it be rice noodles, egg noodles, soba, vermicelli or udon, in a soup, salad or stir fry, give me a bowl of them and I will be a happy girl. But, despite my deep love for noodles, the bizarre reality is that we don't eat them at home anywhere near as often as I'd like to. All that is about to change; I have finally found the perfect noodle recipe that is quick, easy and relatively fail-safe. 

Pancakes Galore at Hale & Hearty, Waterloo


If you were to recognise Hale & Hearty by just one dish, it would be their pancakes. This Waterloo café is infatuating diners everywhere with its thick, majestic pancake towers, which are as Insta-worthy and aesthetic as they are good for you.

Hot Pot at iPot, Darling Harbour


The first thing that you will notice at iPot is the sauce station. Filled with more than 24 different sauces, this is the ultimate DIY experience that is sure to both excite and overwhelm you. 

Bang Tang, Potts Point


Sometimes even the most unnoticeable places can gift you with surprises. Bang Tang is a case in point. It's a little hole in the wall café that delivers Asian fusion food with a bang.

The Henson, Marrickville


I remember going to pubs as a child and ordering classic pub grub. Steak and chips, chicken schnitzel and lasagne were some of my all time favourites. The Henson is not one of those traditional pubs. 

Lunching at Caffe Dante, Sydney CBD


Hands up if you have been out and about shopping, and suddenly realise you're starving and it's way past lunchtime? You find yourself getting hangry while wandering around to find somewhere to stop, then resort to an underwhelming eatery that was most convenient because, really, you just needed to satisfy your stomach. It's a situation I can say I have faced a few times, partly due to a lack of planning. But, fear no more, I may have found the perfect place to stop for a mid-shop break in the city. 

Washoku Lovers | Menya Mappen, Oiden + Dera-uma


Mappen, Dera-uma and Oiden are three sister eateries well known among those with a hankering for cheap Japanese food. They're prime examples of the fact that one can eat well on the cheap, without compromising quality or size. If you are of the belief that it's hard to find a delicious, satisfying hot meal for under $10 in the Sydney CBD, then you might want to think again. 

84 Union Street, Pyrmont

Bar

Located just a stone's throw away from the bustle of Darling Harbour, 84 Union Street occupies the space where the old Hog's Breath Café used to be, before it was transformed late last year. The space is busy on a Friday night, full of people easing their way into the weekend.

Junk Lounge, The Rocks

Bar

Lounge. The very word conjures images of relaxation, bliss and comfort. A place where you can sit back, drink in hand, and let time pass by. Named after the Chinese sailing ships, called 'Junks', Junk Lounge is inspired by the concept of a voyage and draws upon influences from all over Asia.

Feasting on Bistecca alla Fiorentina | Trattoria Mario, Florence


If there was one thing I was dying to do on our trip to Italy, it was to dine at a noisy, authentic, family-style Trattoria. There are a few different types of eateries in Italy: the trattoria, a casual, modest and often family-run eatery, the more formal risorante, and the rustic ostaria. Trattoria Mario is an iconic Florentine trattoria known for serving some of the best Bistecca in the city. 

Tea Time! | The Tea Room QVB


Going to high tea always makes me feel somewhat glamorous. It's not every day you get to go to a hotel or decorated tea room to eat delicate cakes off tiered stands and sip tea from fine china. As a child I'd always marvel at the finesse of the beautiful petit fours and rejoice at the thought of eating sandwiches that were both and crustless and filled with something that wasn't vegemite or ham and cheese.

Getting our BBQ on at Rengaya, North Sydney

BBQ

Fire. It's perhaps the most primitive form of cooking there is. Watching flames dance around and cook your food - whether it be meat on the barbeque, dough in a woodfired pizza oven or a even simple toasted marshmallow - is always enticing and exciting.

Eating in colour at NOPI, London


Yottam Ottolenghi is famous for his wholesome, Mediterranean-style cooking and championing of the humble vegetable. Before our visit to London, which was one leg of our recent European family holiday, I'd never had a chance to cook or sample any of his recipes. Having heard of the buzz around his cookbooks and restaurants, I knew that a visit to one of his London outlets would be one to remember.

Learning the Art of Coffee at Haven, Surry Hills


I have to admit, I was never really a coffee person. While some have a ritual cup to wake them up in the morning, and others crave it simply for the taste, I was indifferent - attracted to only the smell of coffee, as opposed to the drink itself. That all changed when I visited Haven.

Ramen Rules at Manpuku, Kingsford


A good bowl of ramen is like a piece of art. Every element adds something unique to the finished piece - the noodles, broth, toppings - and all work together in harmony. Creating the perfect ramen is a laborious labour of love, and there is no shortage of contenders for the title of the best in Sydney.

Osaka Bar, Potts Point

While Tokyo may be the most famous Japanese city among tourists, Osaka is just as popular when it comes to Japanese food. Named by some as the culinary capital of Japan - and perhaps even the world – it is home to unique, eye-catching, mouth-watering fare that arguably rivals that of any other Japanese city.

When in Rome


Europe may well be the most romanticised travel destination in the world. Earlier this year, we travelled there for the very first time, our journey spanning just under a month and taking us to the tourist hot-spots of Italy, France and the UK. We began in central Italy, starting in Rome, before working our way north to Paris. From there, it was an exciting train ride to London, finished off with a stopover in Singapore on the way home.


First stop: Roma. The old, cobblestone streets were every bit as rustic and beautiful as we’d imagined. Narrow alleyways are lined with Fiats parked next to each other like sardines, shadowed by cream facades decorated with shuttered screens and ageing balconies. 

Hotel Centennial, Woollahra


I imagine that if the atmosphere of the Hamptons - that luxe US vacation destination - was to be channeled into a restaurant, then it would resemble Hotel Centennial. Now I could be wrong (I've never actually been to the Hamptons), but it exudes that same beach-side elegance that is so frequented in popular culture.

Sushi bonanza at Sushi Train, Cremorne

There's something just so theatrical about sitting at a sushi train and watching all those plates of delicate, artfully crafted sushi trundle past your wondrous eyes. The sushi trains I remember when I was younger were more about the experience rather than the ambience, but it looks like they've undergone a contemporary makeover of late.

Many have expanded their menus from the classic baby rolls and plain nigiri to include sophisticated mouthfuls that are as delicious as they are appealing to the eye. They've fast becoming more contemporary places to feed your hunger for Japanese food.

Stepping into the dimly-lit space of Sushi Train in Neutral Bay, away from the traffic of Military Road, it is not immediately obvious that you've arrived at a Sushi Train chain. The interior is a mix of deep mahogany wood, lit at night by deep chocolate drop-down lights which create an intimate atmosphere. An island kitchen station in the center of the space is where most of the action takes place, around which the train is set up. Comfy, padded booths line one side of the train, and the other is home to more conventional high-perched seating.


The menu is not just limited to conventional Japanese restaurant offerings. Nigiri are topped with rather out-of-the-ordinary sashimi such as raw squid and octopus, and sushi rolls are taken to the next level.

Owner chef Ken greets us with a special dish of grilled salmon with miso and cheese. The fish is grilled to perfection, and although the cheese sounds like an unusual combination, it works surprisingly well with the umami miso and dark, sweet, salty sauce it's accompanied by.

Seafood parcel ($9.80)
A recent addition to the menu is this seafood parcel baked en papillote with a miso sauce similar to that which is used in nasu dengaku - sweet, flavoursome and almost teriyaki-like. Opening the paper reveals a layering of white fish, calamari, octopus and salmon, as well as sweet onions and fresh shallots. This style of cooking typically locks in moisture, as the contents are gently steamed in the sealed paper, however some of the smaller pieces are a little dry. If you're a Washoku Lovers member, you can get this for $5 by redeeming your online coupon.

Miso garlic salmon + scallop ship ($5.50)
If you thought sushi trains were all about sushi rolls and nigiri, you thought wrong. Sushi ships, or gunkanmaki, are round or oval-shaped sushi commonly wrapped with nori and served with a variety of toppings - the most well-known being ikura (salmon roe). This sushi train offers some specialty ships, the first one being this salmon-wrapped scallop ship. The fresh fish is every so lightly grilled, but by far the best bit is the sweet, crunchy garlic chips sprinkled on top.

Salmon volcano ship ($5.50)
Also wrapped in grilled salmon, this ship is built like an overflowing volcano - a creamy, springy seafood stick mixture forming the 'lava' which trails out the top. A sweet, soy-based sauce provides the perfect balance of flavours. 

Salmon & Ikura ship ($5.50)
A mouthful of glory, fresh salmon is draped around a filling of creamy, jelly-like salmon roe which release a wonderfully oily, rich burst of flavour when bitten into.

 
Tiger roll ($5.50)
Who doesn't love a good piece of light, juicy tempura? Thick tempura of prawn is wrapped into a generously-sized roll, draped with artful slices of avocado, a drizzle of mayo and crunchy pieces of light, crispy batter.

Along with the innovative sushi ships, nigiri are also given a little twist. Of course, there is the standard salmon nigiri, but also variations like baby clam (tsubugai), spicy squid tempura and roast pork.

Chicken and avocado nigiri ($5.00)
 
Salmon nigiri ($5.50)

Ika sugata (baby squid, $4.50)
Japanese cuisine is perhaps one of the only ones in which you can have the pleasure of eating many different kinds of raw fish. Baby squid is served nigiri-style here, which is very fresh and tender with a slightly chewy, springy texture.

Hotate ($5.00)
Raw scallop is sweet and silky smooth, a delicacy in the world of sashimi.

Duck nigiri ($4.50)
A fusion twist on peking duck, the skin on this is rendered and the meat tender and rich - an interesting combination when paired with the mayo and shallots. 

 

Gyoza ($4.50)
A lot of the sushi train items are made in the central kitchen area, including these gyoza. This sushi train branch has its very own gyoza cooker - a specialised hot plate with an attached lid that enables steaming and frying at the same time to get that important scorched, crisp bottom and juicy filling. 

Grilled wagyu
You can also see the chefs at work grilling away behind the train. Top quality wagyu beef is torched just so that it remains tender and pink to form nigiri.
  
Chicken katsu roll ($4.00)
This sushi train classic does not disappoint. The chicken is moist, tasty and has a golden outside; and the rice is very well seasoned. 

Spider roll ($5.00)
An extravagant plate, this is full of different textures provided by the crisp carrot, soft crab meat and light, crunchy crab legs.

Ippin sake (50mL)
From the Ibaraki Prefecture, this sake is served in a vessel called a Tokkuri, comes along with an ornately decorated, mini cup that is the perfect shot size. The sake is quite strong and full-bodied, and a drink to really appreciate.


Although the restaurant may have a more sophisticated feel, at the end of the day it's still the same fun, entertaining experience that makes sushi trains everywhere so popular. This Neutral Bay branch puts it's own unique spin on such a successful dining concept. 


Website:
http://sushitrain.com.au/

Sushi Train Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

I was lucky enough to dine at Sushi Train Neutral Bay thanks to Washoku Lovers, but all opinions are my own.