I had my 21st this month. It wasn’t a big affair because I have too many things going on – will I regret letting it pass by so quietly? Definitely, but until the massive party I’m planning for July I have these cheap eats to tide you and me over.
Pho Tau Bay, Cabramatta
You’ll see plenty of restaurant reviews from me on Cabramatta since I live in the very heart of this Vietnamese-centric suburb. If you’re going to trek to Cabramatta, start your day at Pho Tau Bay with a steaming hot bowl of beef pho – that clear beef noodle soup heady in ginger, onion, star anise and cassia bark. Add hoisin sauce and/or sriracha chili sauce if you feel so inclined but I like the pure taste of pho without any alterations. However you must not forget to tear and sprinkle some coriander and basil and a squeeze of lemon before diving in, it really lifts the entire meal to something special. I’m describing the ‘saigon-style’ pho to you which I would go for over ramen, any day.
Pho Tau Bay also serve other noodle soups aside from pho but there’s really nothing better than a bowl the size of your head full of both cooked and thinly sliced rare beef. My favourite part are the slippery rice noodles that you slurp with the broth of carefully simmered beef bones, their pho tastes just like my mum’s and that’s how I can tell it’s good.
Being a seasoned pho eater I can appreciate the three beef pho which includes beef tendons, brisket and beef balls – the tendons sound off-putting but I assure you they are anything but. They have a soft, gelatinous texture which taste of concentrated beef. For those not quite as adventurous, can opt for the plain beef meat version which is still equally great.
A small bowl will generally set you back just $9, medium – $10 and large – $11 the difference between the small and large serving is quite astonishing. I’ve only ever had the small and medium size and they can already both give me a very good feed, the large size is a cavernous portion and looks like it could feed a family for days.
Youtiao/yau ja gwai translated as oil fried devils – (I love how morbid Chinese food sounds when translated in English) are crispy deep fried sticks of dough that are still slightly chewy on the inside. They make some excellent ones here which are perfect for dipping into the steaming hot pho broth. And at just $1.10 each, one of these and a bowl of pho will still get you a nourishing meal for under $11.
Mon & Wed to Fri: 7.30am to 6.30pm
Sat & Sun: 7.30am to 7.30pm
This sushi train has to be the best in terms of meeting both quality and cost. Takumi’s biggest drawcard would have to be their pricing – $3 for any plate – and that includes soft shell crab, scampi, salmon aburi, bowls of udon noodles, tempura prawns and countless other tantalising sushi fare. Just flash your student card or your parking ticket if you’ve parked at Market City and all plates of sushi and sides are just $2.50 beating out Sushi Hotaru by half a dollar per plate. One has to remember though that since plates are so cheap that you can’t expect superb sushi, however I can tell you that from multiple visits, the sushi is quite decent, the variety covers your usual sushi basics and I experienced amiable service every time. My tip is to order items fresh from the waitress and avoid removing plates from the train, if it’s on the train though, the waitress will just find it and bring it to you.
Mon to Sun: 11:30 am to 9:30pm
Black Star Pastry, Newtown
At this tiny cafe in Newtown you’ll discover gorgeous pastries and cakes, some of which are surprisingly vegan but mouthwatering nonetheless.
The brulee tart has a lovely vanilla custard filling and a tart raspberry puree lining the bottom of the pastry shell, the crisp sugar shell topping cracked beautifully when I bit into it. How perfect.
I’m attracted to unusual pairings of food, you’d think fresh watermelon might not fit in a cake however when layered with almond dacquoise and rose-scented cream, creates a wonderfully new gastronomic experience. Macerated strawberries, dried rose petals and blueberries together look absolutely gorgeous. The freshness from all the fruit bursts into the light-as-air cream without being overly rose-scented. This is a refreshing cake, and may not be for those of you who prefer rich, opulent desserts. It’s indeed a little pricey but well-worth it for the exquisite quality and food envy you receive when others find out what you’ve just eaten.
This little girl was spotted taking a stroll nearby in her pimped out pram.
Open 7 days: 7am to 5pm
Burgerfuel make gourmet burgers, which means they’re healthier than McDonald’s. I was being conscious of the amount of meat I’d consumed that day so in an effort to have a well-balanced diet, I chose a vegetarian burger for dinner, my boyfriend didn’t see the sense in that.
Ash: ‘who goes to a burger place and orders vegetarian?’
For research purposes I tried his beef burger which was delicious, the patty was well cooked, moist and had a good beefy flavour.
My vegetarian burger practically had the same components as the beef one. There was a nicely seasoned mushroom, kumera, chickpea and basil pattie, melted cheddar, beetroot, sweet relish and aioli sandwiched between two wholemeal buns. Crunchy kumera chips on top of a very filling burger, meant that I made through only half of it. It still held up pretty well and wasn’t too soggy after a night in the fridge when I had it for lunch the day after.
The burgers are cooked to order and the kumera chips crunchy and sweet, Burgerfuel make the ideal healthy, weekday lunch at an affordable price.
Sun to Thurs: 11am to 10pm
Fri & Sat: 11am to 11pm
The Norfolk, Surry Hills
$10 lunches Monday to Friday between 12pm – 3pm you can have a squiz of that menu below as I cannot find it online anywhere else. The most important information you’ll need to know is that happy hour is Monday to Friday 4pm-5pm
There are specials every night of the week, what catches my attention is Hillbilly BBQ Thursdays, a day dedicated to moonshine and BBQ – score a half rack of BBQ ribs w/ slaw, jacket potatoes and chili beans for just $15, available between 6pm-10pm. You needed to know that, I needed to know that, I’ll see you next Thursday.
Chili mince, nacho cheese and jalapenos – you are a great topping for hot, crunchy fries.
The sliders simply house a juicy beef patty, some tomato relish, pickles in a sesame seed bun. And the nacho cheese from the fries are the same as the cheese sauce for the sliders, suitable for dipping the entire slider into.
Mon to Sat: 12pm to 12am
Sun: 12pm to 10pm
Bistro is open Mon to Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Now I must depart the world of food and return back to work, but I’ll return soon dear readers and eaters~