Pho Pasteur, Blacktown, Western Sydney


Guest blogger edition

Who would have thought that way out west, there was a Pho Pasteur! Pho Pasteur is one of the most well known Vietnamese restaurants in Sydney and in particular, for their super tasty beef pho.

I've only been to the the Pho Pasteur on George St in Haymarket, and was so was pleasantly surprised when wandering out west, looking for a place for dinner, we stumbled across it again on the top level of Westfields Parramatta. This top level hosted a whole bunch of restaurants and seemed to be the place to eat for locals as the carpark was packed and so were most of the restaurants on this Saturday night. 

Luckily, we were able to get ourselves a table.


We decided to try share dishes and ordered a few from the menu. We wanted to order the Vietnamese pancakes but were informed that this would take 1 hour to prepare =(

Chicken and prawn fried rice with XO sauce ~$18 - a huge plate of fried rice (not sure if we accidentally ordered a larger size or something) A bit spicy with the XO sauce but otherwise fragrant and tasty fried rice.


Chicken and cashews ~$16 - tender chicken, crunchy cashews and a handful of carrot, onion, peas and mushrooms. A pretty standard but delicious chicken and cashew dish.


Grill pork chops (Vietnamese style) ~$16 - I don't know how they do it, but the pork chops grilled Vietnamese style is always so juicy and delicious. This was no exception and we devoured this in no time at all.


The prices at this restaurant compared to the other chains seemed a tad more expensive, but this is probably to cover the higher rental costs from Westfields.



Pho Pasteur on Urbanspoon


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Takumi, Haymarket, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Takumi, on the top floor of Market City shopping centre, close to the food court area, is a Japanese sushi train that has been around as long as I can remember. The biggest drawcard for Takumi, is that they have a set price per dish of $3 ($2.50 if you have a market city parking ticket or student ID - really really good value for students!), rather than having a whole range of prices for each differently coloured dish. This advantage has somewhat diminished with the likes of Sushi Hotaru opening up and also doing a pretty standard price per dish ($3, no student discount though).



However, Takumi still remains super popular and on a Friday night, you will be pretty hard pressed to find a seat at dinner time! Luckily the seats are sufficiently squished and uncomfortable so that the turnover is pretty fast, haha.


Another benefit of Takumi is that the wait staff are super attentive and ready to run over any time you beckon, whether it be refilling your water or ordering items directly from the menu. The good thing about ordering from the menu is that the chefs make these FRESH - even if the same item is on the sushi train, they will still make you a fresh one. As such, it's almost always better to order from the menu than take from the train (avoiding the risk that the dishes have been circling for hours). Unless of course you're super impatient and starving like I sometimes am.



Salmon and avocado handroll- $3 - yes, the hand rolls are all $3! These are made to order and deliciously good value. A chunk of decent quality salmon, slice of avocado nicely wrapped in crisp nori.


Salmon tobiko - $3 - Salmon and salmon roe - a perfect combination. The saltiness of the roe balancing nicely with the creamy salmon and mayo.


Cooked prawn- $3 - yes there was originally 2 and yes I ate one before I remembered to take a photo. Nice sushi but nothing special here.


Octopus -$3 - not sure what this sauce was actually, looked a bit too strange for me to try >_<


Scallop omelette hand roll - $3 - fried egg with some hunks of scallop inside - decent but not mind blowing.


Salmon sashimi - $3 - smooth and silky melt in the mouth pieces of salmon sashimi- yummmm


The dessert isn't great at Takumi, so we popped down to the Chinatown night markets and finished our meal off with some Japanese pancakes and mochi

Different flavours and bulk buy discounts!


Rows and rows of pancakes fresh off the grill



Pounding and slicing the mochi 



The queues were long, but finally we get the goods!


The mochi with seasame




Takumi on Urbanspoon
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Gourmet Taste Seafood restaurant, Beverly Hills, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

The main strip of Beverly Hills located on King Georges Road is known to some as 'Eat street'. An entire street dedicated to restaurants from a wide range of cuisines, ranging from German to Chinese to Italian to Greek to the recently opened Korean style coffee shop.

Despite how busy the area can get on a Friday and Saturday night, this doesn't stop the crowds descending en masse to Eat street to satisfy their cravings. On this occasion, we ventured down the street, undecided on where we wanted to eat but wanting to try somewhere we hadn't been before.

We decided to try one of the many Chinese restaurants - Gourmet Taste. Walking into the restaurant, the staff were polite and quick with their service, promptly finding us a table, bringing our complimentary tea and nibbles of nuts,pickled radish and carrot.


Complimentary salted roast peanuts and pickled vegetables



Complimentary Asian style soup of the day - today it was a vegetable, pork bone and carrot soup. I love the complimentary soup you get at Chinese restaurants, they're usually light, but have nice flavours, just enough to whet your appetite for the upcoming dishes (although some people say these soups are full of MSG).



Shan dong chicken -$18.80- a relatively standard dish for a Chinese restaurant, but it seems to be done slightly differently at each one. Here the chicken is cooked to perfection - crispy skin on the outside, moist tender meat on the inside and best of all de-boned! Furthermore, the punchy Shan dong sauce, with its signature shallots and chillis came in a separate bowl. This meant that you could control the amount of sauce on the chicken and at the same time preserve the crispy skin - ingenious! 




The Shan dong sauce



Beef cubes with wasabi sauce - $22.80 - a fusion type of dish combining Chinese style stir fry beef with Japanese wasabi flavours. In this interpretation, hunks of tender beef is coated with a layer of wasabi flavoured sauceon a bed of snow peas. On the side is some light mayo for dipping. I found this dish to be pretty tasty, but I love the taste of wasabi so would have liked the sauce to have a bit more of a kick to it.


Complimentary dessert soup to finish the meal - pumpkin and sago - yummm. They also gave us a small dish of fruits - watermelon and orange. The perfect palate cleanser and a great way to finish the meal.



Gourmet Taste Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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Mooberry, Neutral Bay, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Mooberry is a yoghurt and dessert chain that originated on King Street in Newtown, but has since expanded to Rhodes as well as more recently, Neutral bay. I was invited to taste a sampling of their menu items which I gladly accepted. So on a sunny winters day, we went fishing at Clifton gardens in the morning and then proceeded to Mooberry for our sampling session.

Having not caught a single fish, we weren't in the best of moods but stepping into the Mooberry shop, the manager (John) was so cheerful that we couldn't sustain our grumpy moods.

He gave a quick run through of the menu and the items we were tasting today and then off we went to explore the place and await our food and drinks.



What was surprising about the place was just how spacious it was! You can't really tell from the outside or even when you step in, but the place is split over 3 different levels, with seating and tables on all levels. Perhaps this could be something they mention on the front window as passer bys peering in might think the place was full!



Although they usually have 6 frozen yoghurt flavours, unfortunately 2 were unavailable that day as they were cleaning the machines. The flavours were pretty unique compared to the other froyo shops and we ended up going for passionfruit and salted caramel.



As with all froyo places, there were a multitude of additional toppings to choose from. I've always thought that frozen yoghurt toppings should be soft and easy to chew as it is placed on top of the yoghurt and I always eat it all in one mouthful. However, as I watched other people enjoy their froyos, I noticed that they had a variety of toppings that I would normally never consider given their texture (i.e too crunchy/hard to eat with the yoghurt). For example, gummis bears, tim tam pieces and m and ms. But I see now that one way to eat these is to pick them out of the yoghurt and enjoy them separately! It's like adding an additional level to the froyo! Must try this next time...










Passionfruit frozen yoghurt topped with passionfruit, strawberry/lychee/green apple pearls and mochi. A very refreshing froyo with the familiar passionfruit tang made ever so much nicer with the real passionfruit sauce. The pearls popped in your mouth creating a fruit salad in my mouth, haha. The mochi, whilst not as flavoursome, gave me something to chew on as I enjoyed the yoghurt. Colourful and delicious.



Salted caramel frozen yoghurt with coconut jelly, almond slivers and lychee pearls. The more bland looking of the two but not bland in taste! The salted caramel froyo was decadent bliss with the toppings providing extra flavour elements.



From the top level you can grab a counter seat and gaze out on to the bustle of Military road or across the way into the people working out at the gym, hehe.


After a short wait, we received two hot chocolates. One normal Belgian hot chocolate and one salted caramel hot chocolate. Whilst both were nice, the salted caramel hot chocolate was definitely the pick of the two. John informed us that the salted caramel used in the hot chocolate was the same as that used to flavour the froyo- no wonder we liked it so much =)



Lastly, we finished with a Belgian waffle, drizzled (more like drowned!) in a mix of milk and dark chocolate topped with fresh strawberries and banana. Sooo rich and morish.....mmmmmmmm




In addition to frozen yoghurt, waffles and dessert, Mooberry also serves breakfast and coffee (the prices looked pretty reasonable too) Will have to try that next time I'm in the area. Hopefully, before or after some more fruitful fishing!



The Food Book dined as a guest of Mooberry

MooBerry Dessert & Breakfast Bar on Urbanspoon

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Hoang Gia, Homebush, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Hoang Gia is located in one of the small alleyways off Flemington, a little bit hard to find, but if you walk around the main shopping area with all the other Vietnamese restaurants and Asian grocery shops, you're bound to find it.

Arriving at around 2pm, we had just beat the lunch time rush and were able to quickly grab ourselves a table. Tea is complimentary as per most Vietnamese restaurants and served in a thermos on the table. We quickly browsed the plastic folder menu but we had pretty much already made up our minds as to what we wanted to eat.



Crispy Skin Chicken with egg noodle - $12- a simple but tasty dish. Crispy skin chicken served separately to a big bowl of egg noodles with some greens. I don't know how they do it, but the chicken meat is still so moist whilst the skin is so deliciously crispy.




Beef and beef ball pho - $9  - It's hard to not order a pho whenever you go to a Vietnamese restaurant as you can be pretty sure it's going to be super tasty. This one is no exception, beautiful noodles, juicy beef balls and flavoursome broth. So good.







Hoang Gia on Urbanspoon
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Mussel Men, Dalston (London)

Dalson is an epicentre of edgy cool.  It's still rough around the edges and grungy but with so many pop-ups, hipster restaurants and bars, most twenty-something Londoners would be hard pressed to avoid it.

My friend told me about Mussel Men, a new place that focuses on mussels.

I love mussels - I was there.

It is a small nautical themed restaurant on Kingsland Road. Like a lot of places in East London, it is trendy...hipster.




The menu is short and to the point.  It is a choice of mussels, lobster, crab or scallops.


We decided to share a half doz rock oysters (£10)


A serving of mussels and fries


Scallops with smoked potato and bacon (£10)


The scallops were plump, fat and delicious.

However it was a Friday night and I was in a mood to splurge.  I was also ridiculously hungry and as we had shared the three plates above, I decided to go all out and get a half lobster!


Half lobster (£14)


The lobster meat was sweet and fresh but over far too soon. If I had a lobster craving, I would probably recommend Burger & Lobster over Mussel Men.

Mussel Men on Urbanspoon
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