OSP @ Ungaro Raw, Rozelle

When it comes to the raw food movement, I have always been somewhat of a sceptic.  I suspect it has something to do with my ethnic background.  After all, us Indians are known for cooking things to within an inch of their lives.  So for me, going to a restaurant and paying for a meal that isn’t cooked seems preposterous to say the least.

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When a dear friend announced that she had quit her job and was going travelling indefinitely, I was insanely jealous but also keen to catch up with her before she left.  When she suggested we do lunch at Ungaro Raw, the sceptic in me was seduced by her description of their Mint & Coconut Chocolate Truffles.  She promised they would be an explosion of flavours in the mouth (her words, not mine) and I was sold.

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Ungaro Raw is nestled in the fun end of Darling Street in Rozelle, opposite the markets.  This place is so shiny and new that even tracking a phone number down for them is difficult and their website promises that it is the ‘future home of something cool’.  Don’t let that put you off from trying out their mouth-watering menu though.  Not everything on it is raw but it is all vegan, organic and made up of wonderful, fresh produce.

My friend and I were initially drawn to the display of desserts in the front glass cabinet, which I thought was an excellent tactic on their part.  We convinced each other we should really eat something sensible first and sat at one of the insanely cute vintage tables outside.  The rustic vintage decor stretched throughout the little restaurant, and sunshine streamed in the two huge doors, giving the place a gorgeous feel.  The sunshine must have been contagious as we found all the staff to be bubbly, very helpful and incredibly welcoming.

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A vege burger was ordered and devoured- fragrant crusty bread, scrumptious lentil pattie and all.  There was a plate of corn and millet fritters which my friend seemed to almost inhale, assuring me that it was delicious.  A berry smoothie was had; thick, filling and not over-sweet as so many other smoothies seem to be.

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And after what seemed like an eternity, it was time for dessert.  We decided to order two very different  dishes.  The lemon cheesecake had a cashew cream filling that meant it was not only gluten free, but lactose free as well.  The filling was unlike anything I’ve had before, leaving a satisfying, nutty flavour in my mouth that I wanted to savour every second of.

As for the Chocolate Mint slice, it’s beautifully textural layers were just what I was hoping for with just the right level of sweetness and refreshing mintiness to satisfy that sweet tooth.

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Don’t think I had forgotten about those Mint & Coconut Chocolate Truffles!  One of those babies as well as its’ neighbour, a Chocolate Orange ball came home with me in an innocent looking paper bag.  Both of them may or may not have reached home in a half-eaten state.  And as for these  after dessert desserts, I can think of no better way to describe it than the incredibly chocolaty taste explosion I was promised.

Ungaro Raw may make a convert out of me yet.  And you? Well, all I can say is, you’d better get in there before the rest of Sydney hears about the new kid in town.

Ungaro Raw is on the corner of Darling St. and National St. in Rozelle.  They do breakfast and lunch 7 days a week and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.

Tel: (02) 8964 9223

ungaroraw.com (coming soon)

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OSP @ ATFT Food Photography Workshop, Sydney

ATFT Class 1

Since I took the plunge into the world of blogging, I have been especially delighted by the supportive nature of the food blogging community both in Sydney and around the world.

ATFT Class 2     ATFT Class 7

When I found myself sitting at a table with several other food bloggers at the A Table for Two food photography workshop last weekend, I felt at once totally comfortable and incredibly inspired.

The ATFT blog and workshops are the brainchild of Billy Law, a previous Masterchef Australia contestant, food photographer, cookbook author and self-confessed sweet-tooth.

ATFT Tomatoes

Over two days, Billy talked us through the technical aspects of food photography and what to do with that big hunk of metal and plastic that goes click when you press the button.

Then there was the personal advice and clever tricks he generously shared about the art of food styling.  Billy’s bubbly personality put us all at ease, regardless of how silly our questions were.

There were a few Ah-ha! moments for me and a few things in my brain went ‘click’ as my camera did the same.

ATFT Class 9     ATFT Class 6

The good people of Mumu Grill kept us all well fed with a delectable and nicely staggered four course meal that helped fuel our bodies while all the new ideas fuelled our minds.

Somehow sipping a glass of wine at 11 am seemed perfectly acceptable when it was all part of the quest for knowledge and self-improvement.

ATFT Class 3    ATFT Class 4

As a newborn in this world of food blogging, this workshop was exactly what I needed and I hope to put all the little tips I picked up into action very soon.

ATFT Class 11

OSP @ Mexico Food and Liquor, Sydney

Sunday afternoon lunch feels a little cheeky, doesn’t it?  Almost as if you should be doing something more responsible, like cleaning the house……or doing your internet banking…….or making sure you have clean underwear for the week.  It’s like a last little weekend hurrah before work clothes have to be ironed, milk and bread have to be bought and the general Monday morning chaos starts again.

But Sunday lunch with girlfriends and beers on a summery day in the middle of winter?

Yup…….I’m badass like that.

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So it looks like someone out there is making an effort to address the severe shortage of good Mexican eateries in Sydney.  Our favourite haunt has long been Flying Fajita Sisters in Glebe with its wall of pain and its homemade nachos.  I have also heard good things about Cafe Pacifico but have not yet had that pleasure.  When some friends and I heard that there was a new kid in town, we just had to try Mexico Food and Liquor in Surry Hills.

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I think one of my favourite things about this place was the ambiance.  The place had the feel of a trendy little taqueria, or what I imagine one would be like.  Decorated in a traditional, homely and slightly whimsical way, it managed to be funky without being pretentious.  Little touches like the mismatched jars of flowers on every table and the assortment of Mexico inspired wall decor made us feel a little like we were in someone’s home.  A really cosy home with friendly hosts and good food on order.

Not big beer drinkers, my friend and I asked the waiter to recommend a ‘girly beer’ (our words, not his) and he swore by the Pacifico, which turned out to be just what we wanted.  The others opted for mocktails which looked stunning and apparently did not disappoint.

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The menu offered a respectable spread of quesadillas, dips salads and soft-shell tacos, with the surprising absence of crunchy tacos and burritos.  We opted for a fully vegetarian menu and ordered the, patatas bravas, cauliflower salad, pumpkin and toasted coconut quesadillas as well as the three cheese quesadillas on the specials board.

The patatas bravas were the spiced, fried potato goodness we had expected and the quesadillas and their sauces were quite delicious, although the general consensus was that the three cheese won the quesadilla-off.

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The star of the spread was that cauliflower salad with cucumber, black beans, avocado, olives and feta which totally blew my mind.  That was the dish that I continued to eye throughout the rest of the meal, not wanting to be greedy and succumb to my urge of just shovelling the whole thing into my mouth with a fork, my hand or any other vaguely effective instrument.  Happily I think the others cottoned on to my deep love for this salad and I was finally offered the last little bit while the others polished off the quesadillas et al.

Dessert was satisfactory but my no means earth-shattering.  We were recommended the Bunuelos de xocolate with pine-nut crema, which turned out to be pillowy little donuts in a custard.  They somewhat did their job for a lunchtime dessert after a very filling meal but would have been a little disappointing  if we had actually saved room for and anticipated a good, sweet ending.

Mexico Food and Liquor is one step closer to filling the good Mexican food void in this city.  I certainly will go back to but purely based on our experience, my suggestion would be to focus on the main meal and head elsewhere if your sweet tooth is tingling afterwards.

Mexico Food and Liquor is at 15 Randle St, (02) 9211 7798.  

We paid $6-$8 for starters and soft shell tacos, $12-$16 for salads and quesadillas.

We paid for our own meal and this post was not commissioned.

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OSP @ The Pot, Adelaide

What happens when One Small Pot falls into The Pot? Why, a very happy blogger of course!  Yes folks, I’m back from my Adelaide holiday and the very first thing I have to tell you about is this gorgeous little food and wine bar on King William Road in the upmarket suburb of Hyde park.  My friend B, who is positively a walking talking Good Food Guide to Adelaide took me there for a long, lazy lunch and a long overdue gossip catch-up session.

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Perched on little bar stools at this airy, too-cool-for-school establishment, we sipped (too much) wine and unceremoniously devoured plate after  plate of pure heaven.  Around us, the place buzzed with chatty lunchers while sunshine poured through the big windows and danced across the decor which managed to be at once classic and eclectic.  A wall of wine bottles above the bar and a concise and carefully chosen wine menu made it clear that this was a wine bar not to be messed with.  And on the adjacent wall was a specials board that consisted of the daily offerings scribbled on sheets of brown paper, lest those expensive wines decided to take themselves too seriously.

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The food menu seemed to focus on smaller tapas-style share plates, but there were also a selection of bigger plates and desserts.  B and I started with the sashimi small plate, which was an oh-so-delicate introduction to the meal and really got the gastric juices flowing with its’ delightful acidity.

The scallops with pea puree and pork crackling were a slightly more substantial follow-up act.  The tender, melty scallops went down far too easily with the lovely Rosé I was drinking.

Next up were two of the best dishes of the line-up: the Corn and Coriander Fritters with Chilli Jam, and a special that was a soft boiled egg in light batter, deep fried.  Those fritters hit the spot like no other.  Despite being deep fried, they remained light and succumbed beautifully to the fork and the mouth.

Right: Corn and coriander frittersLeft: THAT egg!
Right: Corn and coriander fritters
Left: THAT egg!

Just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, they brought out the egg.

That egg…….I have dreams about that egg!  Soft boiled, then deep fried in its’ crispy coat, it was served with an Asian garnish that I would be willing to give my left pinkie toe for.  That creamy, soft egg coats the inside of your mouth just enough to enhance those sweet salty tangy Asian flavours that insist on dancing gleefully over your tongue. Bliss!

Egg edited

Starting to fill up, we tucked into some duck spring rolls wrapped in iceberg lettuce and dipped into a gorgeous zingy sauce that may just have been one of the best spring rolls I’ve eaten outside of Asia.

With a little more chit-chat to be had and just a small space left in our bellies, we went for one of the bigger plates, the Blue Swimmer Crab with Chilli and Tomato Hand Cut Pappardelle.  This pasta was divine, silky and freshly made on the premises, the perfect filler for that last spot of tummy space.

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The wait staff added to the wonderful experience and our very friendly, bubbly waitress really took it upon herself to help us with our choices.

This was a decadent lunch, a bit of a splurge but oh so worth it!  Smaller plates were between $10-$20 and most of the bigger plates were between $20-$40.  Pot buns were around $10 each.  There were also options of a cheese plate, sides and amazing looking desserts, which we did not have a smidgeon of room for.  They also do a tasting plate for $65.

Next time, I’ll be back for the breakfasts, which sounded yum, and I’ll definitely leaving room for dessert!

The Pot is at 160 King William Rd., Hyde Park.  You can give them a buzz on (08) 8373 2044.