Riley Street Cafe & Wine

As we wander up to Surry Hills from Town Hall, we pass by the Surry Hills Police Station. This also happens to be THE headquarters for the police in the whole of NSW! No wonder Surry Hills seems like such a safe neighbourhood.

It’s been a bit of a rainy week. But that just makes hot food taste even better! The cafe we were heading to lunch on Thursday was a bit hidden – there’s not really a sign anywhere to show that it is in fact:

Here we are - Riley Street Cafe & Wine
Here we are – Riley Street Cafe & Wine

Riley Street Cafe & Wine

  • Website: http://rileystreetwine.com/
  • Address: Shop 1, 222 Riley Street, Surry Hills
  • Call: (02) 8093 9807
  • Open: Tues to Sun (7.30am to midnight)
  • Average price for lunch: under $20 pp
  • Accepts credit cards, but surcharge for Amex.

Yes, they’ve been open since 7.30am! And won’t be resting until past midnight. These guys are hard working, but even on a rainy day, they’re super friendly and seat us down quickly.

Riley Street Cafe & Wine
Riley Street Cafe & Wine – the open kitchen/bar

Look at all those wines on the shelf! Behind the counter is the open kitchen with 2-3 cooks working away. There’s bar seats so you can see the cooking action up close. But we sit a bit further in – and a bit further away from the cold/rain outside.

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The cafe actually shares part of its space with Adge. There’s this awesome, colourful mural of cartoons on the side there, which I’m not is part of the cafe or Adge. A Google search tells us that Adge is an apartment hotel – looks very nice!

Another thing I notice is the glass water bottles they keep on the table. The design is interesting and after our meal, we hear someone commenting on it too to the waitress.

Flat white - 222
Flat white – 222

As usual D2D orders his flat white, which he says is “okay”. The cool thing about the cups is that as you drink it, it slowly reveals the cafe’s logo! 222! It’s all the small details and delights sometimes. While we wait for the food, we also note that the chairs are all Tokyo designed. Interesting…

Tokyo chairs
Tokyo chairs
Bacon and egg burger - $14
Bacon and egg burger – $14

I ordered the Bacon and Egg Burger, which was delicious. But I think it didn’t quite fill me up. I polished the plate… It also appears a bit small on the big plate, so perhaps it was a psychological thing. It would’ve been nice for it to come with a small salad on the side or a few chips to complete the plate a bit more.

Various tomatoes, ricotta salad with bread - $16 or so
Various tomatoes, ricotta salad with bread – $16 or so

I can’t recall exactly how much D2D’s salad was, but it was really tasty. He’d had a big breakfast so when he got full, I was happy (and relieved) to finish it up! 🙂 As you can see, this salad has different types of tomatoes with lots of ricotta in the middle (healthy cheese!) and some bread. I really mopped up all the ricotta with the bread and ate every piece of tomato.

Satisfied? Definitely.

As we head out, I notice a bowl with lots of tomato varieties in it. So that’s where they came from…

They also had some specials which D2D snapped some shots of before we headed out:

Beef sandwich - looks really good!
Beef sandwich – looks really good!

They had beef sandwich, which looks really good. Maybe I should’ve chosen that instead… They also had things like apple strudel and muffins.

Crates of food!
Crates of food!

Service

What I liked about Riley Street Cafe & Wine is actually the service. The people here have smiles! They’re warm and friendly, and it makes a lot of difference, which perhaps some people forget when they do the same thing day in and day out.

I definitely appreciate the small things – a smile to greet you when you come in (no need to stand around for 5-10mins waiting to be seated), pouring water into our glasses, asking how the food was etc.

The barista at work
The barista at work
Wine that shines!
Wine that shines!

Thanks for sheltering us from the rain, Riley Street Cafe & Wine! 🙂

Riley Street Café & Wine on Urbanspoon

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Assembly, Melbourne

For once, we aren’t behind in our posts! So let’s a trip back in time to around Easter 2013, where we flew down to Melbourne for a holiday.

Located a bit north of Melbourne CBD, between Carlton Gardens and Melbourne University is a tiny cafe/store called Assembly.

Assembly

Assembly - coffee
Assembly

As usual, it was raining in Melbourne that day, so after a long, wet walk, we were super relieved to notice this little sign along a road that just looked like a bunch of warehouses.

We went into this tiny shop/cafe, where there was 1 guy happily making coffee. It continues to pour outside, so we decide to order a tea to warm up.

Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea

As you can see, the counter is set up with filters for coffee making, a board with tea and coffee orders and little enclaves hosting tea and coffee wares for sale.

Our host starts brewing our tea for us and then offers us the first brew. He’s quite a friendly fellow and after a few questions, it’s clear that this guy is a tea and coffee expert, like a professor! He even looks the part with his beard!

The place is beautifully set up with a minimalist design and is really quiet, except for the pitter patter of rain outside. Aside from us and the host, there’s another visitor sitting at the communal table reading a book. This must be his refuge from the rain as well.

Compared to the popular cafes in Sydney, this is a welcome difference to the queues and noisy Sunday brunches.

Our tea
Tea

This is our tea served in interestingly designed cups. You can see them on display in the second photo actually. Each cup has a slightly different ‘crack’ in it as well. But don’t worry, no actual tea drips out.

We sit there and enjoy sipping our tea, brew after brew! The host even nice enough to bring out a cold brew that he made earlier. He wants us to try the difference between the cold and hot brew, and maybe it’s the wet weather, but the hot brew is my preferred choice!

Cookies!
Cookies!

There’s also a platter of cookies on the communal table for us – don’t they look good?

Anyway, I suggest you check out what else we have from our Melbourne visits.

Assembly on Urbanspoon

Gazi Melbourne

Back in December last year (2013), we went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise to New Zealand. But our first port of call was actually Melbourne. Having limited time (about 6-7 hours) at this port, we had a list of places to visit and eat at. From this list, we chose Gazi because of two reasons:

  1. It’s a venture by Greek Masterchef celebrity George Calombaris
  2. There are sheep brains

Gazi

As usual, Melbourne was in pouring rain on the day that we docked (when is it every sunny?). After trekking through a lot of puddles, we went to Gazi for a late lunch before we returned to our cruise ship. Perhaps it was the cold and rain outside , but I simply loved the decor of this place:

Gazi, Melbourne
Look at that roof

Gazi has many tables, with a big open kitchen in the middle. The ceiling with filled with upside down terracotta pots! Yes, plant pots! On one side, they have booth tables with wooden partitions and little hooks to hang your coats/umbrellas.

Even though it’s late to be walking in for lunch, the staff are friendly and seat us next to the window. We look through the menu, which is filled with Greek food we know little about. We’re a bit uncertain about the portion sizes (but we’re also greedy to try a couple of things). The staff are super nice and suggest a half-half for the Wood Fire Spit.

Gazi’s menu has quite a lot to choose from. There’s things for sharing, street food style snacks, through to more substantial mains and eventually dessert.

Our food comes out hot and we can’t wait to gobble it up:

Lamb brains
Crispy lambs brains w/ Charred leeks, pickled grapes $12.50

Hmm cripsy lamb brains? Gray matter disguised under batter! I think there’s about 3-5 pieces in there and it comes with a bed of salad. PS. the salads are really good! This comes under the menu’s heading of “Hellenic Dirty Food”. As expected, the brains have the ‘offal’ taste, being internal organs. They’re soft and mix well with the crunch of the batter. The brains are surprisingly small, kind of like an egg.

Pork belly
Pork belly w/ White beans, apple skordalia – $16 (half half), normally $32

This was our delicious, big two pieces of pork belly. It was SO good. I also loved the extras on the side – white beans and apple.

Chicken
Chicken w/ White beans, tyrokafteri – $14 (half half), normally $28

This was the other ‘half’: amazingly tender and tasty chicken. They gave us HEAPS. What would a whole serving be like??

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Salad – around $12

We also had a salad. I can’t recall which one now, but, like I said, their salads are pretty tasty! And they’re an interesting blend of flavours and greens, which you wouldn’t normally encounter (unless you eat Greek food a lot).

All in all, D2D and I agreed that this was our new favourite restaurant in Melbourne! The food is really good and surprisingly cheap for a place decked out nicely and owned by a celebrity chef.

Nice work George. We’ll be back next time.

Gazi on Urbanspoon

The Baron

One of the few good cafes in the Hills Shire, The Baron is a pretty cool and hip cafe, with decor resembling something you’d find in Surry Hills or Newtown.

We’ve been there a couple of times now, including when it used to open for night, doubling as a cafe and bar (dinner and drinks). Now it only opens during the day.

The Baron

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The Baron

Like I said, the decor is hip. Most things are wooden here – the chairs, stools – with a random old suitcase used as a coffee table (not sure if that’s gone now). The window is floor to ceiling with seats available there for people-watching and coffee-sipping.

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Flat white

As we’d gone to The Baron a while ago, I don’t quite remember what we had ordered. All we have is this photographic evidence. As you can see, there is a focus on fresh, whole foods:

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Egg with pickles on sourdough

This was a big plate – going clockwise: bread (from Sonoma apparently), ham, cherry tomato, salmon, poached egg rolled in black sesame, avocado on salad.

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A big plate!

And their slider:

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Slider with the top bun sliding off…

Everything is under $20.

My poor memory of what each of these were tempts me to go there soon… we all need to refresh our memories once in a while, right?

The Baron on Urbanspoon

 

O Bar and Dining

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O bar and dining 
the rotating fine dining experience 
no shorts or other unsavory items of 
clothing allowed on premises
you will see at least 1 rotation during you time here 
but the windows were not as clear and clean as I expected 
however, as the night swept through, 
this didn't matter as much

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old fashioned cocktail 
well done bartender, delicious (tt would disagree)

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bread, essentially a dollar a (half)piece
its from Sonoma which is meant to be really good bread 
the salt and butter was tasty 
they didn't let us have more bread 
(so I made tt give me more of hers...hehe)

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entree is served"
fish cakes, really tasty!
with a side of mayo 
the finely chopped red stuff on top looks like chilli
(tt is scared) 
however as I bravely taste tested that 'chilli' it turned out 
to be fresh capsicum (tt is relieved...and so am I)

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organic chicken sausage:
nothing too special
I expected more sausage for $30 
each of those 3 tiny pieces you see there is worth $10 
no sausage is worth this much 
except apparently, this organic chicken one...

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pork meat main
with chick pea(?)
and sauce...

As you can probably tell, this wasn't my main (it was tt's)
that's why my above description isn't very good

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Salmon, and tasty tasty rice/tabouleh stuff 
waitress offered the option for fully cooked if that 
is your preference
however, I personally prefer raw salmon (sashimi style) 
this salmon is cooked medium at the waitress's suggestion
and it is cooked,, a really good medium! 
very soft and tender salmon, very very nice

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finished off with a small and expensive mango cheesecake 
with even smaller biscuit bottom (the size of a coin!) 

well... not really finished for the night! 
I craved for Mr crackles pork crackling 
on oxford st afterwards 
and therefore I dragged tt on a walk 
all the way from wynyard to darlinghurst! 
in the rain

tt not happy that night...

O Bar and Dining on Urbanspoon