Category Archives: Surry Hills

Madame Nhu, Surry Hills

It’s been a long and increasingly rainy week. And the weather forecast for the weekend doesn’t look promising… We were looking forward to eating big bowls of hot ramen at Bar H for Friday lunch BUT it turns out they are not open for lunch!

This was rather disappointing, especially given it was cold and raining when we were turned back outside.

Luckily, across the road was:

Madame Nhu Bar & Eateries:

  • Website:
  • Address: 82 Campbell St, Surry Hills
  • Open: LUNCH 11am – 3pm (Mon to Fri) and dinner 7-10pm (daily)
  • Bookings: accepted, but see online for details

We had actually come here last Wednesday, after our salsa class and it was quite full. When we showed up on Friday just before 12pm, we were the first ones here, but within 15 minutes, the place was pretty packed.

Madam Nhu is a modern Vietnamese restaurant operated by Minh & Nhu Nguyen. They also have a shop in the Food Hall of Galeries Victoria in Town Hall.

Eat pho, drink beer
Eat pho, drink beer

The restaurant doesn’t have many seats and is fitted out with a Vietnamese/French theme. We get the window bar seats and look again, at the Salvation Army sign across the road.

Their menu has the traditional pho as well as rice paper rolls, banh mi, salads etc. They also have beer, wine, cocktails and a non-alcoholic drinks menu.

For me, I’m someone who sticks with what they like:

Phở tái sliced Tasmanian rump steak 11.9 / 14.9 (lunch/dinner)
Phở tái sliced Tasmanian rump steak 11.9 / 14.9 (lunch/dinner)

Like last Wednesday, once again I ordered the pho tai! To my surprise, the prices are quite reasonable – given the decor of the place and that it is run as a “modern” Vietnamese restaurant.

What is also a nice touch is the fact that they use 100% Darling Downs and Tasmanian beef! My pho tai has Tasmanian rump steak – which is a nice reminder of our recent trip to Tas.

Phở of roasted duck with duck broth and fresh herbs 13.9 / 16.9 (lunch/dinner)
Phở of roasted duck with duck broth and fresh herbs 13.9 / 16.9 (lunch/dinner)

D2D is more adventurous and orders something different from last Wednesday. In fact, it’s so different – he’s ordered DUCK pho! I snuck a few tastes of the soup and it’s very different – a strong duck flavour which has less of the sweetness of the beef pho.

Passionfruit drink
Passion fruit drink

They also have quite good drinks. D2D ordered this on Wednesday and liked it so much that he ordered it again – a big mason jar of passion fruit drink.

The guy sitting next to us gobbled his pho down so quick! By the time he left, his soup broth was still steaming!

What else is around:

All the other Surry Hills cafes and restaurants! But the closest is Bar H, which is right across the road, Paramount Coffee Project, and Longrain (or shortgrain).

Madame Nhu Surry Hills on Urbanspoon


Ume Restaurant Surry Hills


Ume Japanese dining 
478 Bourke Street Surry Hills
we tend to like the small little restaurants
and in Surry hills there are plenty


service was great and and the small restaurant provided a friendly atmosphere to dine in

We decided to order a la carte
although most of the dishes we ordered were included in the degustation

the difference was if you order them separate they come in larger servings!

the waitress was even worried for our stomachs that when we wanted to try too many dishes, she prevented us from ordering anymore...


we tried the shochu, a japanese distilled drink thats different to sake because its made differently (source wiki)

The clear water looking one is the Imo - sweet potato 

The other drink is a housemade lemony drink (okay, honestly I forgot what it was. but it looks lemony)


very detailed wallpaper keeping with a traditional Japanese artistic theme


Snapper Carpaccio
very fresh, finely sliced pieces of snapper 
dressed with White Soy, Rice wine vinegar,
Shredded Cucumber, Shiso and Black Sesame

tasty tasty start of the meal


Ama Ebi
Raw Deep Sea Prawns, Prawn Oil, Walnuts, Okahijiki (which is fancy for seaweed from the land)
1 Year Old Preserved Lemon
(wow, 1 year of lemon!), 
Sashikomi Soy

I liked this even more than the snapper


Seared Hokkaido Scallop
Shibanuma Shoyu brown butter, Finger Lime, Dulse

their signature dish
and it was super tasty! 
the brown butter sauce was delightful


Shiki no Salad
 Roasted Heirloom Carrots,
 Fried Brussel Sprouts, Dashi Custard,
 Black Vinegar & Ginger Dressing

brussel sprouts are at the bottom of the vegetable list for us, however in the salad, those sprouts were fried to a crisp that made them interesting to eat (they still carried a heavy brussel sprouty taste)


 Slow Cooked, Tender WA Octopus
 Koji Potato, Lightly Pickled Cucumber
 Shichimi, Bonito Oil

chucky cut up bits of octopus tentacles! 
not my favourite dish of the night but still 
very well portioned, soft and tasty


Riverina Lamb
 Charred, Soft Lamb Shoulder
 Sesame Miso, Fried Nori
 Shoyu-zuke Heirloom Tomatos

huge portion of lamb shoulder!
I am a meat fan, and this was well cooked tender lamb in a flavoursome miso sauce 

not to mention well presented


finished off with dessert 

Sesame infused Aero Chocolate & Beet Root
 Toasted “Rice-Cream”,
 Beetroot Marshmallow, Merigue

A nice mix of sweet and sour flavours 
with a very interesting rice flavoured ice cream that actually balances everything together

Ume, highly recommended

Ume Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Nomad, Surry Hills

Just a short distance away from the Paramount Coffee Project is a rather hidden restaurant called Nomad. Which is surprising given how massive Nomad is. There’s tables, including chef counters (seats bordering the open kitchen), which could seat probably 150 people.


  • Website:
  • Address: 16 Foster Street, Surry Hills
  • Open: lunch (Tue – Fri, 12-2.30pm), dinner (Mon – Sat, from 6pm)
  • Book: online – note, you can book for the chef’s counter (which sits around the open kitchen) and some seating may be communal

The decor is brick walls and wooden tables and chairs. We get seated quite far into the restaurant and it was a bit dark. We would have preferred to at the front window where sunlight was coming through, so perhaps ask for that if you book.


The focus of Nomad is, like what appears to be popular with many restaurants these days, on emphasising seasonal food and traditional methods such as pickling, curing, smoking, fermenting etc. The walls are lined with jars of pickled produce.

The menu is designed largely for sharing (small and big share plates), with some lunch specials available. There is also an 8 course set menu for $65 pp for groups of 3 or more. The menus are viewable here.


Beer Braised Shortrib - Nomad smoked cheddar, B&B pickles - $13
Beer Braised Shortrib – Nomad smoked cheddar, B&B pickles – $13

We weren’t too hungry, so only ordered two lunch special burgers and a small share plate. This is the beer braised short rib. For $13, I thought this was a pretty delicious. Filling enough, juicy meat and soft bun.

Is $13 for a burger cheap? Yes, compared to other places where burgers have become $20 items. But no, if you compare to the cheaper burgers you can find at Maccas etc. It’s all relative I suppose.

Scallops - parsley root puree, lardo, anchovy $15
Scallops – parsley root puree, lardo, anchovy $15

Here is the scallops – a small share plate. Yes, very small indeed! For $15, you only get two scallops, which seemed overpriced (especially given the cheap eat we would have later tonight at Food Society). Granted, they were very delicious on the puree etc and nicely presented on a plate of clam shells. Now if only those clam shells had clams still…

Pigs Ear Snitzel, preserved lemon, mustard - $12
Pigs Ear Snitzel, preserved lemon, mustard – $12

We also tried the pigs ear snitzel, which was delicious too. You can actually taste the texture of the pigs ear and again, the super soft buns make it easy for cutting (to share) and eating.

All in all, I think the burgers at Nomad are quite nice, but they’re only available for lunch. Otherwise I have a feeling the usual small and big dishes are not that big in portion size, and you’ll be spending more to end up feeling full by the end.

Also tip, ask for a table at the Chef’s Counter. I reckon it would’ve been cool to see the work behind the scenes.

Nomad on Urbanspoon

St Jude, Surry Hills – Redfern

Where is St Jude?

St Jude
St Jude

At number 728 Bourke Street, Redfern / Surry Hills!

St Jude

  • Call: 02 9310 3523
  • Open: daily from 7am – 3pm (according to TimeOut Sydney)

St Jude doesn’t have a website, so there’s hardly any info online – this just means you have to go there yourself to check it out!


Sitting on the corner of Bourke and Thurlow Street, St Jude occupies a small little corner with wide open windows and doors. It creates a beautifully lit area for morning brunch.

Also, check out that peeling pastel paint! Very rustic.

Outside the cafe
Outside the cafe

For a table for two on the weekend, the wait is only 5-10 minutes. The tall waiter running around is the same guy who was here last visit (around April 2013). He’s friendly and keeps you frequently informed of how much longer the wait is!

Meat hooks and dolls?
Meat hooks and dolls?

Check out that girl staring at us…

The decor at St Jude is a bit… weird. The wall is lined with (meat?) hooks and shelves of antique framed pictures , ships and…wait for it, porcelain dolls! Yes, some might find it creepy. But thank goodness, St Jude has plenty of open windows to let in light. I can only imagine (with fear) what this place would look like at night!

Flat white
Flat white

D2D orders a large flat white with a heart. You can see little bowls of sea salt and dukkah on the table, as well as a jar of sugar.

Communal table
Communal table

Most tables fit 2-4 people, but the center table is a large communal one. Check out the beautiful flowers! You might also notice the geometric lights they have….

Sweet corn & pumpkin fritters w/ avocado cream, soft poached egg and spinach - $14.50
Sweet corn & pumpkin fritters w/ avocado cream, soft poached egg, hollandaise and spinach – $14.50

The food comes out pretty quickly at St Jude.

Here is my sweet corn and pumpkin fritters! You get three, plus a poached egg and a spinach salad on the side. A pretty good deal for $14.50.

Avocado smash w/ salsa, spinach and fetav - $14.50
Avocado smash w/ salsa, spinach and feta – $14.50

D2D’s avocado smash comes with some bread (hidden in the picture) and is a delicious combination of flavours. I am surprised that, for once, he doesn’t get something with eggs.

A photo peeking through the window
A photo peeking through the window
Front counter
Front counter

At the front counter, they also have a selection of cakes and muffins…and antique gadgets like scales and magnifying glasses! This really feels a bit steampunk. Can you also spot the coconut and straw just there on the counter? I wonder what that is…


What else is around?

Since St Jude is at the southern end of Bourke Street, it’s a short walk to the Dank Street neighbourhood and other great Redfern eats.

You can also check out Moore Park if you continue down Thurlow Street, and head into the Moore Park Driving Range and the nearby Moore Park Showground.

St Jude on Urbanspoon

The Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills

Update: Round 3 at PCP

Just like Parma, we are returning to the Paramount Coffee Project for the third time (or maybe more…)! The action plan for Saturday was actually have lunch at PCP followed by a city bike ride, hiring bikes from Tokyo Bikes. The rental is an insanely low $20 per day and perhaps that’s why they were all rented out when we showed up at 12pm on a Sat. 😦

Good thing we can drown our sorrows in some food.

Fried chicken with watermelon - around $18
Fried chicken with watermelon – around $18

This seems to be trending at the moment: fried chicken paired with watermelon. We had it at Taste of Sydney the previous night and it was also on My Kitchen Rules.

It’s a nice combination actually and the watermelon makes us feel slightly healthier while eating fried chicken out of a special BBQ bag. It claims to keep chicken hot for 30 mins after bbqing – a theory we don’t test, because we just pour it onto the plate. It also comes with this little bowl of flakes – dried prawn flakes maybe? I’m not sure what to do with it, so I throw it all over the chicken and watermelon just in case.

Scrambled egg with bacon - around $18
Scrambled egg with bacon – around $18

The prices at PCP are actually quite high when I forget about the beautiful furniture and succulent plants. You’re pretty much guaranteed to spend $20-$25 pp here, even if you want a light lunch. D2D ordered scrambled eggs with bacon – it looks a bit small…

Peanut butter and jelly milkshake - $8
Peanut butter and jelly milkshake – $8

Onto the milkshake! We tried the jam donut last time which was really nice. Like Reuben Hills, but minus the crazy lines, the milkshakes are good. We got peanut butter and jelly this time, and some thick globs of peanut get sucked up the straw. Yum!

As usual, service is good and food is quick to come out. We’ll be back… and this time, we’ll book the bikes in advance…

Original Post: Feb 2014

Working in the City has a key advantage: most streets are lined with a variety of places to eat. The competition for cafes is stiff, butplaces seem to be filling with people no matter what. People are eating out, having business meetings or grabbing something to go. There’s also a constant popup of new places to try, given the competition is so strong.

A bit hidden along Commonwealth Street, is:

The Paramount Coffee Project

The Paramount Coffee Project
This is The Paramount Coffee Project

We first heard about PCP in TimeOut Sydney, which lauded it as the most beautiful cafe in Sydney CBD (or something along those lines). We weren’t disappointed. High ceilings, doors equally high (welcome giants!) and decked out to be spacious and modern.

The Paramount Coffee Project
Coffee scientists and magicians at work

Friday was our second time at PCP. The first time we came, we were seated here. From these bar seats, you can watch the barista performing what looks like either science or magic! A cool place to sit while waiting for your food.

Cafe counter
Behind the counter

The second time, we’re seated on the other side of the cafe (yes, it’s pretty big). We sit and dream about how we can ‘work from home’ ala ‘work from PCP’.

The menu

The menu has changed since last time we were here. We order two things and a milkshake.

Crab po boy
Crab po boy – $18

A bit expensive for a burger? Maybe, but it’s so delicious! The crab po boy is a softshell crab on super soft buns with slaw and ranch dressing.

Elvis in Cuba
Elvis in Cuba – $19

D2D orders the Elvis in Cuba, which is an Asian-y tasting stack of onion ring, kimchi, pork, kewpie and swiss cheese. You can definitely say they have some interesting things to try here!

Jam Donut Milkshake – $8

Our milkshake is the Jam Donut, which comes topped with little sprinkles! It’s amazing and on par or better than Milk Bar by Cafe Ish (Redfern)! It’s nice and thick, with finely shopped/blended strawberries. Yum!

Situated in the same beautiful place is the Golden Age Cinema, Tokyo Bike and some other little stores.

Tokyo Bike

You can buy bike supplies from here, as well as hire a bike for $20 for the whole day! I was amazed at how cheap this was, considering a hire from Centennial Park or Olympic Park is $20 per hour.

A clothes designer store
A little plant at our table

Was TimeOut Sydney right? I think so! 🙂

The Paramount Coffee Project on Urbanspoon