Bars outside Sydney’s CBD

Are you looking for a new local bar? Well you’ve come to the right place – we’ve discovered bars from Coogee to Penrith.

Now that we have arrived in Winter, we like to avoid venturing out too far in the night. The cold just isn’t worth the trip into Sydney’s CBD to visit the bars in there. We’ve done a bit of research to assist you staying warm and found bars all over the suburbs. Maybe your next bar trip will be just round the corner?

1. Hendriks, Crows Nest

Hendriks, located in Crows Nest is a small bar with a huge wine list (100 bottles to choose from). For those on the lower north shore, if you can’t find a wine you enjoy here – we can’t help you haha! We have heard the highlight of this bar isn’t the wine list though, but instead it is their Jaffles. They are giant and come in flavours including mushroom, cheese, beef, chicken and even a Nutella one for dessert!

2. Una Mas, Coogee

If you enjoy tapas and wine, Una Mas at Coogee is the place for you. It is inside Coogee Pavilion, right off the famous beach. You’ll find some unique Spanish and Australian dishes here plus an array of cocktails and affordable wines. We are eyeing off the octopus with fermented chilli (which we can’t find a picture of but it sounds good on the menu)!

3. Sake Restaurant and Bar, Manly

If looking over the water and eating Japanese food is your style, this is the place for you. For those on the Northern Beaches – if you thought the 100 bottle wine list previously mentioned was a lot, it has been outdone by Sake with a list of 150 bottles! They also have $10 spritzes during certain hours on weekdays.

4. Pickled Bear, Bella Vista

The Pickled Bear, located in Sydney’s Hills District, is the perfect local bar if you like cheese boards and meat. There are some great cocktails on this menu, we are having trouble deciding which one we could pick. We do know what we would choose to eat though – The Charcuterie Plate! We would recommend you book an inside table to stay extra warm haha.

5. Mr Watkins, Penrith

And lastly, we have Penrith who host Mr Watkins Bar. You’ll find hotdogs and a great wine list ready for you 6 days a week. They also have trivia night one day per week (currently on Tuesdays). With Penrith being about 40kms from Sydney’s CBD this means you can save so much time on transport and spend more time being warm!

We hope you have found a new local bar to visit during these colder months!

Have you seen our latest blog on the new US diner in Marrickville?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

US Diner in Marrickville ? Valentinas Sydney

If you’ve always wanted to dine at an American roadside diner, there is now one in Sydney!

If you’ve ever watched a few US movies and wished to dine at one of their roadside diners, you no longer have to travel all the way there. Valentinas Sydney, has recently opened in Marrickville and is inspired by long road trips in the USA. We’ve done the research for you, so you know exactly what to expect when you arrive.

Now lets start with the most important element, the style and decor – yes when you walk into this diner you will feel like you walked straight into a US movie set. All the little details come together and make the experience exceptional. If you’ve ever been to the US, you would know how wonderful the service is there – and Valentinas brings that same friendly service to our doorstep.

Once you are seated, you’ll find yourself with a diner style menu with a few US favourites. You’ll also find vegan and gluten-free options available to suit dietary requirements. There are menus for breakfast and lunch and there are even some delicious looking fried chicken items! Of course, it wouldn’t be American without some delicious doughnuts to have for dessert… or lunch. The breakfast menu is all day and you can order lunch from 11am.

And lastly, we have read that the coffee is great here and it is served in diner style mugs – and that is important to us Aussies, as we have the best coffee in the world.

We hope you enjoyed this blog, let us know your review if you end up going to Valentinas!

Have you seen our latest blog on why Starbucks always get your name wrong?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

Sydney’s restaurants in the Crown

You may be wondering what the new Crown Sydney has to offer in the dining department? We’ve listed all your options below.

Over the past few years, if you’ve driven into Sydney’s CBD, you have definitely seen the construction of the Crown Tower. Now that they are open for business, there are 11 new restaurants and bars you can try, all in the heart of the city.

1. Nobu

If you know your international dining, Nobu is a big deal and has even had praise in the Michelin Guide. This is fine dining at its best, with world-class wines, local produce and Japanese tradition. To top it off, you have beautiful views from straight out over Sydney Harbour in a stylishly designed restaurant.

Photography – Crown Sydney

2. Epicurean

One of the Crown’s all day dining options is Epicurean. This restaurant’s menu features dishes from across the globe with many varying cuisines to select from. The menu here will change as Australia’s seasonal produce goes through the year. And we have heard there is a decent dessert bar to complete your dining experience.

3. TWR

TWR stands for The Waiting Room and is your typical hotel bar. If you’re looking for cocktails, spirits or a vintage champagne this is the place for you. For those of you who work in the CBD, this would be the perfect location to unwind and socialise after a long day in the office. They also have a small food menu here as well, including oysters and club sandwiches.

Photography – Crown Sydney

4. a’Mare Restaurant

Another Crown restaurant in Sydney is a’Mare. Another changing menu (don’t get too hooked on your favourite dish) includes seasonal Italian produce and simple ingredients that showcases a time when food was ‘simply delicious’. This will be your new go to traditional Italian restaurant.

5. Woodcut

Of course the Crown were also going to include a Modern Australian dining experience. The name Woodcut comes from the traditional methods of cooking and simply cooked dishes. They claim that this is an experience that cannot be replicated and will be a one of a kind dining experience for visitors.

Photography – Crown Sydney

6. Silks Restaurant

Included in their range of restaurants is Silks, a Chinese fine dining experience. At lunch time, you’ll be able to enjoy the Yum Cha menu and for dinner, they offer an à la carte menu. The restaurant is designed to look like a Chinese mansion with stunning views over the city. Some of the images of the dim sims here look amazing – we haven’t seen anything like it.

7. CIRQ

If you’re after panoramic views of Sydney, this is the terrace bar you must come to. On floor 26, you will find indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy a drink with a stunning view. Similar to the other bar, you will find fine wines and cocktails with a native twist. There is also a food menu here, with tapas style dishes to share.

Photography – Crown Sydney

8. The Tea House

If you’re looking for a cocktail bar, you will find The Tea House amongst the Crown restaurants in Sydney. Here you will find bespoke cocktails and the best the globe has to offer in champagne. The food menu includes sweet and savoury Asian dishes for you to enjoy. The decor in this cocktail bar is amazing and really gives you that luxury feel.

9. Youshii’s Omakase

Now we are getting really fancy. This is a 10 seat private dining experience in Nobu. Youshii is known as one of the leading sushi masters in Australia. You’ll also get to watch him craft the food right in front of you. With fresh seafood and a sushi master in charge this will be a one of a kind experience – especially for a sushi enthusiast.

10. 88 Noodle

If you love hot pot and Chinese, 88 Noodle is calling your name. You will find traditional dishes from Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia on this menu and plenty of noodles. 88 Noodle has an open kitchen so you can view the chef in his element and watch as you order comes to life. I can imagine the smell in here would be amazing.

Photography – Crown Sydney

11. Il Caffé

With the boarders shut in Australia, if you are missing all the traditional cafes you would usually find in Italy, this will be the place for you. The menu includes a range of breakfast and lunch classics – all fresh and full of flavour. They also have homemade gelato which you will definitely find us at during the warmer months. This is also more of a casual experience compared to all the Crown restaurants we listed above and perfect for the family.

If you’re not a wine or champagne expert, it might be wise to do some reading up on what’s what before you enter these restaurants which may have an overwhelming selection to pick from. We would recommend The Essential Guide to Wine.

Have you seen our latest blog on the best restaurants in Airlie Beach?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

What food can you only get in Australia?

Looking for food you can only get in Australia? You’ve come to the right place, check out our list.

Hopefully this isn’t news to you, but us Aussies are all stuck in Australia for quite some time (thanks to COVID) and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We’ve noticed most blogs have been showcasing some of the beautiful places in Australia you can visit. However, we haven’t seen anyone speak about the foods you can only get here or would find hard to source elsewhere. So lets get started on what food can you only get in Australia!

1. Meat Pie

You’d be surprised to know, meat pies are hard to find in some other countries. They mainly seem to sell sweet pies. The Aussie meat pie is a classic in our culture and there are so many varieties to pick from. You can find them in most bakeries and cafes and are a great on the go treat. Where would we recommend you get your next pie? Our choice would be Glenorie Bakery!

2. Tim Tam

I don’t think any biscuit will come close to beating the Aussie Tim Tam. You often here people who move overseas complaining about missing this one! Every Australian can describe this as a chocolate biscuit that is coated in a layer of chocolate and also has a hidden creamy chocolate center. Our favourite thing to do, is to drip it into a hot drink and enjoy the melted version!

3. Chicken Salt

Once you try chicken salt on your chips you can’t go back to regular salt. However, if you go overseas you will have to go back to your regular salt ways. Every take-away and cafe seems to have chicken salt in Australia these days and it’s easy to understand way. Here is a picture of some chips to make you hungry!

4. Lamingtons

Lamingtons remind me of my school lunch box growing up. A delicious treat we have all grown up loving. It is a sponge cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut and can be found in all supermarkets and many cafes in Australia. If you love chocolate and coconut flavours, this is your perfect treat.

5. Golden Gaytime

And last but not least, one dessert you can only get in Australia is the Golden Gaytime. I don’t think any other ice-cream comes close to this. It is perfect on a hot Australian day and all the flavours mixed together can’t be beaten. You’ll find vanilla and toffee ice-cream in the middle then it is dipped in chocolate and coated in biscuit crumbs. I might go get one right now.

While we are all stuck here in Australia, we should enjoy it and make the most of our time. Travel as far as you can around the country and enjoy the foods you can’t find anywhere else. Let us know if you have any other foods we should add to this list! We hope you enjoyed our blog on what food can you only get in Australia.

We’ve also recently been reading Matt Moran’s Australian Food book which has plenty of great Australian cooking ideas if you’re interested.

Have you seen our latest blog on places to double your dine and discover vouchers?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

Double your Dine & Discover vouchers in Sydney

Make the most of your Dine & Discover vouchers! Here are some places that are doubling your discount.

If you’re a Sydney resident, you would have received your Dine & Discover vouchers from Service NSW over the past few weeks. Some cafes and restaurants have decided to double this offer the NSW Government is giving out and on top of the $25 you already get off the bill, they will give you a further $25 off!

Without any further delay, here are some places you can visit to make the most of your Dine & Discover voucher and double your discount.

Bungalow8, Sydney

Situated just out of the Sydney CBD, Bungalow8 surprises you with its beachside tropical vibes. Being right on the waterfront you can enjoy a cocktail and meal and feel as though you are on holiday. The day time at Bungalow8 is quite relaxed, while the night is more of the party scene.

With a doubled Dine & Discover voucher, you can’t pass this option.

Park House, Mona Vale

The Northern Beaches of Sydney is quite the hot spot and it comes with many delicious meal options. Park House in Mona Vale is great in our perfect Sydney weather with their outdoor seating and social spaces. On their menu you can find your classic pub meals with a few specials if you are wanting something a bit different.

If you’re on the Northern Beaches and wanting to double your Dine & Discover voucher, here is your place.

The Fiddler, Rouse Hill

For those out in the Hills District, The Fiddler is a popular location since it was refurbished a number of years ago. With many dining options to pick from, you can decide if you wish to relax at a cozy table or sit by the bar. The outdoor courtyard area is stylishly designed and perfect on a nice sunny day.

You’ll definitely enjoy the food here and you’ll enjoy it even more when you double your Dine & Discover voucher.

Easy Lane, Windsor

The rural Hawkesbury region now has quite a few good meal options. One of those being Easy Lane, that is situated inside Windsor RSL. Easy Lane has all your classic meals as well as a few specials. It is a little smaller than your usual RSL, but the food and atmosphere make up for it.

It is also a nice drive out here if you aren’t a local. Road trip plus a doubled Dine & Discover voucher sound good to me.

Camden Valley Inn, Cawdor

Another rural location is in Cawdor in the Macarthur region of Sydney. Camden Valley Inn is a unique country side pub/hotel with beautiful scenery. This is your ultimate casual dining experience and there is plenty of space for everyone. There is even a playground for the kids!

This sounds like heaven – a playground for the kids and a doubled dine & discover voucher!

Enjoy your meals and savings! Let us know if you know any other places offering to double the vouchers.

Have you thought about creating memories of outings like these with your family? We’ve been loving polaroid cameras lately and how quick and easy they are to take and store photos with. Amazon sell the Fujifilm one which is great, you can find it here.

Have you seen our latest blog on our Sydney Cafe Guide: Suburbs starting with A?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

A morning in Berry NSW

Are you planning a trip to Berry? Here is a guide to how we would spend our morning there and what we would suggest.

We’ve recently went a mini road trip down to Berry NSW, about 2.5 hours from Sydney. The historic town is a hotspot for Sydney tourist and it so much to offer. If you’re going on the weekend, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of people you see there. So, we’ve put a quick guide together to help you avoid the crowds and make the best of your time.

Breakfast

The best time to arrive in Berry is breakfast time, we’d suggest you get there before 10am as this is when everyone seems to arrive. You should also do your research on your food options – as there are a few cafes that aren’t on the main strip and are delicious and less crowded. Our first stop was The Hungry Monkey, which is a 2 minute walk back from the main strip, you are also able to book a table here. The brunch here is tasty and nicely presented (see image below) and they also seem to have some great burgers for lunch and dinner. I got the corn fritters, and I must admit, they are some of the best fritters I have had.

Snack

You can’t go to Berry and not visit the famous Doughnut Van. This van has been around forever and an iconic spot on the main strip. We arrived here at about 11am and seemed to just miss the huge line that developed behind us. The doughnuts here are made fresh to order but you won’t have to wait to long either, 5 minutes tops once you order. Nothing beats the hot doughnuts from here – they also serve drinks as well!

Activities

You should be nice and full now. Next we would suggest, exploring the town. There are usually markets on the weekends and the shops in the area have some lovely items. Our last stop on the way back home was Kiama, only about 20 minutes back towards Sydney. You’ll be able to visit another south coast icon – the Kiama Blowhole. It doesn’t matter how many times you see it, it continues to amaze you – we were lucky the sea was rough the day we visited. We were still full from Berry but if you get peckish, there are plenty of cafes along the water for you to pick from in Kiama.

We hope you can enjoy your road trip down to Berry NSW. If you want to learn more about some good road trips in Australia, we’d suggest you look at the Ultimate Road Trips: Australia book for some awesome ideas!

Have you seen our latest blog on which restaurants to visit in Sydney if you’re allergic to everything?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

A Cafe’s Guide: Working with Food Bloggers

Approaching food bloggers for your marketing is pretty fool-proof. You are on display to thousands of their followers at little cost to yourself. Compared to advertising in the mainstream media, it is a smart move.

We have noticed recently we are getting a lot more requests from cafes and restaurants regarding using our foodie Instagram to promote their business. While some cafes have gotten straight to the point and know exactly what they want, there are also places that are new to the game and aren’t sure what to expect.

We have put together a small guide to point you in the right direction and answer some of your questions.

Selecting your food bloggers

We would recommend you select quite a few. If you have a few bloggers all posting at the same time about your business, your food takes over everyone’s timelines and makes people interested in why so many people are visiting you. You also need to think about the right food bloggers for you, do they usually post the food you serve? do they post close up images of food or flat lays? do they mainly focus on cafes/restaurants or home cooking products? All of these elements matter depending on what you’re looking for.

man taking picture of food on top of table inside restaurant
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

How many followers should they have?

Once someone hits 1-2K followers, I believe they start having a decent following. Generally the more followers you have the small your engagement rate is, so keep that in mind when you approach the big guys. Of course you need to be careful of people who buy followers. You can generally check by looking at their followers list and seeing if the followers look real/are from the same country or state.

How to approach your selected food bloggers?

A simple Instagram DM is usually the best way to get a quick response. You should introduce yourself and be clear you want to collaborate. I find it best when they know what they want to acheive (eg. 2 posts and 3 instagram stories). Also be open to dates and times, don’t make them only come at awkward times of the day when you’re quiet.

Make sure your staff are prepared

You think this would be obvious, but we have arrived at cafes and the staff have no idea the manager organised for us to come. It becomes awkward when I need to show messages and prove I’m not making it up.

cheerful black waitress standing at counter
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Don’t change your dishes for us

You should serve us exactly what you would serve any other person. A few times we have been given huge proportions and then realised this isn’t a normal dish and when we post the image, it’s basically a catfish version of what they will really get. While we appreciate you going above and beyond, we want to showcase to our followers what they would actually get, if they decided to visit you. BUT do put us in a good seat next to natural light for our photos.

What are the costs involved for you?

Most bloggers will be happy to come along as long as you provide the meal. You definitely can’t expect people to go out of there way, showcase your food – and pay for it (yes we have been asked to pay for it before). Larger bloggers may requirement payment – you will have to deal with this on a case by case basis.

And to conclude, in no way are we complaining about anyone that has approached us. We are so greatful for every experience we have had. This is just a guide to help you, next time you are looking into food bloggers for your marketing.

Have you seen our latest blog on The Hideout Cafe and Pizza?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

Can greenhouses solve social distancing?

We’re sure many of you have been out since the restrictions in Australia have been lifted. Now restaurants and cafes are allowed to open as long as the follow the 1.4 social distancing rule. However, we’ve found that when we have been out dining, there may be the right amount in the space to keep the 1.4 distance but they put everyone cramped into one section. Should we be concerned if we can touch the people on the table behind us? What if we told you there are greenhouse restaurants trying to solve the problem?

Where can you find them?

We have recently come across a restaurant in Amsterdam, Mediamatic, that has used greenhouses to make sure everyone is spread out. Many restaurants have tried to be creative with ways to stand out with concepts to control social distancing. However, this would have to be our favourite!. Should there be more greenhouse restaurants?

greenhouse restaurants
Photography – news.com.au

According to the Government, these sort of measures are unnecessary, but it is a great concept for those who are more at risk of the illness or those that feel uncomfortable going to a normal dining experience. And lets not forget the Instagramers who would love this idea simply for the Instagram photo (us).

This made us think, the amount of trust we are putting in restaurants and cafes to do the right thing and keep us safe. Have they wiped down everything? did they wash their hands? Are the staff being honest about their health? On the other hand are all the guests being honest about their health? The questions are endless!

greenhouse restaurants
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Nevertheless, good luck and be safe, wherever you decide to eat! Hopefully we can find more greenhouse restaurants popping up!

Have you seen our latest blog on solo dining options in Sydney?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

Review: The Hideout Cafe & Pizza

We spend our days trying to find new, exciting and hidden cafes around Sydney and just when we thought we had found them all, along comes a café that was in hiding.

The Hideout Café is surrounded by houses in the backstreets of Old Toongabbie just off Old Windsor Road. It looks like your average take-away, however, once you sample that menu, average gives way to amazing!

What did we have?

The choices on this menu are endless. Your breakfast, brunch, lunch and pizza cravings are sorted. We started with the Smoked Salmon with spinach and avocado on sourdough. A delicious dish with fresh ingredients, the sourdough with a good spread of cream cheese. Next we devoured the Vegetarian Stack consisting of our favourite “haloumi”, spinach, mushrooms, avocado, hash brown, grilled tomato on sourdough with two perfectly cooked poached eggs. Add a dash of basil pesto and you have a dish to satisfy plenty of tastes. To finish – a sweet dish to balance out the morning – Acai Bowl with crunchy granola, almonds, banana, kiwi and strawberries. Delishous! The Chai Latte and Soy Cap lived up to our standards.

Hidden Cafes - The Hideout Cafe & Pizza
Photography – What the Haloumi

The lunch menu also includes sandwiches and wraps, pizzas, burgers, fish and chips, skewers etc.. If you are looking for a new café, this is definitely worth a try. It is a busy place and that usually means one thing, and the staff are super friendly – always a plus!

We will definitely be returning to sample the delicious lunch menu.

Hidden Cafes - The Hideout Cafe and Pizza
Photography – What the Haloumi

Do you know any hidden cafes around Sydney? We’d love to hear about them!

Have you seen our latest blog on the best places for solo dining in Sydney?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!

Solo dining in Sydney? Here is where to go!

Are you a Sydney-sider wanting to eat out but you’re all alone? Or are you on the trip to Sydney by yourself and want to eat out? Well, not to fear, there are plenty of places to eat without feeling awkward that you are alone. You want to avoid quiet places or places like yum cha where it is probably best to have a companion. Or buffets, because who is going to mind the table haha? So, here is our list of where we would eat if we were solo dining in Sydney.

1. Sushi Rio

We personally can’t think of a better option than a sushi train. There are no tables and everyone is sitting along a bench facing the train, nothing awkward about that right? You can casually pick the options you want off the sushi train without anyone noticing you are all alone. Sushi Rio would be our pick if you are in the Sydney CBD. They have a lot of options and it is super fresh!

Where can you find them: Shop 7/339A Sussex St, Sydney (you can also find them in Westfield Sydney and Bondi)
When are they open: Mon-Sun 12pm-10pm but open till 11pm on Fri-Sat

solo dining sydney
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

2. Jimmy’s Recipe

Next on our list of options for solo dining in Sydney is Jimmy’s Recipe. During the week at lunch time this place is super busy. You order at the counter and your food is generally ready within the minute, so there is no awkward waiting around. Then you are off to find a table, it is so busy and fast paced in there, that no one will notice you are alone. Plus there are usually quite a few solo diners on their lunch break from work. We always get the Laksa from here, it’s the best!

Where can you find them: Ground Floor/500 George St, Sydney
When are they open: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm Mon-Tues 10am-6pm Wed 10am-7pm Thurs 10am-9pm and Fri 10am-8pm

3. Mister Gee Burger Truck

Last but not least, for our solo dining options in Sydney we had to add a burger truck. There is nothing awkward about ordering from these and taking a seat in a park and enjoying your meal. We picked Mister Gee Burger Truck and their burgers never disappointed. Oh and the loaded fries are amazing too! The good thing about food trucks in general is that they move around so you are bound to find one near you.

Where can you find them: Check their Instagram, they move around to different locations (this week they are at 16 George St, North Strathfield)
When are they open: Depends on where they are

solo dining sydney
Photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash

Enjoy your solo dining in Sydney!

Have you seen our latest blog on takeaway options in isolation?

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with where are we eating: https://www.instagram.com/whatthehaloumi and subscribe to our newsletter for our next article!