I got into Sydney on Friday afternoon. The original plan had been to go and see The Force Awakes in Moonlight Cinema, but rain cancelled that plan. So to console ourselves, we started the weekend with some ice cream from my favourite ice cream place, Gelato Blue. The last time I was here in September they had about 8 vegan flavours. In just a few months they now have 20! Plus a cabinet full of great vegan baked treats and a menu of ridiculous vegan sundaes. The still have a few non-vegan flavours, but it is clear the direction they are moving. Hurrah! Leigh got a cup with the Strawberry Raspberry sorbet, and I had a cone with Peanut Butter Cornetto flavour, which is amazing.
For dinner I was keen to try a new-to-me place, Zuzuzu (The Tokyo Noodle Bar), which has a special vegan menu (make sure that you ask for the vegan menu and be sure to specify vegan when ordering). I ordered the Soy Milk Ramen, which was lovely, and some Agedashi Tofu, which was great. Leigh got their vegan bento box and a side of their take on Eggplant Dengaku - they deep fry small pieces of eggplant and top with sauce. I tried a couple of pieces, and while the eggplant was a bit too deep fried for me, the sauce was great!
We headed back to Leigh's place for the night, and I was introduced to RuPaul's Drag Race, which is now my current obsession. On Friday, Leigh had ordered me a My Little Panda Kitchen lunchbox, which included a pulled jackfruit and slaw roll, chickpea salad and chocolate truffles. MLPK is an amazing small business that delivers awesome lunchboxes around Sydney and also makes beautiful cakes (more on that later). I had half of the bun for first breakfast, and it was delicious!
Fortified for the first part of the morning, Leigh and I went through a wander through her neighbourhood on the way to the train station on a kitty hunt. Only two kitties were spotted, but they were so delightful. We also stopped in at Leigh's local vet and I got a very good hugging of their almost clinic cat.
Our first stop in Newtown were the markets to visit the vegan stall Rhubarb Bakes and pick up some goodies. Someone in front of us snaffled the last cinnamon sugar doughnut (curses!), but there were still lots of other treats to choose from. I got a vanilla slice (with passionfruit icing... what is this pink icing business?), a lamington and a chocolate cream filled doughnut to take away for later.
We went to Sadhana Kitchen for second breakfast. We both had the Benedict - black salt and sesame encrusted avocado, marinated mushrooms, coconut bacon, sprouted bread and the 'best hollandaise sauce ever'. First up, the sauce was nice, but not the best ever. I really enjoyed this breakfast. I am not sure I detected any black salt or sesame encrusting my avocado, but avocado is always great. The coconut bacon was the weakest link. It was too tough to cut through, I just kind of had to eat it in a big chewy blob, and it tasted mostly of coconut after a couple of chews, the smoky flavour got lost. Still, a fun breakfast. I had also planned on ordering a juice, but they were out of juice, so I got a Rabbit Hole Chai with soy. This was a large, steaming hot cup. We also met up with our friend Kelsey here, and she had their Maxibonn special, which was a giant ice cream sandwich!
Now, remember I mentioned that My Little Panda Kitchen does cake? Leigh had sweetly ordered a mini-cake so that I could experience some delicious cake while I was in Sydney, and we picked it up from Sadhana. The decorating theme was pink unicorn, which was perfect, and the innards were salted caramel cake with chocolate peanut butter ganache filling. The pink icing was vanilla buttercream. So pretty!
The plan was to wander down Newtown and poke in and out of shops as we went, which we did. We also stopped in at Bliss & Chips, and all-vegan 'Fish' and Chips shop! Now, I have a very low tolerance for deep-fried, and practically everything on the menu is deep fried (as well as vegan fish/seafood and potatoes they also deep fry hotdogs, baked beans, Jokers bars, butter, and pizza!), so Leigh and Kelsey got some chicken nuggets and ships to share and for me to snack on. The nuggets were a bit too fried for me, but I enjoyed the chips, especially with the yummy dill tartare sauce.
After a bit more wandering we came to Superfood Sushi, an all-vegan sushi place I was keen to try. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. First of all, when you take you seat (or even if you just pop your head in to take a look at the menu), the owner insists on explaining the entire menu to you, which is kind of awkward when you just want to have a nice read through the perfectly self-explanatory menu. We ended up sharing a combo platter with the Sweet Kiwi Nut and Magic Mushroom rolls. The Kiwi roll was a bit bland, except for the spicy sauce on top! The black rice is not seasoned. The mushroom roll was much better in terms of flavour, though almost a bit too salty. We each had a 'piece'. Leigh and Kelsey enjoyed their Kimchi and Seaweed inari. I decided to try the 'Super Salmon' watermelon nigiri. While it was nice, it was really just slightly dehydrated watermelon, they didn't seem to have tried to season it at all. This place is a good concept, but I think they to work on their flavours a little bit more.
In the afternoon we went to The Cruelty Free Shop so I could spend a $10 voucher that I had on a few treats. Then we went to meet Leigh's partner at Sappho Books for an afternoon beverage. About this time a massive storm rolled in, so we hid out there until it had passed before hopping a bus back down into Newtown.
Last time I was in Sydney I went to Gigi Pizzeria and it was true love, so we had to go again this time. Arriving at about 6.30, there was no line (last time we got there closer to 8pm and had to wait outside for 45 minutes), and we were ushered straight in. The only downside about Gigi is that they seem to be going for a club vibe rather than a restaurant - they have very loud music playing! Also very low lights, so excuse the dusky pictures.
We started off with the Arancini ai funghi porcini (polenta crumbed porcini mushroom rice balls), which were absolutely delicious! We then decided to go for broke and ordered three pizzas: Funghi e Radicchio (Swiss brown mushrooms, garlic, dairy free blue cheese, parsley, radicchio, & roasted walnuts, extra virgin olive oil), Melanzane (San Marzano tomato, grilled eggplant, cherry tomatoes & basil salsa, extra virgin olive oil) and Cavolo (Cauliflower puree, artichokes, pinenuts, capers, currants, garlic & parsley, extra virgin olive oil). The Melanzane was my favourite, life-changing pizza from my last visit, and once again it did not disappoint. The Funghi pizza was great, though very rich from the blue cheese. I also really liked the Cavolo (I love the cauliflower, currant, pine nut combo), though the toppings were very unevenly distributed so some pieces just seemed to be all artichoke. If you are in Sydney, you must go here, the pizza is so good! We couldn't finish all the pizzas, but that meant we had some left to take home for breakfast the next day. Turns out that these pizzas are amazing cold as well - they passed the most important test of pizza!
Our final stop before we went home was back to Gelato Blue, where we got a take home pack of Watermelon Sorbet and Turkish Delight.
Finally we got home, and decided that the best way to fuel our way through some more RuPaul's Drag Race was with an extreme dessert plate - My Little Panda Kitchen Cake, vanilla slice, lamington, doughnut, ice cream... and some grapes. Also a cup of peppermint tea.
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post
While I am away, my mum puts up photos of the kitties on Instagram for me. Here is Dim Sim, paw outstretched.