Cuckoo Callay (Bacon Festival) | Newtown

Cuckoo Callay manages to steal our hearts again.. and fill them with grease and other god awful ~ yet incredibly tasty ~ food. Introducing the Bacon Festival, a haven for all bacon lovers who are in search of having their bacon fix sorted. If you love bacon, they have you sorted with a whole movie based-pork related menu that takes leaps beyond what can be considered creative. They even have bacon merch such as bacon toothpaste, bacon floss, bacon mints and even a bacon air freshener if the food wasn't enough to subdue your inner bacon-slaying demon.

Mac Daddy
The Mac Daddy was named after the hilarious Big Daddy movie, but after it's huge success at the previous Bacon Festival, we feel a more fitting name is Bacon Wars - return of the Jedi as this mammoth of a baby returns to defeat any evil that stands in between a man and his pork. With layers of double smoked bacon, bacon mac-n-cheese, tomato relish, fried shallots and a 63 degree poached egg - nestled neatly between a toasted croissant. It is pure genius! While it sounds quite over the top and incredibly rich it is in fact the complete opposite and we demolished this thing, crumbs and all! 
We have visited Cuckoo Callay a number of times before and we are not afraid to say that this is the best damned thing that Cuckoo Callay has to offer and that we hope it will continue to form as part of their regular menu.

Silence of the Hams
What a tough act to follow up, the Mac Daddy definitely has won our hearts but the Silence of the Hams has definitely left a lasting memory. While it is difficult to picture the actual serving size of the ham and cheddar croquette is quite impressive. Beneath the thick layer of crunch batter is pure gold - figuratively speaking - oozes the perfect ratio of gooey cheese and ham pieces. This dish however was made to be enjoyed with all elements together on your fork, so we grabbed a big piece of the croquette, some of the pea pannacotta and bacon jam, and soaked it in the perfectly cooked 63 degree poached egg and honey and balsamic glaze. Heaven. The bacon jam is sweet and is what truly makes the Silence of the hams a special dish.

The Transporker
What better to wash down all that bacon with, well you guessed it - some more bacon!
The transporker is a banoffee pie flavoured milkshake that features a bacon rose and is coated by a thick layer of salted caramel and banana chips. The perfect combination if you truly want to show your diet who is the real boss!

This has been the most excited we have been for a restaurant in a long time! The love we have for bacon runs deep and Cuckoo Callay have made us happy with the amazing spread! Go nuts and eat to your hearts content because the bacon festival is only running for 12 weeks and will be finishing up this June.

Cuckoo Callay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Social Hideout | Parramatta

Social Hideout is exactly the opposite to what the name suggests. This cafe has been popping up and around on social media with a colourful take on your standard cafe style breakfast. What looks good in pictures will bring a crowd, so social it may be, but a hideout most definitely not! 

The cafe is bright, warm and welcoming as soon as you step inside. Not to take away from their beautiful outdoor dining area which has a vibrant green backdrop of leaves. It is spacious and fear not as there are plenty of tables both inside and out. We might re-visit again during the colder months as all the outdoor tables will receive a blanket to cozy up to while they eat. It's such a brilliant idea, we can picture ourselves now sipping a warm taro latte under a warm blanket.

The Habib (with added bacon)
Normally considered a vegetarian option with Za'atar poached eggs, beetroot hummus, portobello mushrooms and smashed avocado served on sourdough, with a sprinkle of pomegranates for added sweetness. We love za'atar too much to pass on this option, so we opted to add bacon and Social Hideout was more than happy to accommodate. This is by far some of the best eggs on toast recipes we have tasted. Many cafe's try to include Arabic spice infusions, but none like this before. The flavour of the za'atar is overpowering but in a good way because the mixture of the chickpea and beetroot hummus tone it down to a perfect balance. To put it into perspective, Matt made sure to save one last bite until the end of the meal when we were full and all the meals were done... just to savour the taste on the way home. Wow.

The Frenchy
The french toast is a colourful wonderland of sweets that any kid would love. The amount of sugar in this dish was just about as colourful as it is.. very. We loved the initial few bites, but eventually the sweetness got to us and we had to push it away. It is a beast nonetheless, towering what looks to be at minimum 4 slices of bread and topped with vanilla mascarpone, sticky maple, berries and caramelised bananas.. only the strong of will could demolish this and live to speak of it. If you are crazy enough, you can also add some bacon to mix things up!

F45 Granola Bowl
It is very unusual for us to order the healthy menu item, but the way it describes on the menu made it sound like we were eating a healthy bowl of ice cream or something. The mixture you see before you includes a mixture almonds, pecans, macadamias chia seeds, pear, apple and pomegranate with a large scoop of maple vanilla yogurt. Nothing that tastes this good is usually healthy, can it?
Served in a large bowl, the sizing is generous and it is surprisingly sweet. There is plenty of different textures to keep your mind guessing what you are eating as well. If this is considered healthy, then start my diet now please!

Morning Glory (left) and Iced Taro Latte (right)
Yes you definitely heard correct, taro. Finally a cafe has clued on to the greatness of Taro and just how damn addictive it can be. Plus it works in well with the colourful scheme that the Social Hideout has been focused on. Topped with a mountain of whipped cream, this thing was again very sweet but we'd be damned if we didn't enjoy it to the last sip. While it's not on their menu yet, just make sure to ask the waiter for it as it has soon to be published. The morning glory was also a nice distraction from all the heavily flavoured food. A nice blend of peach, mango and passion fruit was a refreshing choice for what was a warm day.

If only the Social Hideout Cafe was closer to us, we would visit more often. Being situated in Sydney's second CBD makes it tough for us, but surely convenient for many more. There will also be changes coming to their Winter menu and we have already decided to revisit!

Snapshots of Food dined as guests of Social Hideout and CPM Online Marketing 

Social Hideout Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gojima | The Star, Pyrmont

Gojima has done the unthinkable, the indescribable, the likely result of one too many food comas. They have combined our love of burgers, with our second love of sushi. Introducing the sushi burger, in your choice of chicken, beef, vegetarian or seafood with your standard burger toppings, in between two thin layers of rice. The rice is fried, so each bite is just as crunchy as the last. 
Texture is king, and Gojima have nailed it. Located inside The Star Sydney, famous Sokyo chef Chase Kojima came up with this wonderful creation. It seems that recognised chef's are seeing the latest burger trend and finally getting on board after the success Neil Perry had in doing so. Whether you are taking away, or dining in be sure to prepare your taste buds (oh and have tissues ready).

Gojima Chicken Burger
The burger that started the late night sweats we get in the middle of the night when our cravings are going wild. The burger that started all this insanity for us, because it is damn good. The chicken is deep fried and is hella crispy. Worry not because the inside is still very much moist and delicious! Upon the first bite you are welcomed by the crunch in the rice bun, only to then be surprised by yet another layer of crunch in the chicken and subsequently the special sauce that is satisfyingly sweet. The salad goes astray on this burger, but when you bite into a fresh tomato which breaks up the flavours of the chicken it can be quite refreshing.

Gojima Cheeseburger
Angus beef is all the trend and Gojima will not fall second place to quality. The cheeseburger had similar toppings to the chicken burger, but the only difference is the patty and the melted cheese which makes a world of difference. Not only does the cheese help hold the burger in place, it is just a more pleasant experience eating than cold cheese. This was also a great burger, but second to that of the chicken burger who still hails king. It is a nice comparison however to other burger joints who often use milk buns. The difference in the texture of a soft milk bun and the crunch of a rice bun really gives you the a different product all together. 

Fried Chicken and Shoestring Fries
The above just reminds me of two fast food rivals finally coming together after a long war. The brainchild of a southern fried chicken king and a silly clown wearing a jumpsuit.
The Japanese-style fried chicken is not to be discarded. It has a similar batter to the Gojima chicken patty and we are loving every bite. While it's probably best to avoid if you are watching your waist line, the chicken is drenched in oil and is super crunchy. In other words - super satisfying. 

Gojima gets busy during the peak times so expect a wait. We have been lucky enough to arrive just before said peaks on both occasions and have a choice of seat, but it fills up quickly. For all the burger lovers out there, we implore you to give it a try for yourself and let us know what you thought!

We loved it and have been back since - sorry diet you are going on hold.

Gojima Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Johnny Fong's | Mounties, Mount Pritchard

If you are local to Liverpool, Cabramatta or somewhere in between, there's a new Chinese restaurant that opened up in Mounties and guess what, they do yumcha as well (at a reasonable price). We found out the news from mum and dad..  like every other Asian household, that's how you get the local news and goss! We decided to have dinner at Johnny Fong's to celebrate my parent's wedding anniversary. The completed renovation is quite impressive, when we were searching for this place (which was where the old Coffee club was) we turned a corner and literally said 'wow' - it looks so grand, spacious, clean and inviting! 

The service was great and completely different to what you would expect in Cabramatta (comparison with the closest known suburb for Asian cuisine). The food was delicious and we even visited in the following weeks for yumcha.

San Choi Bao, Pork
The reason why we ordered this was all down to the presentation. We noticed the San Choi Bao being served to another table near by and immediately wanted to order it. The staff take the time to serve each San Choi Bow on a plate to you. It tasted quite nice, the juices from the filling drip through your hands as you eat it. Such a satisfying feeling, especially when you are loving the food.

Mud Crab with Salted Egg Yolk Sauce
The mud crab was brought out and wow it looked amazing. Not only was it quite cheap, but the staff also crack the shell for you! You don't understand how much we struggle to crack the shell so this was definitely a highlight for us. In fact, the mud crab had a substantial amount of meat so we weren't scourging through the shell remains to find some. The crab meat was fresh and had it's own beautiful flavour that kept you going back for more, layered with the salted duck egg yolk sauce just made it that much more enjoyable. Well done!

The sizzling beef in Peking sauce was delivered to the table in style. The sizzle of the hot plate really does draw all the attention to your table. Unfortunately it was a little too sweet for our liking and the beef was a little chewy. We regrettably didn't finish this dish and allocated our spare stomach space for the other mains on the table.
Pan Fried Bean Curd with Prawn Paste
These little babies come with a price.. the inability to stop eating. The smooth, silky bean curd and prawn paste filling, encapsulated with a crisp batter... YUM! They tasted great and the sauce served on the side was not required at all, but instead to just amplify the taste. The broccoli is for presentation but is also edible. We didn't touch them because we didn't want to stop eating the main star of the dish.
Osmanthus and Coconut Jelly (left) and Mango Pudding (right)
Osmanthus is a tiny flower with a strong fragrance similar to apricot and are generally found in your traditional tea leaves or in desserts.  It's quite refreshing to eat and complimented well with coconut jelly. The mango pudding was an enjoyable way to end the night. You can also find these in the dessert cart during the yumcha service (along with mango pancakes).

Overall, great service, great food and reasonable prices. Johnny Fong's is the real deal.
We have since revisited a couple times for their yumcha service since writing this post and each time we received the same standard. We have now found a new local lunch, yumcha and dinner restaurant.

Johnny Fong's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dessert Kitchen | Chinatown

Located in Sydney's Chinatown, Dessert Kitchen specializes in delicious desserts with a focus on eating healthy and nutritional. The sugar and fat contents are controlled to ensure desserts are light, while also remaining sweet and enjoyable - win win if you ask me. The desserts are heavily Asian inspired and it reminds me of the time when I was in Hong Kong where food stalls will be serving all kinds of sweets until all hours of the night.

Dessert Kitchen has all my childhood favourites such as tofu with red bean, red date special, sesame soup and walnut soup. The menu also serves the more modernised palettes as well as the creative and wacky desserts you've probably seen on Instagram (the Ice Stream Ramen comes to mind ~ blue noodle ramen). Not to mention the famous wobbly raindrop cake, or otherwise known as the Nippon Warabi!  

We ordered the Taro Taiwan Shaved Ice. Luckily we shared this mammoth dessert as the above picture doesn't do the size justice. This could easily be shared among 4 people, but we were pigs so we ate it all and might we say that we thoroughly enjoyed it. The shaved ice had a really strong taro flavour and the little taro balls on the side gave the dish added texture. Don't forget, this kind of dessert is best eaten when you revert to your child-like instincts! Make stick your purple tongue out at each other!

Dessert Kitchen is usually opened between 2pm to 10pm all nights, the perfect opportunity for a sweet and not-so regretful dessert after work, or after dinner!

Dessert Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato