Here are a few things that preoccupied me, appetite-wise, in the last week.
The Lamington Affogato ($6) at Sample Coffee Bar in Surry Hills. It’s a 2-in-1 megahit of coffee and cake – and a fine enough reason to seek out this new-ish cafe. If you’re looking for (heart) trouble, try its custom Pacemaker blend by Mecca.
Every visit to Black Star Pastry in Newtown seems to have a crush-renewing effect. Sure, it’s easy to have a weakness for its classics – like the Strawberry Watermelon Cake with Rose Cream – but then this great patisserie will “entrap” you even further with a new must-order addition, like the highly summer-compatible Lychee and Malibu Granita ($6.50). Anytime anyone complains about there being nothing good in Sydney, I offer Black Star Pastry as a case-closing example of why they’re wrong.
Next door to the cafe is the excellent Oscillate Wildly. It’s the sort of restaurant where you can’t recall how many times you’ve been (‘cos it’s a many-visit blur), but you clearly remember that each dinner has been reliably brilliant. We recently took some expat friends there – for a wedding present that wouldn’t cause them excess baggage problems when packing for home. Every dish in the set degustation ($100) is spring-loaded with multiple flavours and lively textures. I especially loved the pine mushrooms with “needles” (as chef/owner Karl Firla points out – the luck of having these mushrooms growing in January!). The vego options are so very good and the rose sorbet with freeze-dried lychee and berries, violet and coriander cress was one of many hypercolourful standouts.
And while not strictly edible, I’ve lately been enjoying the Dinner Party Download podcast which has clued me into a) how to make a great Frito Pie (aka “walking tacos”, “tacos in a bag” or, even better, “jailhouse tacos”); b) Chairlift’s ideal playlist for entertaining guests; and c) the fact that Gary Oldman can play guitar upside down. A good gateway episode, if you haven’t listened to this snappy program, is the List Show. It covers upcoming food predictions (doorknobs, blood and bark, anyone?) and other fine conversation-starting topics.
I’m also liking Food Is The New Rock, “a time wasting tumblr blog about musicians who love food, and food people who like music”. Thanks to this procrastination-enabling resource, I’ve learnt that LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is going to launch a coffee range, Wilco does a sideline in selling sandwich bags and “Food is like the new rock n’ roll, and Japanese knives are like the new electric guitar“. Also, Food Is The New Rock’s Twitter account is worth following for amusing samples like this: “Of course @davidchang and @luckypeach’s Peter Meehan met at a @theholdsteady concert.” Well, of course.
PS I’d love to know your favourite food-related podcasts and the unconventional food blogs you like to bookmark.
Sample Coffee Bar, 1A/118 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, NSW samplecoffee.com.au
Black Star Pastry, 277 Australia St, Newtown NSW (02) 9557 8656 www.blackstarpastry.com.au
Oscillate Wildly, 275 Australia Street, Newtown NSW (02) 9517 4700 www.oscillatewildly.com.au