The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Recent eats and other things

February 2nd, 2012  |  Published in Cafes  |  6 Comments

Watermelon cake at Black Star Pastry, Newtown

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.

Granita at Black Star Pastry, Newtown

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
Black Star Pastry, 277 Australia St, Newtown NSW (02) 9557 8656
Oscillate Wildly, 275 Australia Street, Newtown NSW (02) 9517 4700

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Sophie says:

    I love Molly Wizenberg’s podcast Spilled Milk, it’s hilarious and really casual.

  2. Y says:

    Thanks for the Dinner Party Download recommendation – started listening recently and am loving it!

  3. leetranlam says:

    Sophie, I loved Spilled Milk. It’s such a fun take on food.
    Y, I’m so glad you are enjoying Dinner Party Download – it really is a fine mix of content; it’s also good fuel for everyday chitchat – although I have yet to start a conversation with anyone about ‘bone luging’ (it’s so gross)!

  4. tori says:

    Thank you for the Dinner Party Download- have just got hold of it and am loving it. Am also enjoying Jay Rayner’s most recent show on BBC, Kitchen Cabinet.

  5. leetranlam says:

    Tori, thank you for the fine podcast tip! I’ve just downloaded it and it’s going to be good company next time I take a long walk or attack some household chore. So glad you are enjoying Dinner Party Download, it’s a lot of fun.

  6. Jenn says:

    I bought some freeze dried lychee powder in NZ recently, it’s AMAZING! So glad to hear about it being used in a dish in Sydney.

Your Comments



Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

All the good pictures on this blog are by photography ace (and patient boyfriend), Will Reichelt, (all the dodgy ones can be credited to me)!

The lovely banner is by friend and ultra-talented illustrator Grace Lee.

This site redesign was made possible by the next-level generosity and expertise of Daniel Boud, whose code-tinkering ways are only outranked by his seriously inspired way with a camera.

You can read more about my co-conspirators here.

This is a blog I do for pure fun and zero influence – there's no sponsorship, sneaky advertorial or advertising. I pay for all the food mentioned, 'cos it seems the ethical thing to do.


This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.