The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Cool Mac, The Grounds of the City, Joe Dough, Joseph Hyde and more

September 21st, 2017  |  Published in Cafes, Latest, Restaurants  |  1 Comment

Cool Mac in Kirribilli offers a version of avocado on toast that’s a) not boring b) legitimately worth ordering and c) good enough to almost “compel you to give up any shot of housing affordability”. It cross-breeds the breakfast staple with nasu dengaku (miso-glazed eggplant).

You can read my article about the cafe here – it ran in The Sun-Herald last weekend and is now online at the Good Food site. Also on offer at Cool Mac: taco rice, bacon tempura and a breakfast set (above) that includes Hainan tofu as well as agedashi mushroom and eggplant. Shout-outs to Ramen Raff, whose post first inspired me to check out the cafe (check out his write-up here and also keep up with the Slurpfest ramen showdown that he’s running with Rising Sun Workshop – his coverage of the Ramen Ikkyu, Cool Mac and noodle-slingers).

I’ve also recently written about Joseph Hyde in Darlinghurst – a cafe that is literally designed to please everyone. The menu is cleverly configured so that any dish can be pretty much be made vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free in the smallest amount of moves possible. No surprise that it’s such a winner, it’s run by Louise Hunt (Baffi & Mo, Orto Trading Co), who is a cafe veteran.

Joe Dough in Darlinghurst is Dan McGuirt’s attempt to replicate the yeasted doughnuts of his American childhood. It took him endless rounds of experimenting with yeast, water, mixing and temperature – from Doughnut Version 1 to Version 7D, as measured in dumped trays of failed examples – before he created something that instantly took him back to his Michigan adolescence. My favourite is the strawberry doughnut that is so fruity it tastes like a jam jar.

The Grounds of the City in the Sydney CBD – the blockbuster sequel to The Grounds of Alexandria. Even the receipts are pretty are here – so every other detail is levelled up, too. Even the rangehood looks like it could win a beauty contest. As you’d expect from the high production values on show, there’s also a photogenic dessert trolley, steered through the aisles by a tea lady, ready for people to wave down and order just-as-photogenic cakes from. There are coffee tasting boards and an affogato that literally crackles and pops – it’s fun and definitely OTT.

I’ve also written about the upper crusts that rank as Sydney’s best bread for Good Food; to celebrate Time Out Sydney’s 10th birthday issue, I covered Sydney’s honour roll of long-servicing restaurants that have been feeding us well for the last decade.

On Gourmet Traveller site, I interviewed Sasaki’s owner about the venue’s interior and design, all details that instantly evoke Japan as soon as you step inside. “The plates and pottery – I spent close to $25,000,” he says. “For a small restaurant, it’s a lot.”

And for Neighbourhood, I’ve written the back-story to Stanbuli in Enmore, Boon Cafe in Thaitown, Golden Century in Chinatown and Una’s in Darlinghurst:

“I’m quite proud that all the old owners still come and visit,” says [current owner Pieter Van Rijn]. Annie Heibling, who ran Una’s from 1970 to 1997, “still comes for a coffee and a little meal every two to three weeks”. The original Una – who paid the $25 weekly rent with takings from the jukebox – “died 40 odd years ago,” he says. “I don’t know her surname, [but] her daughter was here last year.” One waitress, Debi Kegel, has worked at Una’s since 1985.

One Comment

  1. Andreya says:

    Nice post, food looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the post 🙂

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.

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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.

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