30 May 2022

Sponsored Post: Prawntastic eats to try in Chatswood (May 2022)

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Prawntastic Eats to Try @ Visit Chatswood
Prawntastic eats in Chatswood

I’ve been a long time lover of prawns, as you’ll see on Simon Food Favourites and I’m a big fan of just the simple and classic fresh cooked prawns with some lemon and seafood sauce. But they’re also a versatile ingredient for dishes and tend to be a good carrier of flavour so I searched for a few noteworthy prawn dishes in Chatswood to tempt other prawn enthusiasts. 

Chat Thai @chatthai_official 
Shop 12, Chatswood Place, 260 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067 

Goong mar kham - Tempura King Prawns, tamarind sauce, fried shallots and smoked chillies ($26, 4 pieces) is a great tasting dish with thin and crispy batter and a good amount of tamarind sauce. Serves well as an entrée to share or just enjoy all to yourself with perhaps a green papaya salad.
Amah by Ho Jiak @amah.hojiak 
Chatswood Interchange Level 3 K1 & K2, 436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067 

Wok fried king prawns with dried sarawak black pepper curry ($37) is served with ten large sized prawns that capture all the flavour from the sauce with a good char and aren’t too spicy. I’d definitely be happy to order this again and it goes well with a bowl of steamed rice. The dish is part of the Amah Tasting Menu so it must be a dish the restaurant is proud to serve as one of their signature dishes. Another dish I spotted worth keeping note of is the Salted Duck Egg King Prawns which I’m sure will be a crowd pleaser for any Malaysian.
Mama Mulan @mamamulanrestaurant 
Level 1, The Concourse, Chatswood NSW 2067 
Salt & Pepper XL King Prawns ($36, 4 pieces) is quite the sight when served at the table. The prawn is encased in a crisp batter and looks massive. Once you peel away the prawn head and batter you’re left with the juicy meat ready to dip in the crispy flavoured crumbs. Be sure not to burn your fingers while peeling away the hot batter. Plastic gloves and tongs provided but it’s a finger-licking dish so I recommend enjoying it how nature intended — with your fingers. It’s definitely a dish to share and go easy on the batter to save room for other dishes.
Lilong by Taste of Shanghai @lilongrestaurant 
Shop 68, Chatswood Interchange Level 3/436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067 
For a bit of table theatre of sight, smell and sound the Garlic King Prawns served on a sizzling plate ($30.80) hits the spot. Ten prawns mixed with snow peas, carrot, onion and wood ear mushroom are smothered with garlic. If garlic isn’t quite your thing I was also tempted by the King prawns flash fried in XO sauce served with vermicelli and Prawn and rice crackers in sweet and sour sauce which both sounded pretty good as well — maybe for next time.
Sushi Kaido @sushikaido 
7/376 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067 
I must say Sushi Kaido is such a highly popular Japanese restaurant with queues always outside so plan your visit well to avoid the crowd or grab a number from service and prepare to wait. Once you’re seated in the inner sanctum you’ll soon understand why it’s so popular with every dish freshly made to order by the meticulous chefs. There’s plenty of prawn options like Pink Prawn Aburi ($7) and Cheese Aburi Prawn ($8) which are great but I’d also recommend the Prawn Tempura ($4.30) if you love a bit of deep fried panko crumbing. I also tried the Ebi fry ($6), Prawn salad ship ($4.80) and Prawn nigiri ($4.80) that were also good additions to the prawntastic eating feast for one. I look forward to revisiting to try more of the menu.

Sponsored Post: Babyccinos to please the little one in Chatswood (May 2022)

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Babyccinos to please the little one @ Visit Chatswood
Babyccinos in Chatswood 

As a dad of two girls I’m no stranger to ordering a few babyccinos in my time. Actually you’ll find over 130 of them reviewed on Simon Food Favourites from all over Sydney. It’s definitely helped to entertain them while I grab a few quick moments to enjoy a coffee but I’ve also learnt not all babyccinos are made equal. Here’s some of the ones I’ve discovered in Chatswood worth keeping in mind. 

DOKI DOKI @dokidoki.chatswood 
Shop 4/409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

DOKI DOKI are doing a great Babyccino ($1.80) and tick many of the boxes you’d want to see. Paper cup — so there’s nothing to break — some cute smiley art with chocolate sauce, colourful sprinkles, and a marshmallow on the side. It’s about one third froth so you’ll still need to keep an eye on your little one if their motor skills are still in their infancy. Lovely polite service and has a nice quiet outlook towards The Concourse. 

Sugar ’n Spice @sugarnspicecc 
Shop G56, Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre 345 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

Another creative Babyccino ($3) with plenty of colour, and sugar, is from Sugar ’n Spice. You’ll find it’s mostly froth which will always help minimise spillage if the paper cup is accidentally knocked over. The colour sprinkles, mini marshmallows, chocolate dusting and chocolate sauce is bound to please the fussiest of babyccino connoisseurs. Service is friendly and the pleasant comfy seating provides a nice oasis away from the busy shopping centre. 

Apothecary Coffee @apothecarycoffee 
6 Mcintosh St, Chatswood NSW 2067

For a chocolate lovers Babyccino ($2.50) with all money raised going to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation (so far $2027.45 to date), check out Apothecary Coffee. The Belgian chocolate dipped straw and chocolate surprise down the bottom of the cup makes this one a gateway version to a hot chocolate. About a third froth and in a real cup is probably better suited for the older child. Two marshmallows and chocolate dusting complete the sugar hit while parents can enjoy their house roasted blend coffee. 

Gram Café @gram_pancakes_australia 
Shop 67, Level 3/436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

Mostly known for their soft three-tiered Japanese soufflé pancakes, Gram Cafe still do a nice Babyccino ($1.90) that’s about half froth in a real cup complete with marshmallow, sprinkles and chocolate dusting. If the kids are being well behaved it’s a good opportunity to share one of their pancakes in the comfy seating and quiet space. 

Salt & Light Café @saltandlight.cafe 
Shop 23/455 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

The Babyccino ($1.50) at Salt & Light Café with marshmallow capped straw is milkier than frothy and suited for the clumsy-handed baby on the go with lid and straw securely intact — or for the older kid that’s no longer interested in airy froth. Prams can be easily parked around the outside courtyard seating on Chatswood Mall which can be a blessing for mothers groups, and screaming babies can make as much noise as they want without disturbing any of the café diners inside. 

Amie coffee @amie.coffee
Shop 6/409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

For the slightly more health conscious Babyccino ($1) that doesn’t come with a marshmallow you might consider Amie. Paper cup with about a quarter froth and chocolate dusting resembles more a cappuccino without the coffee. The benefit of this upstairs hidden retreat with nice atmosphere, and pleasant background music is they also make a great coffee using Market Lane Coffee from Melbourne. It’s a peaceful spot so best to visit when the kids are in a good mood to keep it that way for other customers.

11 May 2022

Sponsored Post: Campsie Street Festival, 21-22 May 2022, 11am-8pm

Food stalls + music + art + kids games

For one weekend only, the heart of Campsie will be transformed into a buzzing street festival, with a range of food stalls dishing out mouth-watering Chinese-Malaysian cuisine. 

Sydney dining institution Albee’s Kitchen will be serving up some of their famous Malaysian food – expect exciting specialty rice and noodle dishes, moreish tapioca and sesame inspired desserts, and refreshing drinks to delight your tastebuds. 

Albee’s will be joined by other neighbourhood favourites such as Malaysia Hometown Hawker, who are known for their range of authentic Malaysian dishes, Hexin Bros, with tasty homestyle dumplings and noodles, and craft bakery S.Wheaty, dishing up a delectable selection of sweet treats. 

A pop-up Tiger Beer bar will also be running all weekend, where a selection of brews and cheeky beverages will be available. 

Meanwhile, there will be a dedicated durian stall offering durians for sale and feasting – and for those who have never tried durian ice-cream, there will be the opportunity to get your hands on Duria Australia's new Musang King 3D ice-creams. 

#campsiestreetfestival #whereinterestinghappens
Images supplied by Campsie Street Festival

09 May 2022

Sponsored Post: Chatswood Nights Roaming Gnomes, 6–29 May 2022

10 eats to try in Chatswood

Chatswood Nights Roaming Gnomes has arrived in Chatswood featuring 12 large scale inflatable Gnomes (some are 10 metres high) and an animated projection each night from 6 pm on The Concourse façade featuring the Gnomes travelling around the world. 

There are 12 international food trails highlighting some of the best dishes from a certain country or region – and Simon Food Favourites reviewed France, Spain, Germany as Raphael the Gnome, and Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia as Hugo the Gnome

Every Friday night there is world music from the train station down to Chatswood Place AND there is also a competition to win over $20,000 worth of prizes. Travel the world in Chatswood over the next 23 nights from 6–29 May. 

Chatswood Nights - Roaming Gnomes is funded by the NSW Government's CBDs Revitalisation Program, part of Willoughby City Council's Chatswood Culture Bites Program. 

Spain, France and German Food Trail 
Upon arrival at Chatswood Mall Market I discovered a fantastic variety of food stalls on offer. To help kickstart the day I decided to go for a sweet rather than savoury crepe with the tempting Gourmet Nutella crepe with strawberries and cream ($13) from Crepes Mademoiselle. I always love watching the skill and art of a thin crepe being made to order with the batter being poured onto a traditional round hot plate crepe maker and then evenly spread out using the crepe spreader tool. Plenty of Nutella filled the crepe before being folded and topped with fresh strawberries and two good sized piles of cream. The wait is worth it and be sure to eat quickly before the cream melts too much on the warm crepe. 
Chatswood Mall Market, Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Paella Mixta at La Flamenca Paella 
Chatswood Mall Market is home to some authentic Spanish food from La Flamenca, paella in particular. I chose the Paella Mixta ($16) because I love trying a bit of everything. It’s a combination of rice, calamari, mussel, king prawns, chicken, onion, garlic, tomato, green beans, extra virgin olive oil, saffron, paprika and homemade chicken stock. It’s a mellow yet tasty dish served up hot from a huge paella pan which first drew me in from the delightful cooking aroma. Great to see such a well-known dish of Spanish cuisine that originated in Valencia being found in the heart of a very Asian cuisine oriented suburb. 
Chatswood Mall Market, Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Schweineschnitzel at The Bavarian 
My part-European heritage always has a soft spot for a good schnitzel as a comfort food dish. Schweineschnitzel - giant 300g pork schnitzel, cabbage slaw, lemon and fries ($26) at The Bavarian is pretty true to its name and quite a feast for one so be warned. A generous sized crunchy golden crumb around moist meaty pork to please. I love a good cabbage slaw to help cut through the meat-fest and the crispy beer battered fries are on standby to add extra help in lining the stomach, there is also a 500 ml or 1 litre stein beer glass of German beers available to help wash it all down. You’ll certainly be full and satisfied for the rest of the day as you roll out of the restaurant. 
Chatswood Central, Shop 4-6, 1-5 Railway St, Chatswood NSW 2067
Churros and milk chocolate at San Churro 
How can I resist some Churros and milk chocolate dip ($10.95) at San Churro located in Westfield Chatswood. I love donuts and these long corrugated sticks are like the Spanish version of donuts. I have fond memories of eating these in Spain freshly extruded and cooked in oil to a thin crisp shell and soft inner texture. I remember the ones I had in Spain were a bit thicker in size but these ones are still a joy for a simple sugar hit. They go well with a coffee or simply on their own. I even noticed you can get a churro filled with Spanish choc-hazelnut — oh yes please, maybe next time. 
Westfield Chatswood, Shop 609, 1 Anderson Street, Chatswood NSW 2067
Macarons at Pattison’s Patisserie 
When I visited Paris many years ago I had to see the Eiffel Tower and visit Ladurée for macarons so when in Chatswood if you’re craving those famed French treats you can get a mixed box of macarons ($18.50, 6 pieces) at Pattison’s Patisserie located in Chatswood Chase and Westfield Chatswood. I always find the hardest decision is trying to choose which flavour as there’s so many to choose from. I chose Pistachio, Fairy sprinkles, Passion fruit, Red velvet, Raspberry & Cream and Honeycomb — Honeycomb was the favourite. Other flavours available are Nutella, raspberry, salted caramel and chocolate which would be classic flavour winners I’m sure. If you’ve never had a macaron they generally have a light crisp outer meringue shell with a slight chewy texture and creamy filling. For me the best ones have distinctive flavours and are well made and presented. They make for a great gift idea when nicely boxed as well. 
Chatswood Chase, Shop B/50, 345 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia Food Trail 
Chatswood is home to flaky golden roti from the highly popular Mamak for Malaysians looking for some comfort food to remind them of their homeland. Roti canai ($9) — the original roti, is light and wafer crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and served with two curry dips and a spicy sambal sauce. Be sure to try and watch the cook making them to order over the large hot grill, constantly stretching and folding the dough in preparation to achieve the many layers. Finally served steaming hot ready to soak in a spicy dipping curry to excite the tastebuds. Roti is always best made fresh and this place does it justice. 
Chatswood Central, Shop 9, 1-5 Railway St, Chatswood NSW 2067
Hainanese Chicken Rice at Ya Malaysia 
Hainanese Chicken Rice ($15.90) at Ya Malaysia is a classic Malaysian dish to enjoy solo with poached chicken, flavoured rice, fresh cucumber slices, chilli sauce and a small bowl of clear soup. It all works harmoniously together and the chicken thigh is served boneless here. Love the flavour pop of adding some of the ginger spring onion sauce with some chilli sauce on a piece of chicken followed by some rice is the way to go. The soft silky chicken skin adds extra flavour and juiciness to the dish. I’ve enjoyed this dish in Malaysia as well where it was served with some blanched bean sprouts on the side. 
Chatswood Interchange, Shop 78, 436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Ais Kacang at Amah by Ho Jiak 
For a fun Malaysian dessert that’s big enough to share you can’t go past an Ais Kacang ($12) at Amah by Ho Jiak. Freshly shaved ice covers a sea of kidney beans, palm seeds and grass jelly and then topped with creamed corn, peanuts, Carnation creamy evaporated milk, rose syrup, gula melaka and green melon syrup. What a colourful sight of flavours. Slowly mix the ingredients together and eat it quickly before the ice melts away. I’d say it’s a bit of an acquired taste but it’s grown on me over the years since my dad is Malaysian and always got me to try it when I was growing up. You’ll find many variations of ingredients depending on where you go so finding an ais kacang that suits your taste will be a journey of discovery. 
Chatswood Interchange, Shop K1-K2, Level 3, 436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Fried Chicken at Rumah Makan Petok Petok 
Located in the Mandarin Centre I checked out Rumah Makan Petok Petok for some Crispy Fried Chicken ($12.50) served Indonesian style. The chicken skin was thin and crispy and the homemade chilli sambal will knock your tastebuds out of the park. The plentiful supply of kremes crispy batter granules go well with the large bowl size of steamed rice and chilli sambal to help extend the dish as a complete meal. Fresh iceberg lettuce and cucumber slices are on hand to cleanse the palate. Indonesians sure know how to make a yummy fried chicken. 
Mandarin Centre, Shop 202, 65 Albert Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Penang Char Kway Teow at Kreta Ayer 
If there’s one Singaporean and Malaysian dish I’ve had more often than not, it’s the traditional hawker style CKT. You’ll find the Penang Char Kway Teow ($17.90) at Kreta Ayer located in Chatswood Chase. I’m always keen for a good wok hei in this dish to help create some smoky flavours. This flat rice noodle dish came with prawns, Chinese lap cheong (sausage), sliced fishcake, egg, bean sprouts and had a mild curry spice flavour. If you’re lucky you might find some golden crisp croutons of pork lard in a CKT and traditionally it comes with blood cockles as I’ve had in Malaysia but that seems very hard if not impossible to find in Sydney, although they do tend to use clams instead. For some extra flavour I’d suggest chilli sauce on the side to enjoy with the dish. 
Chatswood Chase, 345 Victoria Ave, Chatswood
Gnome illustrations and maps by Chatswood Culture Bites

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