Meet Gerard, Alexandria

I squealed with delight when I found out that ex West Juliett head chef Sarah McWilliam opened a new cafe with ex The Counter owner Mariella Traina. I had sweet delusions of awesome coffee, beautiful breakfasts, and gorgeous reincarnations of that salty chocolate chip cookie (best cookie in the universe, in my humble opinion). One Saturday morning, with hungry stomachs and a nose for that first drip, we made the short trip from one side of Sydney to the other (ok, from Pyrmont to Alexandria…), found ample parking at Gerard Street, and zeroed in on that unmistakable Sydney cafe scene: chairs and tables flooding out the cafe, and a colourful combination of people, children, and dogs eagerly waiting for a table, their coffee, or just hanging out.

I love the interiors at Meet Gerard… a well balanced, clean, light atmosphere buzzing with people, grinding coffee, chitchat, and clattering of plates and utensils. The food is even better: an odd mix match of good old brunch favourites, with exciting, not-your-average breakfast food that somehow magically works together (I’m looking at you, Milk & Honey yoghurt panna cotta! Why are you so amazing?).

You go there to feed, to catch up with friends, to enjoy the coffee and cakes. It’s my kind of place, and one that is already becoming a Sydney favourite.

‘Milk & Honey’: a breakfast story by Meet Gerard. Yoghurt panna cotta, seasonal berries, honeyed puffed rice, house granola
‘Milk & Honey’: a breakfast story by Meet Gerard. Yoghurt panna cotta, seasonal berries, honeyed puffed rice, house granola
Scrambled eggs with chorizo, avocado, toast
Scrambled eggs with chorizo, avocado, toast
Smashed avo, pickled chilli, feta, lime, coriander, yuzu sesame, with a side of poached eggs and crispy bacon
Smashed avo, pickled chilli, feta, lime, coriander, yuzu sesame, with a side of poached eggs and crispy bacon (this is my absolute favourite!)

Meet Gerard
http://www.meetgerard.com.au/
54 Henderson Rd Alexandria
02 8021 7211
Open Mondays to Saturdays 7am – 4pm

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Philippine Food Festival, Shangri-la Sydney

Spring means new beginnings, stripping the sleeping, dormant self, an awakening.

Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!
Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!

And so, I come bursting out of my winter slumber and into the spring sunshine. The last few winter months have been cold, hectic, brutal, and yet the hiatus was much needed. I feel revitalised and energised (and yes, thanks to some flu-fighting medications, lots of Vitamin C, and a newfound sense of mindfulness).

What better way to come back to the blogging scene than to feature a fabulous Filipino food festival at Cafe Mix in Shangri-la Sydney? Thanks to the teams both here in Sydney and in Shangri-la Makati, Philippines, we were treated to an epic banquet of food, glorious Filipino food. There’s nothing more nostalgic than going back to your roots – think rice, pork, fish, vegetables, coconut, ube (purple taro), soups, mango, kakanin (sweet dessert rice cakes), and the star of the show: L E C H O N.

Roast beef and Cebu lechon
Chicharon - two whole bilaos!
Chicharon – two whole bilaos!

For one week only, Cafe Mix at Shangri-la Sydney is dedicating its buffet menu to everything Filipino, thanks to the dream team of chefs from Shangri-la Makati: Rico Celdo Venzon, Athena Blanche Tan Oropesa and Erma Balaquiao Palanca. I felt back in the Philippines again and rightly so… tastes, smells, and sights of the Philippines were everywhere. Dish upon dish upon dish were like hugs from the mother country, and it was so welcoming, so nostalgic, and oh so delicious.

The Philippine Food Festival is presented in partnership with Philippine Airlines and The Philippine Department of Tourism. To honour the 70 years of collaboration between Australia and the Philippines, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney will donate $2 for every person who dines at the festival to Operation Restore Hope.

For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com. For more information, visit www.shangrila.com/sydney.

Thanks to Shangri-la Sydney for the generous lunch at Cafe Mix to try the scrumptious Philippine Food Festival. Trish and Mr J dined as guests of Shangri-la Sydney.

Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Steamed fish
Steamed fish
Pochero of mixed seafood
Pochero of mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Sisig - freshly made from the sisig station
Sisig – freshly made from the sisig station
Pakbet - mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Pakbet – mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Cebu lechon - boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don't forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Cebu lechon – boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don’t forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Calderetang dila ng baka - ox tongue
Calderetang dila ng baka – ox tongue
Chicken adobo
Chicken adobo
Kare kare - ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Kare kare – ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Desserts: leche flan - creme caramel
Desserts: leche flan – creme caramel
Brazo de Mercedes
Brazo de Mercedes
The dessert table
The dessert table
Banana turon
Banana turon
The halo halo station
The halo halo station
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk

The well loved San Miguel Beer
The well loved San Miguel Beer
Tropical Maganda drink - similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass... yum!
Tropical Maganda drink – similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass… yum!

The Philippine Food Festival is on until Sunday 25th September 2016 at Cafe Mix, Shangri-la Sydney. The buffet lunch is available from noon to 2:30 p.m. at $57 per person.  The buffet dinner is available from 6 to 10 p.m. at $82 per person.  For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com.

Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Madeleine of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna's friend and Mr J!
Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Deane of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna’s friend and Mr J!
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Lunar Markets, Pyrmont Bay Park – NSW Food & Wine Festival

Being half Chinese, I grew up celebrating Chinese New Year the Filipino-Chinese way: eating lots of tikoy, seeing the relatives, and getting lots of red packets.

Chinese New Year in Sydney is one of the most colourful, lively and fun times in my events calendar. This year, I was fortunate to have been invited by the Festival ladies with a few other bloggers to check out the newest event in the Festival calendar: Lunar Markets at no less than Pyrmont Bay Park (my ‘hood!). Armed with an empty stomach and a dumpling craving, Mr J and I marched to the park and immersed ourselves in familiar scents of Chinese fair with a side of Filipino Hoy Pinoy bbqs. Just follow the smoke (and the red everything).

PS. Have you been to Sky Terrace at The Star? No? You should. I live in Pyrmont, but was still awestrucked by the lovely rooftop bar with Bridge and harbour views. We celebrated the launch here with a few drinks and nibblies while soaking up the lovely summer sunset.

Thanks to Liquid Ideas and NSW Food & Wine Festival for the invitation and the fun and filling market afternoon. Trish & Mr J dined as guests.

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The money tree at The Star area of the markets – red packets with chocolate coins!

 

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Gyoza from Zagyoza and Korean Tacos from Poklol

 

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Gyozas from Zagyoza. Ever heard of chicken teriyaki, pumpkin feta, black bean and ocean catch flavoured gyozas – with a splash of soy and sriracha? Yum!

 

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Korean bbq pork and beef tacos from Poklol

 

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Phumplings! Dumplings in an aromatic pho stock from Bar Pho – so delicious and refreshing at the same time!

 

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I’m biased. This was what I was looking forward to. Follow the smoke…

 

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Keep following that nice, charcoal, sweet and spicy smoke…

 

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…to Hoy Pinoy’s Inihaw na Manok (chicken bbq – soy) and Inihaw na Baboy (pork bbq – banana ketchup).

 

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To me, this is home. All those summer nights playing outside the house, sweat dripping down your face, while snacking on these skewer babies and drinking ice cold softdrink. LOVE.

 

Can we adopt Hoy Pinoy from Melbourne to Sydney please? Please? PLEASE?

 

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Fried chicken gua baos from Bao Stop Sydney. The fried chicken to bao proportion is insane… insanely good!

 

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Braised pork belly gua baos from Bao Stop

 

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Peking duck gua bao from Bao Stop

 

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Chilli soft shell crab with golden fried bao from Spanthai

 

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Sweet potato balls from Pasar Malam

 

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Nyonya lollipops from Pasar Malam. My love affair with Malaysia food keeps getting better. This is my kind of lollipops… deep fried chicken. Period.

 

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Lunar Markets

http://www.nswfoodandwine.com.au/lunarmarkets

Pyrmont Bay Park

12 – 22 February 2015

Mon – Wed: 5pm-9pm
Thurs-Fri: 5pm-10pm
Sat:- 4pm-10pm
Sun: 4pm-9pm

Stall map and list: click here

 

 

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