Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Grounds by the Sea (Pop-Up), Bondi

Pretty, pretty, pretty.
Food from The Grounds by the Sea pop-up

Pretty sculptures, pretty beaches, even prettier food.

I feel bad for posting this way after the event's finished, but it was too good not to be posted. The Grounds by the Sea was a pop-up from the Grounds of Alexandria, serving keen and hungry customers during the Sculpture by the Sea event in Bondi Beach.

The Grounds by the Sea pop-up, Bondi

Just like its mother store, I can't fault the set of this small pop-up, which somehow looked rustic but not plain in any way whatsoever.

The signage

The ordering was done on the counter, where alluring pastries and baked goods fought for your attention. The open kitchen was also a sight to behold; the docket did not stop spitting orders but the crew moved quickly on each station.

Muffins on the counter

Open kitchen

Coffee cups

Random knick knacks could also be found around the area, some provoked more giggles than others.

Random bra on the backyard

The seats and tables were not the same, and they were scattered quite randomly. With the sea breeze, sunshine, and buzzing crowd around us; it was a great eating experience.


We arrived at an odd hour, but we still felt like breakfast. So the 'bircher muesli by the sea' was ordered. The super photogenic bowl had coconut, almonds, quinoa, topped with peaches and berries, along with spoonfuls of yoghurt and mango sauce. Not only it was extremely pleasing for the eyes, it was probably one of the best muesli bowls I've ever had. Every pop of the juicy blueberries were a prize on its own, and the whole bowl was really filling.

Bircher muesli by the sea - $10

Because this blog isn't called 'Irene's Getting Healthy', the almost flawless brioche brekkie burger had to make an appearance.

Brioche brekkie burger - $12

The soft and buttery brioche buns crammed a crowded party of bacon, fried egg, cheese, avocado, tomato relish, and smoky mayo. Apart from the mayo didn't really have the smoky taste like advertised, it was unbelievably wonderful. The crispy bacon, the runny egg yolk, the tangy relish, and I didn't even mind the avocado.


A generous serving of chips were called for carbs intake of the day. The cup arrived piping hot with crunchy and chunky chips that we all love.

Chips - $6

Having described all the amazing things about the food, the smoothie and the iced chocolate were actually my highlights of the day. Seriously, the drinks were so good it blew my mind.

The 'berried at sea' smoothie was something I'd be happy to have for breakfast every single day. A refreshing blend of strawberry, banana, raspberry, mango, ground flaxseed, and coconut water that was thick, zingy, and tasted like beautiful summer.

The 'Sea Breeze' iced chocolate was denser and somehow thicker, but nonetheless incredible. Not too sweet with just enough chocolate hint that was veiled by something fragrant that I cannot identify. It smelled like some kind of liquor but I'm pretty sure there's no alcohol in it.

Berried at sea smoothies ($9) & 'Sea Breeze' iced chocolate ($9)

It was a really busy day but surprisingly the turnover for the tables were not that bad. And sitting on the grass with a smoothie and a burger also seemed like a really good idea with such weather.



Just because, I'll include some of my fav sculptures. Definitely going here again next year!







So which one's prettier? Your call.


Currency: $1 = IDR 10,800

(no rating because it's a pop-up!)



Marks Park
Bondi, NSW 2026

Web: Sculptures by The Sea 2014

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Ippudo, Central Park - Chippendale

Great ramen, only a (very short) walk away from uni.
Ippudo's miso tonkotsu

This is probably one of the best news I've heard this year. It's almost like Christmas comes sooner.

By now you've all probably heard the news that Ippudo opens another door at Central Park, Chippendale. Just across UTS, this branch is easily available to students and those who work around the vicinity.

Ippudo, Central Park


The setting and decoration are very similar to its mother branch in Westfield, dominated with black and red, emitting strong personality without being intimidating. It's elegant, sophisticated, and still really comfortable. Whether you go with a date or a group of friends, the ambiance will suit either.



Our first step into the restaurant was welcomed by harmonious shout of 'irrashaimase' (welcome in Japanese) and our last step out was appreciated with another warming roar of 'arigato' (thank you in japanese).


Wall of spoons

We started with obligatory order of pork bun. Although I remember the pork belly slice to be bigger, it still had all the excellence on every part: melting pork belly, pillowy bun, tasty sauce.

Pork bun - $4

It was my first time trying Ippudo's gyoza and it sure didn't disappoint. Thin and crispy skin enclosing delectable and juicy pork mince inside. Perfect with the salt served on the side.

Gyoza (5 pieces) - $6

Now that we were teased enough, here came the main stars.

Ramen is served!

Miso tonkotsu may make you raise your eyebrows with its price tag, but you get what you pay for. Twice the toppings, double the satisfaction.

The broth is made from long-simmered pork bones, and this one's spiked with some red miso that enhance the lovely umami thrill. Included in the bowl were some corn, bamboo shoot, scallion, cabbage, bean sprouts, and the climaxing pork belly.

Miso tonkotsu special - $25

What do you expect? It's Ippudo; of course it ticked the right checklist.

Lip-smacking delightful broth with the creamy, profound tonkotsu flavour without inducing any nausea from any weird smell whatsoever. The noodles were cooked to perfection with our request of 'medium' hardness.

Up and close with the toppings

Extra toppings on the side had the roasted seaweed I've always loved, with some black mushrooms, more melt-in-your-mouth chashu, and of course, the tamago (flavoured egg).

Another serving of topping

I mean..

I just can't..

Too sexy I die.


Akamaru chashu had a ball of 'special blended' miso paste and some splashes of aromatic garlic oil. We were told to try the broth without mixing them together first, and so we did. The milky broth had more porky deliciousness than my miso tonkotsu, and hence boosted my love to this bowl. After some stirring, the miso paste and garlic oil added some more depth and excitement on every sip.

Ippudo's broth is generally less thick and intense than Gumshara's or Ikkyu's, and those who don't like the thick ramen broth may find themselves swooning over this.

Akamaru chashu - $21

This bowl had more chashu slices than the original akamaru shinaji, and this fact made me develop such euphoria. More chashu = more happiness.

Hakata-style ultra-thin noodles that only need short cooking time were invented to satisfy the busy Hakata crowd, and I find them lovely with pleasing bouncy bite on every strand.

Them noodles

Last words: keep calm and eat ramen.


P. S. Check out this Ippudo Central Park video. I know it's an ads or whatever but I love it. I think you will too.


Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Great ramen with varied options, price is slightly high-end, ambiance is really comfortable and casual, service is top notch.

Irene's Getting Fat! and guest attended Ippudo courtesy of Narisa Asato (SD Marketing) and Ippudo Sydney. Thank you very much! However, all opinions are purely based on my personal taste.



Central Park LG, RB07
28 Broadway, Chippendale
NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 8078 7020

Web: Ippudo
Facebook: Ippudo Sydney

Ippudo Central Park on Urbanspoon

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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Trio, Bondi Beach - Sydney

How pretty are Sydney's beaches?
Smoked salmon bruschetta and eye fillet steak sandwich from Trio

Bondi is no exception. It, however, makes me really conscious about my too-much-ice-cream body. But you know, it's me we're talking about. After envying multiple beach-ready bodies, I declared I need to watch what I am eating and eat lighter.

Nek minnit: this happened.

Finding a place to eat isn't hard at all in Bondi. The vicinity is jam-packed by dozens of restaurants, cafés and small eateries alike. Finding good ones, though, is an entirely different matter. We don't want to get lured by franchises and rip-off fish and chips, do we?

So Trio, after reading good reviews and recommendations about it, seemed to be the perfect place to go on a sunny, warm, and windy afternoon.

Trio, Bondi Beach

It was only a bit after 12 and the place was packed to the brim with patrons. The turnover was pleasantly quick, though, and although we were told that it might be a 30 minutes wait, we secured a table outside within 5 minutes. I didn't get a proper look at the interior but I spied casual and comfortable setting with warm ambiance and energetic atmosphere.

Interior seating

We skipped the juices on the menu and went straight to the brunch dishes.

Table water

The smoked salmon bruschetta arrived in dazzling colours. It was presented nicely with a bed of huge, crusty sourdough, topped with smooth slivers of smoked salmon that blanketed four asparagus twigs. On each side was half of well-cooked boiled egg.

Smoked salmon bruschetta (with grilled asparagus, dill creme fraiche, roquette and boiled egg) - $21

A squeeze of the lemon enlivened the whole plate but my date reckoned the dish would be better with less sourness. I actually don't mind it, as it freshened the palate and brought more wonders to the salmon's flavour itself. The smokey hint, however, was too subtle to my liking.


Still a good dish. Especially if you managed to pinch the lovely egg for yourself.

Great boiled egg

I was tempted by many other dishes like the omelet, breakfast burrito and many more, but the mention of bacon jam thrilled me more than the others.

Cue the entrance of the hefty plate of eye fillet steak sandwich.

Eye fillet steak sandwich (with bacon jam, cheddar, cos lettuce, tomato & cafe de paris butter with kifler home fries) - $26

Where should I start?

The two slices of sourdough were topped with different component. One with melty cheddar with tomato and two slices of the steak. The steak wasn't ginormous but I'm happy with their size as I wouldn't be able to finish it had they given bigger ones. They were slightly chewy and sinewy but cooked really well and juicy as hell.

The butter melted like there's no tomorrow and it was one share of really flavorsome butter.

You butter believe that this sandwich is amazing.

But then there was the bacon jam. It was packed handsomely with mini chunks of bacon, spread evenly on the bread. The sweetness dominated but it still didn't take away its glory.

The kifler potatoes and salad on the side with simple dressing of balsamic vinegar were great bannermen and marched alongside the main stars in a great fashion.

Bacon jam. BACON JAM.

Screw the beach body, I want bacon jam in my life. I got my priorities right.


Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000

Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Great and prompt service, ambiance is nice and casual, price is rather reasonable, and BACON JAM you guys.



56 Campbell Pde
Bondi Beach, NSW 2026

Phone: (02) 9365 6044

Web: Trio

Trio on Urbanspoon

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