Spice Alley on Kensington Street @ Central Park, Chippendale

5 October 2015, 17:56

I’m not sure what’s going on with Sydney’s weather this Spring, wet and windy one week and then hot and humid the next! But I much prefer when the sun’s out because Sydney has some great spots for eating outside and the newest place to eat outdoors is at Spice Alley on Kensington St, just next door to Central Park and with an entrance directly opposite Automata.

Spice Alley has that hawker centre vibe but with the bonus of being much cleaner lol. There’s four permanent Spice Alley stalls, rock up to a counter and order your food and then wait for your order ticket number to be called before grabbing a seat in the courtyard. Oh and keep in mind you can only pay using Paywave or you take your cash to the little window to the far left of the stalls and get a Spice Alley credit card.

I’d brought the family and we start off at Alex Lee Kitchen. I’m impressed with the super flaky Roti Canai ($6), it’s light and fluffy and comes with two puddles of chicken curry and dahl sauce plus a fiery red sambal sauce that has me sneakily swiping more than my share. The roti is definitely on par with Mamak and best of all there’s no queues (yet)…

Katong Laksa ($10) is bang on in flavour, rich from the coconut and just the right amount of spice to set the tastebuds a-tingle. Noods opted for the rice vermicelli noodles but you can choose egg noodles or flat rice noodles to fraternise with slices of juicy chicken, ribbons of fish cake, beapsprouts and squishy cubes of tofu.

Next stop is Old Jim Kee with a plate of deep fried goodness. The Curry Puff ($3/each) is a nice fat specimen, stuffed with curried chicken and cubes of potato and wrapped in the flakiest pastry that has a gazillion layers. The Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings ($1/each) blew our minds, especially at only one smackerooney each! There was this savoury, umami flavour and the batter was super light and not at all oily and super tender and juicy meat oh man so good! And we also got a Pork Bun (Char Siew Bao) ($4) for good measure which the parentals loved, the bun was absolutely packed with juicy bbq pork and the pastry was ridiculously flaky.

The Penang Char Kway Teoh ($10) has a good amount of smoky wok hei flavour and is studded with slices of lap cheong sausage and my favourite crispy pork fat.

Over at Hong Kong Diner I ordered the Braised Beef Brisket with dry noodles which ($10) was so massive, I barely made a dent in it and had to get the rest packed for takeaway! The beef is meltingly soft with gloriously fatty striations and the mound of leafy green veg was much needed to cut through the fat. Oh and it came with a complimentary peppery soup too.

Dessert time! We headed back to Old Jim Kee for Ice Kacang ($6) which is served in a bowl the same size used for noodles so it’s a pretty generous serve! There’s the usual grass jelly, creamed corn, Atap Chee (palm seeds) and jelly worms on top of a mountain of shaved ice but there’s also crushed peanuts and sultanas which I wasn’t a fan of. But it’s cold and refreshing and the only thing that stops us from melting in the heat.

I of course couldn’t resist trying Alex Lee Kitchen’s Durian Roti ($9) and it was pretty awesome. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think anywhere else in Sydney does durian roti? The durian was wrapped inside the buttery and flaky roti and comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and seriously if you’re a durian lover, GET THIS!

Aaaand visited Bang Luck for Mango Sticky Rice ($7). It’s a bit steep compared to the rest of the stalls prices on food but eh I really wanted this and it’s tasty. On a previous visit I tried the Crispy Pork Belly ($10) and watch out the spice levels are pretty cray for someone who can’t handle the heat! The pork is awesome though, crispy and deliciously fatty with stir fried veg on a bed of rice.

There’ll be a rotation of popup stalls on the far end of Spice Alley, currently it’s Pok Lol with their salads, tacos and Banh Mi pork rolls. Masterchef 2015 alum Reynold Poernomo will be opening up a dessert bar in the Alley later this year too and Bar Chinois is hoping their liquor license will kick in shortly.

Spice Alley
Kensington Street,
Chippendale (look for the red signage in the alleyways between the restored houses)

Trading Hours:
Open daily: 11am-10pm



Las Vegas, Part 2 - Heart Attack Grill and The Grand Canyon

27 September 2015, 23:47

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Heart Attack Grill. The very name gives me goosebumps. But we were in Vegas and the boy and I do love our novelty restaurants so we hopped on a bus on the Strip to Downtown Las Vegas before staring a little apprehensively into the windows and venturing in. And yes if you weigh more than 350 pounds (158kg) you get to eat there free.

We were met at the door by a SUPER cheerful nurse who informed us that we’d have to wear hospital gowns at all times and that if we didn’t finish our food we’d get smacked. We laughed and said sure no worries and were then led to our table. Everyone in the restaurant was staring at this guy and his group of friends and we had no idea why… until…

A video posted by Susan Thye (@chocolatesuze) on

(Click for vid to play)

Anyone that gets spanked gets wheelchaired out haha

Our medication :P I decided to skip the milkshakes with ‘the world’s highest butterfat content’ and chose a lime slushie and the 3.4 ounce shot (that’s 100ml, that’s like 3 times the normal shot!) of vodka comes in a prescription pill bottle so you can choose if you want to pour a bit into your drink and then shoot the rest.

I was too terrified of not finishing my food so opted for the Single Bypass Burger (US$9.25) with 5 slices of bacon (US$0.92) and no chili. The pattie was ok, juicy and fatty but the bread was a bit dry and chewy like damper style buns but oh that bacon! I heart American bacon! Crispy, salty, bacon-y…

Noods goes for the Double Bypass Burger (US$11.10) with 10 slices of bacon (US$1.85) and chili. He struggles finishing the burger towards the end but manages to finish it.

And we ordered a side of Onion Rings (US$7.17) and almost gasped at the gigantic serving. The batter was surprisingly light and oh boy were they tasty! ‘Beer battered and deep fried in pure lard’, the menu exclaims! No wonder they were awesome.

Go Noods go!

Slowly but surely we manage to eat every scrap of our meals and stumble away without getting a walloping. Apparently some people volunteer to get a spank, thinking they’ll just be getting a light thwack on the behind but no sirree, the waitresses put so much force behind the spank that the paddle sometimes breaks! Heart Attack Grill is cash only so make sure you load up on the Benjamins.

Downtown Las Vegas was pretty interesting- there were heaps of street performers, a couple of semi naked girls with their beefy security within arms reach, fortune tellers, casino after casino and a zip line to fly from one end to the other!

We managed to get the very last tickets for a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon! Originally we’d looked into it online but thought it was too exy but then we heard my cousins say they drove 5 hours to get there and it was worth it so we splurged and went with Maverick/Mustang for the Free Spirit Grand Canyon Landing Tour ($848/2 ppl). The price includes shuttle pickup from hotel to airport, flying past Hoover dam, Lake Mead and Fortification Hill and descending into Grand Canyon for a champagne toast.

We were lucky that we were flying with a family of four so they got relegated to the back of the helicopter and we got to sit up front with our awesome pilot (though we switched with them on the way back because we felt bad lol). Our pilot would point out all the landmarks and happily answered any questions we had on the flight but otherwise he played a pretty rocking soundtrack from Danger Zone to Sweet Home Alabama and Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher.

Landing for photo ops, champagne and some snacks.

Definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

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Katsu Yachiyo, Surry Hills

21 September 2015, 00:55

There’s certainly no lack of ramen joints in Sydney. There’s the rib stickingly thick tonkotsu ramens from Gumshara, Yasaka, Osan, Manpuku, Ryo’s; the Hakata style ramen from Hakata Maru, Ippudo and Ikkyu and then the places that have chicken, fish and pork based broths like Ichiban Boshi, Menya, Zundo, Chaco Bar and newly opened Sokyo Ramen.

Katsu Yachiyo is a tiny Japanese restaurant on Devonshire St (sister restaurant to Sushi Yachiyo in Darlinghurst) and is known for a menu of all things deep fried. But in recent weeks they have been pumping out ramen on Saturdays (previously Sundays) until sold out.

Noods chooses the Shoyu Tonkotsu ($13) and is extremely happy with the firmness of the straight noodles and the perfectly gooey yolk. The broth is flavourful and not too heavy with a smattering of sesame seeds and shallots, a tangle of black fungi and bamboo shoots. The pork chashu is visibly ribboned with fat but is a tad on the chewy side but he slurps up the entire bowl with a satisfied grin.

Will has chosen the Shoyu Torigara ($13), a rich chicken broth with dashi. It’s rich enough that it feels like a warm hug but light enough that it’s perfect for this almost Spring weather. There are bamboo shoots, shallots, sesame seeds, a perfectly gooey soy egg and just the right amount of bean sprouts that it doesn’t distract from the overall flavour and texture of the ramen.

But the star of the lot is my Garlic Tonkotsu ($15) with a puddle of garlic oil that’s dark and murky and oh so garlic-y (well, duh but it was seriously intense). Yes the broth is lighter than my fave tonkotsu haunts but I like that it doesn’t leave me feeling like I need to be rolled down a hill.

Katsu Yachiyo’s ramen is a very welcome addition to Surry Hills and a lil birdie told us that if you ring them on a Monday morning and they’re not too busy then they just might whip up a bowl of ramen for you…

Katsu Yachiyo
208 Devonshire St
Surry Hills

Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 12pm – 2.30pm
Mon – Sat: 6pm – 10pm
Ramen only on Saturdays

Katsu Yachiyo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato