Saturday, January 13, 2018

Fox Den, Gloucester

All right, if you are in Gloucester, you are probably here to explore the Barrington Tops or to drive up Thunderbolts Way to Armidale. 

For dinner, we walked around the town and came across two places which were open. One was a bar with a regular fare, the other one was the Fox Den.

A small little café and along side is the restaurant. The menu seemed interesting and we reserved a spot for 7:30 P.M. and pre-ordered our meals, because this was quite the small village and we didn’t want to be coming back to find no food. So we wander around the town, settle into the local pub, have a couple of coldies and then head back in at 7:20 for dinner.

I had ordered the Lamb Rack with mashed potato’s, boiled veggies and a red wine jus. The other dish we had ordered was the Jamaican Jerk Chicken, with pilaf rice, mangoes and fresh slaw. Well to begin with, it was a busy evening and there seemed to be only one waiter and he was just trying his best. On top of that, it was a hot and humid evening and with no air con, it was quite difficult to wait for 40-45 minutes for the food.  I wish they had air con or I hope the food better be good – that’s what I was thinking. 

Now the Fox Den has a pub right next to it and apparently they have an counter opening into the ad joint pub which does typical pub food- pizza’s, steak, schnitzels and all. 

Anyways, the food eventually arrived and boy I was starving. The lamb rack to begin with looked great. The top of the lamb rack was crispy and criss crossed, probably from the girdle pan they used. 

The meat was juicy and succulent. Along with the mashed potatoes and the red wine jus, it was just great. Amazing dish, soft meat, flavorsome red wine jus, creamy mash- aah.  

The other dish we had on the table was the Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Well, the moment I had a spoon of this dish, I forgot my lamb rack. There was something so wow and mystical about this one. The flavor were so delicious and intoxicating, just made me feel lost. There was something so inexplicable. The flavors had run deep through the chicken. It was slightly sweet, tangy, slightly spicy. There were whole coriander seeds. The pilaf rice, fresh slaw, and the perfect marinated chicken, which is spicy, hot, tangy and the soft chicken, just was a perfect unision. 

Loved the food. I guess at the end of the day, I had found another great place which does great food and I would recommend this place for a visit. 

Fox Den Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

82 Church Street  Gloucester NSW 2422
(02) 6558 9701

New England Cheese Factory, Thunderbolts Way

All right, if you are driving from Walcha to Gloucester or Barrington Tops on the Thunderbolts Way, you would come across the New England Cheese Factory on the right.

We passed this board called the New England Cheese factory and decide to pay a visit. It’s a drive into the farms and we pass a number of goats before we reach the main office, which it seems is the living room as well for the farming couple who run the show. 

The cheese tasting involves variants of goat cheese and cows milk cheese. These are all soft cheese and the lady there- Lia Christensen  gives you a wonderful overview of the cheese, how its made, and the flavors. 

There are cream cheese, flavors of sweet chili, garlic and chives, black pepper. Likewise there are flavors in the cow cheese as well. As you taste both of them, you can understand the differences. I personally never thought I would have liked goats cheese, but these ones were out of the world. 
We had an interesting discussion on how milks are pasteurized and homogenized. 

Then we had samples of the yogurt and could see how there is a difference in the texture of the curd is. They had interesting variations and flavoring of the curd and my favorite was the lemon myrtle and honey flavored curd. Just divine. Next after the cheese tasting finished, we decide to buy the lemon myrtle flavored yogurt and the garlic and chives goat cheese. 

Gorgeous Views from the property
They had goat pies and goat curry pies and I opt for the goat curry pies. Aah, it was so awesome. Divine. Id love to give it a go again and have the pies here. Most curry pies, usually use the curry powder but it doesn’t get onto the meat properly. This pie had goat mince meat and the curry flavor was exquisite. 

It was a great experience to visit a cheese factory in such a remote place. The cheese from here gets sold to harris farms and sold as their own branded cheese. The lady was very thoughtful caring and patiently looked after us. She used to be a food nutritionist at Uncle Tobys until she and her partner moved from Victoria and started this farm, which is about 180 acres, and she mentioned this is a small farm, when she told us that most farms are of the range of 2000- 5000 acres. 

The Goat Curry Pie! Awesome!
Wow! Couldn’t even believe the size of such an farm. At the end, we ordered a chocolate and a caramel milk shake, and it was yum, just with fresh milk. Aah, just made me want to go out and take a snooze in the farms. A very good experience and highly recommended. Unlike most other commercial cheese factories, this one is supported just by the husband and wife duo. Very impressive.
Laidback, chillin out!

Contact: 0412 605 876 /

7721 Thunderbolts Way,

Mick Hundal’s Spice Rack, Woolgoolga: Revisited

2 years back when we had discovered this restaurant, we loved this place and over the last two years, I had always recommended this restaurant to friends and family. 

We were eager to try this restaurant again. Last time when we were here, there was Mich Hundall, a Sikh gentleman, in his 65ish age, who would cook amazing curry and then come and join you with his drink and talk about his younger days and how he came into Australia in the 1940’s.  

We were eager to meet Mick and have his amazing curry once more. While going to the restaurant and we saw the trip advisor and were a bit skeptical seeing that this restaurant was one of the lowest ranked restaurants in Woolgoolga. It was 17 of 20 restaurants now. Anyways, while we were tired and debated if we should try anything else, we decided Spice Rack it was. 

As we reached there at 7:30, interestingly, the restaurant was having quite a few patrons and almost full. Anyways we settled in looked at the menu and decided to order a chicken tikka for starters, daal and chicken homestyle for mains along with garlic naan. For starters, there were two types of chicken tikka- the basic and the other was the Indian style. I inquired with the lady serving us, and she indicated that the basic version is non spicy version, while the Indian version was spicy. We ordered the spicy one.
It took some time for the food to arrive. Let me tell you, the chicken tikka Indian style was a bit funny. It looked saucy and with onions and capsicum. As I tasted this dish, it was sweet, spicy and more like a north Indian Punjabi style chilli chicken. A very confusing dish, which was no ways a spicy chicken tikka. Probably a no for me. Next the daal came out and it was about ok, although a bit too thick for my taste. When I order a yellow daal, I always expect a liquidy daal, and something which is simple and flavour some. When someone asks we spice level for a daal, it is like No- that’s not how it is. Daal is always mild and there is no concept of mild medium hot. So the daal was ok. It did remind me of the maa ki daal in Punjabi dhabha’s and that was the good part.

Next came the chicken curry. Again, the chicken curry was good, not like the regular ready made gravies given across in all dishes in most Indian restaurants. It did seem fresh and tasted good. However, if I remember mick’s curries,  this doesn’t come close. The breads again were just average.

We did strike conversation a couple of times to inquire about Mick, but were told he had retired two years back and they had taken over the business. It was a bit strange, because we got a feeling that they didn’t seem to be too interested that I had visited two years back or knew Mick or the fact that I was a food blogger. 

There were no queries on how we liked the food. So a little bit strange. There were quite a few people who asked about Mick and the same response was being given that they had taken over the business.  Another thing I would think is that the lighting in the shop needs to be upgraded. They had this white lights which made the eatery looked dim.

All in all, the food was average, the service really needs to be better. 

There was a charm about the time when Mick Hundal was there and people went there for the food and a larger than life character. Now, its just leveraging his name and recipes, but the magic is missing. Will I go there again? Most probably not.

Original Post:

Spice Rack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Mick Hundal’s Spice Rack Indian Restaurant
5/31, River Street, Woolgoolga NSW 2456
Ph: 02 6654 1900

Wato's Fish & Chips Bistro and Takeaway, Yamba

All right, an afternoon in Yamba and we are searching what to eat. A great day at the beach and we are just so hungry. 

It was like any regular fish and chips regular. There was a sitting outside and no corkage BYO. 

We ordered calamari- salt and pepper and the crumbed, garlic prawns, and the fresh whiting. There was a waiting for 15-20 minutes, before we got our call. 

To begin with, I am usually a very fussy fish eater as I don’t like anything that’s too fishy. Lets begin with the calamari. There were two variants – crumbed one and the salt and pepper one. 

The calamari or squid is usually very chewy, but this one was so fresh. It was out of the world, such fresh calamari that it was so easy to eat and cut, not chewy at all. Between the two variants, I did seem to find the crumbed one slightly better in flavor and much more delightful. But to be honest, very subtle difference, and I loved it and highly recommended. 

Next came the whitings, which were again quite fresh and but slightly fishier. But again, for a person like me, I did eat it and loved the freshness it had.

Casual street seating
Next came the Yamba prawns in a garlic brown butter sauce. This came served with a piece of toast. Well, this was probably the best dish- amazing soft prawns, totally fresh and the garlic burnt butter sauce was just pure heaven. It was just buttery and silky and so delicious. It was sinful to take that toasted bread and just dunk it into the butter and relish it.  All in all, again, I loved it and I just would like to go again if I get a chance. I have probably never had so fresh delightful fish ever. Highly recommended. 
(02) 6646 8880
4, Yamba Street, Yamba, New South Wales 2464

Wato's Fish & Chips Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 12, 2018

Maclean Hot Bread & Cake Kitchen, Maclean

Situated inside the small little shopping complex, this was one we just stumbled upon.  The fragrance of freshly baked bread was intoxicating. 

As we stepped in, a regular local bakery which does a lot of varieties of breads, sourdoughs, pies pasties, cookies, scrolls and cakes and pastries. To begin with we ordered lamb and rosemary sausage roll, which looked quite interesting. 

Then we went onto order the curried chicken pie. Then came the fresh cinnamon doughnuts. When we looked at the  bread loafs, they had very interesting varieties of loafs. Loafs such as the sun dried tomato and fetta loaf, pumpkin and parmesan, spinach and ricotta, cheese and bacon, beetroot walnut and fetta loaf. We decided to order the last one – the beetroot and walnut fetta loaf. Then we got tempted into the rum cream roll.

We took all these goodies and restrained from ordering any further. Walked with all the goodie to the river side and sat below a tree overlooking the river and stared with our breakfast. To begin with, the lamb sausage roll was very interesting. It was like a half cylindrical pipe of pastry, filled with lamb and topped with potato and then cheese and baked to perfection. The flavor of the rosemary and lamb was heavenly. Next came to the curried chicken pie, which to be honest was descent but not spectacular. It fel as if while boiling the chicken, they loaded it with curry powder and boiled, but then there was this kind of rawness of the curry powder.

The doughnuts were soft and lightly sugared and freshly made- was perfect. The spinach and walnut feta bread was something we had later, but the bread was so awesome and delightfull, with the beetroot and chunky walnut pieces in the bread. Very unique and great. The rum ccream role were like little pipes of run coated crispy shell, ffilled with cream. Again very delicious. All in all, a spectacular find and I loved it. If you in Maclean, Id say drop into this shop early in the morning. The staff is very friendly and cheerful with great service.

Maclean Hot Bread and Cakes Kitchen
Shop 3&4, Palace Arcade, River Street, Maclean
Ph: 66452729

Maclean Hot Bread & Cake Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Indian Fusion Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Yamba

It was up a hill, with a steep climb, only to make us realize how unfit we were. But once we walked up, it was a gorgeous sunset view and the town below you. We walked in and interiors were relaxed and nice. They had seating outside and also inside. With the pleasant weather after the rains, we decide to sit outside and savor the view.  We were initially a bit skeptical as it seemed to be another Indian joint and we normally don’t like eating out Indian every day, especially when we are trying. Nonetheless when we saw the cozy and relaxed interiors and good vibe to the place, we settled in. 

We ordered the Lamb Pepper Starter and a Kerala Fish curry. There was intense debate if it should be the fish curry or the special Lamb Rogan Josh,  but eventually I decided to go for the fish curry, and also please the girl friend. Sitting out in the open air, on top of the street and seeing the sun set was awesome. The service was good and pleasant. We were given a mozzie spray just in case we are bitten. The lamb pepper fry comes in first and well, what do I say. It is perfect. 

Soft juicy lamb chunks, tossed with indian spices, onion, capsicum and celery, it was quite delicious. Descent spicy and soft lamb hit the spot. Loved it. I guess the celery is the only ingredient which I think didn’t really make sense and perhaps was an attempt for so called fusion. 

Next came the kerela Fish curry. This was looking good. Barra fish fillets and mussels in a creamy yellow gravy. 

In fact, one of the reason I ordered the dish was because of my good memories in Indu’s in Syndey. I am fussy fish eater and hate the fishy taste. Well, what do I say, the curry was great. The fish was fresh and soft and the curry was really creamy and tasty. Loved it. The mussels were the only thing I found chewy and a bit fishy. But all in all, an evening with basmati rice and kerela fish curry was perfect. I wish I had ordered more dishes to sample but there is always a next time and let me tell you, for the very first time, I had done the perfect order for two people.

All in all, I loved it. A very nice find. We found a lot of aussies folks coming in and an indication it is popular with travelers and locals. I had a quick chat with the gentleman at the counter and indicated they have had this restaurant for three years. The good thing I also found was that the service was good and equal with all, with no difference for Aussies or Indians.

  • 6 Clarence Street, Yamba, New South Wales 2464, Australia
  • 02 66468941

Indian Fusion Tapas Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Cafe Red, Ricardoes Tomato & Strawberry Farm, Port Macquarie

Ricardo’s has the main reception and shop and a number of sheds all around. The way it works is that it is a tomato and strawberry farm. You cant pick tomato’s but you can pick the strawberries. Go to the counter, get a box and then head over to the designated sheeds and pick your strawberry and come back, weight and pay. Since we had recently done it in Orange, didn’t find the need to do it again. The Tomato’s farm is right next to the cafeteria which you can see through the glass walls. They have their famous award winning tomatoes on sale, the small ones, as well as the roma tomato’s.
There are sauces, chutneys, fresh garlic, candies and a whole heap of other things on display. There is a tasting table, where you can taste all the Ricardo’s chutneys, jams and relishes. My favourites were the tomato Salsa, the green tomato relish which had heads of green chilli and a real punch to it, and the three fruit marmalade. Yum. 

Next, we decide to have a quick lunch at the Café red, which is in the main hall. There is a menu, with bruschetta, tomato soup, roasted tomato with fetta bruschetta etc. We order a tomato soup with a bread and also the bruschetta with fresh tomato onion fetta and balsamic topping. Probably this is where it all goes wrong. The meal literally takes close to 45 minutes to arrive. I am usually a patient man, but this was so unreal. The thing that made me more furious is when people who came after us get there food before us. So, I waited and waited and then eventually asked them how much more time, to which I was told 5 minutes but it took another 15 minutes.

The food- well was good. The tomato soup, with sour cream and big bun with butter, was great. The soup itself had the acidity of the tomatoes which made it a bit sour. I added the regular salt and pepper heaps to put more taste into it, but was no match for the sourness. With the warm bread and butter, it went pretty well, but somehow I have tasted better tomato soups.

The bruschetta was good. Fresh, and delightful. Eventually, we finished food and just wanted to get out as we were massively delayed. Overall, an average experience, specially after the delays in the food. There is one thing to make everything fresh, but 45 minutes for a soup and bruschetta is ridiculous. It just left such a bad note, that we decided to not buy any of the condiments etc. For Port Mac’s famous visiting spot, I think they need more manpower and better service.

Cafe Red Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Ricardoes Tomatoes and U-Pick Strawberry Farm
221 Blackmans Point Road
Port Macquarie, NSW

Phone: 02 6585 0663 (International Code +61265850663)
Fax: 02 6585 0993 (International Code +61265850993)