Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Little Nel Cafe, Nelsons Bay

All right , this one is about the breakfast experience from my weekend trip to Nelsons Bay. We were staying at Soldiers point and I was searching on the internet for good joints for breakfast. I am usually tempted with breakfast joints at holiday destinations as they have good cafes, creative menus and a relaxed ambience and set up. So we drove down to main Nelsons Bay area and went to the Little Nel Café. Situated on 3 Government Road, this is right at the start of the market. The good part is that you can park across the street and hop down to this place. I believe it is the eatery of the Nelson Resort.

Now on the ground floor, this café has a very relaxed ambience and casual seating. There are seats inside, in the building. A wooden veranda on the left has open air seating under canopies, and then there si the front lawn as well. Couches, tables, stools, all multi modes for seating. Looking at the menu, there were the regular options of breakfast including museli, fruits, bacon and egg, and whole lot of other stuff.
We settled in outside on the lawn, on the big sofa/ couch with a low table and view of the bay behind us.

Well I settled for the chocolate milkshake along with the chilli scrambled eggs, while for my brother and mom, I ordered the vegetable stack. Now the waitresses were very friendly and pretty to be honest. They were really sweet and very caring.  The chocolate milkshake arrived first.  This was OMG, unbelievable. I think this is the best milkshake I have had in Australia so far. A huge steel glass, with a thick smooth consistency of mill, ice cream, chocolate and crushed ice. Seriously, this was indulgence, and a sinful one. Too good and highly recommended.
Next came the chilli scrambled egg. This was like a stack of omelet with red chilli stuffing. Now being an Indian I can definitely handle the chilli and I was wondering how  hot this would be. Well, to be honest I was just okay, not too hot, but then good enough for a breakkie. I wouldn't have expected to get anything too hot in the morning. Now the stack of omelet squares or the scrambled eggs, was topped with yogurt. Now this was interesting. Mildly sweet yogurt topped on the hot omelet. This was served with locally grown fresh avocado and grilled tomato and two slices of toast and butter. I loved it. I mean specially the egg with yogurt went well and interesting. The sweetness of the yogurt countered the heat of the chilli's and the creamy avocado, just lovely.

The next dish was the vegetable stack with poached eggs. This was a stack of veggie patties, with loads of nuts. In the patty and crispy fan fried. I think between the patties, there was a beetroot paste. This was served with poached egg and rocket on the top. The beauty of it was that the poached eggs, when cut would lead to the egg yellow overflowing the entire stack of pattie. The taste was yum. The pattie had potato and nuts, which was nice, along with the eggs, it was yum. Highly recommended.

All in all I loved the setting, the ambience and  the creative menu. I was so tempted to think while sitting there in the café, if I would ever come here specially for the breakfast again, and I thought, why not. I thought this one was another of my great finds in the space of breakfast cafes in Australia. Highly recommended if you are in Port Stephens/ Nelsons Bay area.

The Nelson Resort (visit Reception)
3-7 Government Road, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
(02) 4916 4600

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Eat @ Joes, Gurgaon

All right. This one is about a place which I would term undoubtedly an euphoric find. To give you a background, I was back home in Gurgaon for one whole month this year. And as always with the good times, I was meeting a lot many friends and discovering many new places. It was the foodie trail. And across most of these visits, I was just impressed with Gurgaon. Boy, it has changed. The café culture seemed to have hit the wild wild west. Now it seems like the renaissance in Gurgaon, when the crowds are only after continental and world cuisine. The craze for anything that is not Indian. Andy hence we have cafes mushrooming out at every nook and corner, with stereotyped décor with Lennon and Marley on he wall, tobasco and barbeque sauce at every table. While this satisfied the palate of the locals who have been used to tikkas and chaat and Chinese, or of expats who do come in, I unfortunately was hard to please. But this review is not about the bricks in the wall that remained there insignificantly, his one is about the brick from the shawshank redemption.

For quite a few days I had been craving for a lamb burger and hot dog. Specially the hot dog- I was on the verge of hallucinating. Well, this is when I went over to cross point mall and went to Eat @ Joes. Now Eat@ Joes was  small little shop. Unknowingly in the past, I had gone past it quite a few times and hadn’t really discovered this one. But this time, I did go in. It’s the all American diner. The menu is simple and straight forward, sandwiches, shakes, hotdogs, burger, fries.  

Well, I simply went into the section for hot dogs, and there were a few options. Simple and basic hot dog with  honey mustard and sweet relish. There is another version with the cheese. The top of class is the chicken hot dog, with Mexican lamb chilli and cheese. Now this is the one which I went for. All these years abroad, I was struggling to find good Continental fare in Gurgaon. Second, all these years abroad and I still didn’t eat beef and pork, so the craving for hot dogs is usually very high. In fact I was  telling my friend that this is the beauty of India, it is only here you can get versions of chicken hot dogs which are smoked and  juicy, and lamb mince which recreates the essence which is unparalleled.

The hotdogs when it arrived, let me tell you, it looked amazing. It looked like a boat, with a sausage and topped with a blankets of lamb mince and topped with cheese which was molten. Unbelievable.  One bite and it was heaven. Just blissful and heaven. I am serious. This was stunning and unbelievable. The quality of sausage was wow- smoked and juicy. The mince was well cooked. The hotdog breads were buttered. I cant tell you how awesome it was. After many years, I felt excited to have had something so delicious. In fact I was after a few hours till late in the night having a big grin.  Highly recommended. It comes with fries and jalapenos and this I think is the best dish.

The lamb burger is the next one on the line, which  I tried in the same place in my second visit. Yes, so good it was that I came for the second time in the same visit. The lamb burger is the next one which I tried here. This one has an option with one patty or two patties. I settled for the lamb burger with two patties.  Now this burger again, is out of the world.  A big burger with fresh lettuce, two juicy char grilled lamb patties, mayonnaise, caramelize onions. One bite and you know this has hit the spot. Off late, I did try the lamb burger at a few times, in Gurgaon and I am telling you, this was by far the best one I have had. The taste is intoxicating slightly burnt, mixed with the sauces, jalapenos and the juicy patty. Loved it. The fries and the burger, lovely. Again highly recommended. I loved the burger, and its quite a mouthful. 

The nearby café Delhi Heights and Joint Café boasts of a lamb burger, but in my humble opinion, this one is miles ahead and better.  For the love of burgers and for people who know what it means to dig into a lamb burger patty with that unique lamb flavor, which has a mild fragrance, and juiciness.  I am not one of those who like a very strong lamb fragrance, due to the fact that we have grown up I India eating goats, but then in India, you can find a juicy mince lamb patty with a fragrance and all the taste. So, yes, please go for the burger for sure.

The other thing I have tried here is the cheese lettuce tomato sandwich, which again is good. The fries here are crispy and great.  The owner of this joint is a nice gentleman, with whom I did catch up and chat. He has studied in Perth and stayed in US as well.  

All in all, a highly recommended café and I love this outlet.In fact this has been one of my favorite joints now.  I am still looking forward to visiting this café again in my next visit.

Shop no. 115, Crosspoint Mall, DLF Phase 4 Gurgaon 
+91 124-4141444

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mosaic@ Westin Sydney

All right this one is about the breakfast experience in Sydney. All these years in Sydney and the craving for a lavish breakfast and lack of brekkie culture always made me wish for more. I went far away to other towns on holidays to get the brekkie experience. From Gold Coast to Melbourne, Coffs Harbor to Narooma, I go to cafes and love the breakfast and just wonder when I will get that similar experience in Sydney. In some ways I am envious of Melbourne which  has a much better café culture and breakfasts. However, there is one place in Sydney, which beats it all. Mosaic @Hotel Westin. Today was my second visit and I must tell you, it is one of those rare places in Australia which has matched my expectations of class and luxury.
Mosaic is situated in the city, on George street, at the Westin Hotel next to the GPO building. As you enter through the reception of Westin and go to Level 1, there is an outdoor seating, with the breakfast spread. Once you are seated, you can savor the views of the heritage building of the General Post Office,  look through the glass ceiling into the bright sun streaming down along the tall clock tower. The ambience is exquisite, with soft music playing in the background. Just immaculate.

The spread for the buffet is quite vast. You have the fresh fruits, museli, corn flakes and an entire spread and variety of flakes that go with the milk. Now I am not a person who does milk or corn flakes, so lets move to the next section. There is an entire spread of cold meats, salmon and cheese. For me, it was simply the turkey slices and the Swiss cheese to start off with. The juices had apple, guava, pineapple and orange. Then there was the carrot ginger palate cleanser in the little shot glasses. There was the banana smoothie and the watermelon punch was quite refreshing on a warm Friday morning. There was an array of breads, along with the toaster, croissants, bagels . An array of jams and spreads, vegemite, butter, peanut butter.

The main stuff was the hot section. This is where we had the veal sausages and bacon- which was out of scope for me. However, what does work for me and what I have only seen here in Sydney across Australia is the turkey bacon and the turkey sausages, which are awesome and lovely. The scrambled eggs and poached eggs, eggs hollandaise are again great. The array continue to steamed and light beans, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, diced potatoes grilled, baked beans. The counter has two chefs making omelet’s as per your order. Make your selection from onions, capsicum cheese or ham and get a fresh omelet made.  Personally I found the omelet a bit too bland to my taste.
The pastries and cakes had a good selections of almond biscotti’s, Danish, cup cakes and all. This section was again lovely. Really delicious cakes and sweet breads.

All in all a lovely experience. The food spread is pretty good, the ambience and the set up are outstanding, the service is impeccable.  The food quality is great. I will really recommend going for this breakfast buffet. The buffet costs$42, which is on the higher side, but if you look at the deal, I think its pretty good. Go for it guys. Enjoy it. Every time I come here for breakfast, Igo out with a food induced coma. It’s called indulgence.

Level 1, 1 Martin Place Sydney, NSW 2000 · Australia

Phone: +61 2 8223.1110     Email: westin.sydney@westin.com

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