Reviews



Zabars Delicatessen, Bellevue Hill

Cafes, Kosher

Overall 8  1

8 Recommended

Food  8      Coffee  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  8     


We had a delicious lunch here on a hot day in January when all the other cafes and restaurants in the area were closed for the holidays.

Zabars is a casual and relaxed café, with indoor and outdoor seating; place for maybe 30 people in all. It’s not the kind of place you need to book for either, just roll up and grab a table.

Three of us lunched and we ordered the roast beef sandwiches, drinks and coffees. The sandwiches were neatly presented on crispy, toasted Lebanese bread, thinly sliced. They were chock full of tender and tasty roast beef slices with lettuce, tomato, mustard and generous slices of juicy Israeli cucumbers. The piping hot cappuccinos were perfect to end the meal with.

We chose to sit indoors but with a gentle breeze wafting in we were cool and comfortable on the wooden bench with the soft cushions. Service was polite, friendly and efficient despite the place being fairly busy. My only complaint was that no cutlery was brought with the sandwiches. Now I know that some people like using their hands for these things but at least give diners the option.

We paid a modest $36 for a small bottle of sparkling mineral water, two roast beef sandwiches and three cappuccinos. There was plenty of free parking (limited to two hours) along Bellevue Road to make Zabars the ideal, hassle-free lunch spot in Bellevue Hill.

Jan 21, 2015

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Saigon Hills, Castle Hill

Restaurants, Asian, Vietnamese, Serves Takeaway, Menulog Delivery and Pickup

Overall 8.2  19

8.8 Highly Recommended

Food  9      Ambience  8      Service  9      Value  9     


Booking

Four of us dined on a busy Saturday night in January and the place was pretty full, so I guess, it’s a good idea to book ahead for weekends. Being in almost-rural Castle Hill though, I can’t imagine that booking would be necessary on a weeknight.

Food

The fare here is Vietnamese and it’s superb: Every dish is beautifully prepared with love, care and attention to detail. For starters, we shared a single serve of “Cha Gio Chay “ - three delicate spring rolls with carrot, taro and mung bean - and “Banh Xeo Chay “, which is a Vietnamese pancake with tofu, vegetables, mung bean and crushed peanuts. Both dishes were fresh and tasty, full of nutritious ingredients but not too heavy or loaded up with sauces. The perfect way to start the meal. For mains we choose four dishes including honey chicken (“Go Mat Ong”), stir-fried beef with ginger and vegetables (“Bo Xao Rau Cai”), stir-fried prawns with garlic, broccoli, celery and onion (“Tom Xao Toi”) and “Ga Xa Ot”, stir-fried chicken fillets with lemon-grass, chilli, capsicum, carrot, mushroom, broccoli and onion. We rounded that off with steamed rice and a plate of crunchy vegetables in oyster sauce. Portion sizes were large enough to fill us all up; in fact we could easily have gotten away with three dishes and still have left full! But this food is just outstanding and everyone enjoyed their meals. For me, the honey chicken was the stand-out dish. The chicken was tender and succulent, sliced in small, lean pieces and smothered in a honey sauce. Just delicious. The spicy chilli chicken dish was the perfect complement.

Ambience

Saigon Hills is a smallish restaurant with room for about 40 diners in a neat, square configuration. The interior design has 1980s written all over it, with plain furniture, outdated, patterned carpets and a fish bowl at the far end (for decoration, not for eating, thankfully). But despite its age, the décor and fit-out work well to create a warm and homely atmosphere. Although the place was full, the other guests were all quiet and well behaved, making dining here a pleasure because it was casual and relaxing; just what we needed for after a hectic holiday season.

Service

Service was a pleasure and all the staff were attentive, friendly and polite. Dishes came out in the correct order and super quickly too. And the maître’d was extremely appreciative of the 10% tip we left at the end. Only complaint was that, once seated, we had to summon a waiter to take our order. I prefer not to have to do that.

Value

You’ll notice that I haven’t appended the meal prices in the “food” section and that’s because there really isn’t any need. Suffice to say that the value here is unbeatable so just order whatever you want and you’ll be bowled over by the modest bill at the end. We paid $140, which included a 10% tip and that bought us two shared starters, four mains, vegetables and rice all round. Although it’s licensed, we brought our own alcohol and that seemed to present no problem although I’m not sure if corkage was added or not.

Comfort

Being carpeted, acoustics were fine and we had no trouble conversing. We were given a large and comfy table right in the middle of the room. The menu is clearly laid and easy to follow in the strong lighting. Toilets are clean and well stocked, although one door in the gent’s toilet was broken and unable to close properly.

Location and Parking

Unlimited and free parking literally outside the front door.

Summary

We had a delightful evening here. Everything went off smoothly and the food was exceptional. I’m sure we’ll be back.

Memo

Book ahead for Saturday night to avoid being disappointed. And just one minor point here: Is the name Saigon Hill or Saigon Hills? A small point, I know, but it’s a tad sloppy and shows a lack of attention to detail in the marketing dept! Eatability says “Saigon Hills”, but the website says “Saigon Hill”. The cc receipt had “Saigon Hill” on it, but the all-important biz card says “Saigon Hills” so which is it, guys?

Jan 14, 2015

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Restaurants, Indian, Family Dining, Good For Groups, Banquet

Overall 8  3

8 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  8     


Full marks to the management and staff here for coping so well on a hectic and busy New Year’s Eve. Despite the place being packed, they remained calm, composed and polite. Orders were promptly taken and there was no long wait for the meals.

And the food was of the highest quality. Five of us dined. For starters, we put together a mixed bag of samosas, potato patties and onion and spinach bhaji. For mains, we ordered a selection of beef, chicken, lamb and vegetarian dishes, plus basmati rice and naan bread. Everything we choose was fresh and tasty and presented to the table in stylish copper bowls. Portion sizes were just right for a satisfying and enjoyable meal.

As for the restaurant itself, the ambience is light and airy, and being so near Coogee beach you can almost smell the surf. With white tiled floors, plenty of space between the tables and the front doors flung wide open to the street, it’s pleasantly cool on a hot summer’s night. The only problem with this configuration though is that it can be hellishly noisy. And I guess because it was NYE there was an unusually high number of loud family groups which made it so bad we could simply not converse; not until the crowds had thinned after the 9.00pm fireworks and the place had quietened down a bit. Then, of course, it’s a pleasure to sit back and relax after your meal, looking out onto the streetscape outside as the cool breeze wafts in.

So I guess this would be an ideal choice for weeknight dining on a warm eve. But it’s best avoided at busy times and probably wouldn’t be too pleasant in the middle of winter either.

Male and female toilets are right next to each other with a shared basin in the middle: so that’s not great for privacy; especially not when the one YOU want is occupied: You’ll need to wait outside or go back to your table and try again later. Just not the best. Towards the end of the night, they tend to get rather dirty as well. The menu is clearly laid out and easy to read in the strong light.

Parking generally isn’t too much of a hassle during the week and you’ll find spots in nearby Arcadia Street. But again, special events and weekends are a nightmare, when Coogee must surely be one of the worst places in Sydney for parking.

The value here is second to none and I was surprised at how modest our bill was. And this was without any vouchers or docket deals and on NYE to boot, when so many restaurants load up their prices to ridiculous levels. For five of us, we paid $163. With a tip that took it up to $180 or $36 a head and everyone ate handsomely for that price. Clove is unlicensed, which may also account for the small price tag.

This is one place I’m looking forward to going back to.

Busy restaurant Happy diners NYE 2014 15 Light and airy Classy interior Onion and spinach bhaji Mixed entrees Basmati rice
Chicken saag Mango chicken Soft naan bread Quiet after the fireworks Thanks Clove


Jan 08, 2015

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Restaurants, Italian, Family Dining, Good for Business Dining, Good For Groups

Overall 6.6  78

7.5 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  5      Service  9      Value  8     


Unfortunately, our evening here was spoiled by the noise. We were celebrating a friend’s birthday on a busy Fri night. There were nine in our party and we were placed in the rather claustrophobic and drab back room, which is like the function room, along with one other party of 20 diners, (which included about half a dozen young kids), also celebrating a birthday. Now while this neighbouring party were generally well behaved and polite, it’s pretty much impossible to have a party of that size with so many young children and not make a deafening racket in a cramped space, with no windows and no carpets or other noise absorbers. So once our neighbours arrived, that put an end to all relaxed conversation. We simply couldn’t hear ourselves think.

And that was a pity since this is a fine restaurant that works well on all other levels. It’s managed with passion, care and attention to detail. The food is fresh and tasty, beautifully prepared with love and presented to the table in stylish white crockery. The service from Tony and his wife was attentive, efficient, friendly and polite. You just couldn’t have asked for better. Our table was attractively laid with crisp white napery and stainless steel cutlery. And despite my trepidation, we found easy parking about 500 metres from the restaurant further down Marion Street, where restrictions end at 6.00pm.

Now if I had been Tony I would have warned our party that another much larger party was going to share the back room with us and ask us to either choose another night or, better still, put us in the front room, which faces onto the street and seemed much more quiet, airy and comfortable. But back in the function room, carpets and noise absorbers are urgently needed.

Dec 17, 2014

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Restaurants, Italian, Family Dining, Good For Groups, Hip and Trendy

Overall 7.6  21

8 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  8     


Booking

Fortunately we had taken the precaution of booking ahead for a Sun night because when we arrived, the place was packed, even though it was a miserable and rather wet and dreary last night of spring. We had asked for a table near the middle, but ended up being squeezed into what seemed like the last free table in the corner.

Food

The fare here is Italian, with mainly pastas, pizzas and veal dishes. We started with the “Arancini Siciliani”, risotto balls filled with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and topped with Napoletana sauce ($14). Lovely, and soft filling around a crispy coating. Three small balls, just right for the three of us to start things off with. For mains we shared two pizzas and a pasta dish. For the pizzas, we chose the “Isabella” – that’s the one with Italian sausage, potato and mushrooms on a garlic, rosemary, mozzarella and olive oil base ($26) – and the vegetarian, which has grilled eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, mushroom, pumpkin, mozzarella and Napoletana sauce ($25). The pizzas were both fresh and tasty and neatly prepared on a thin base with lashings of all the toppings advertised. For our pasta dish, we went for the “Penne Genovese” with chicken, in a basil pesto sauce with sundried tomatoes ($26). For me, that was the stand out dish. The pasta was soft, and the creamy pesto sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the tender, succulent chicken pieces. We finished off with a warm sticky date pud with a dollop of smooth vanilla ice cream and sliced strawberries. The perfect way to end the meal.

Ambience

This strikes me as being a fairly typical family-friendly restaurant with plain white and black furniture and most of the seating outdoors under market umbrellas with plastic sheeting to keep things warm and dry even on a wet night. Generally fairly non-descript décor but the fact that the place was so full did give it a lively and energetic atmosphere.

Service

After a slow start, things picked up once we got the maître d’s attention, and he was quite apologetic for making us wait for service. Thereafter it went off without a hitch. Drinks were quickly brought to the table followed by the entrée, mains and dessert, all in the correct order. Wait staff are neatly turned out in smart black outfits and Andy, our table waiter, was helpful, polite and efficient.

Value

Luckily we had our Ent Bk voucher which offers a 25% discount up to generous max of $40. So that kept our bill for three to an acceptable $90. That bought us one beer, one soft drink, one shared entrée, three mains and a single shared dessert. Without the discount though, the bill would have been a rather hefty $120. So the moral of the story is that we wouldn’t come here without a voucher, but it’s fairly solid value with one.

Comfort

I wasn’t mad about being plonked right in the corner, which made it difficult to get in and out as tables are packed close together. And they’re too small to comfortably fit all the dishes so we had to ask our waiter for a pizza stand, which helped things. The menu is clearly laid out and easy to read in bright lighting. Toilets are in the concourse, requiring you to step outside the restaurant to use them, and being in a public area, open to anyone. That’s not something I prefer especially at night. They were clean and well provisioned though and not difficult to find.

Location and Parking

You'll find Terrazza, along with a number of other restaurants, in the Concourse at the top of Vic Avenue. It’s a short stroll from the Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre where you can score three hours free parking.

Summary

Overall we had a pleasant eve here. This is a professionally run and managed restaurant and the crowds - even on a wet Sunday night - indicating that these guys have obviously built a reputation for themselves among the locals. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back – with the voucher of course.

Market umbrella keeping it dry Busy on a Sun night Arancini Siciliani Isabella pizza Vegetarian pizza Duelling pizzas Penna Genovese
SD Pud


Dec 08, 2014

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artforartssake


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Member since 2006

I'm Male and married

My birthday is on 4th Nov 1956

My home town is Syd

They say I'm Fussy

Apart from eating, I read

You'll often catch me at home

I crave peanuts

My favourite cuisine is Indian

My favourite drink is Foaming amber ale

Last updated on 25th Sep 2011





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Zabars Delicatessen, Bellevue Hill

Cafes, Kosher

Overall 8  1

8 Recommended

Food  8      Coffee  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  8     


We had a delicious lunch here on a hot day in January when all the other cafes and restaurants in the area were closed for the holidays.

Zabars is a casual and relaxed café, with indoor and outdoor seating; place for maybe 30 people in all. It’s not the kind of place you need to book for either, just roll up and grab a table.

Three of us lunched and we ordered the roast beef sandwiches, drinks and coffees. The sandwiches were neatly presented on crispy, toasted Lebanese bread, thinly sliced. They were chock full of tender and tasty roast beef slices with lettuce, tomato, mustard and generous slices of juicy Israeli cucumbers. The piping hot cappuccinos were perfect to end the meal with.

We chose to sit indoors but with a gentle breeze wafting in we were cool and comfortable on the wooden bench with the soft cushions. Service was polite, friendly and efficient despite the place being fairly busy. My only complaint was that no cutlery was brought with the sandwiches. Now I know that some people like using their hands for these things but at least give diners the option.

We paid a modest $36 for a small bottle of sparkling mineral water, two roast beef sandwiches and three cappuccinos. There was plenty of free parking (limited to two hours) along Bellevue Road to make Zabars the ideal, hassle-free lunch spot in Bellevue Hill.

Jan 21, 2015

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Saigon Hills, Castle Hill

Restaurants, Asian, Vietnamese, Serves Takeaway, Menulog Delivery and Pickup

Overall 8.2  19

8.8 Highly Recommended

Food  9      Ambience  8      Service  9      Value  9     


Booking

Four of us dined on a busy Saturday night in January and the place was pretty full, so I guess, it’s a good idea to book ahead for weekends. Being in almost-rural Castle Hill though, I can’t imagine that booking would be necessary on a weeknight.

Food

The fare here is Vietnamese and it’s superb: Every dish is beautifully prepared with love, care and attention to detail. For starters, we shared a single serve of “Cha Gio Chay “ - three delicate spring rolls with carrot, taro and mung bean - and “Banh Xeo Chay “, which is a Vietnamese pancake with tofu, vegetables, mung bean and crushed peanuts. Both dishes were fresh and tasty, full of nutritious ingredients but not too heavy or loaded up with sauces. The perfect way to start the meal. For mains we choose four dishes including honey chicken (“Go Mat Ong”), stir-fried beef with ginger and vegetables (“Bo Xao Rau Cai”), stir-fried prawns with garlic, broccoli, celery and onion (“Tom Xao Toi”) and “Ga Xa Ot”, stir-fried chicken fillets with lemon-grass, chilli, capsicum, carrot, mushroom, broccoli and onion. We rounded that off with steamed rice and a plate of crunchy vegetables in oyster sauce. Portion sizes were large enough to fill us all up; in fact we could easily have gotten away with three dishes and still have left full! But this food is just outstanding and everyone enjoyed their meals. For me, the honey chicken was the stand-out dish. The chicken was tender and succulent, sliced in small, lean pieces and smothered in a honey sauce. Just delicious. The spicy chilli chicken dish was the perfect complement.

Ambience

Saigon Hills is a smallish restaurant with room for about 40 diners in a neat, square configuration. The interior design has 1980s written all over it, with plain furniture, outdated, patterned carpets and a fish bowl at the far end (for decoration, not for eating, thankfully). But despite its age, the décor and fit-out work well to create a warm and homely atmosphere. Although the place was full, the other guests were all quiet and well behaved, making dining here a pleasure because it was casual and relaxing; just what we needed for after a hectic holiday season.

Service

Service was a pleasure and all the staff were attentive, friendly and polite. Dishes came out in the correct order and super quickly too. And the maître’d was extremely appreciative of the 10% tip we left at the end. Only complaint was that, once seated, we had to summon a waiter to take our order. I prefer not to have to do that.

Value

You’ll notice that I haven’t appended the meal prices in the “food” section and that’s because there really isn’t any need. Suffice to say that the value here is unbeatable so just order whatever you want and you’ll be bowled over by the modest bill at the end. We paid $140, which included a 10% tip and that bought us two shared starters, four mains, vegetables and rice all round. Although it’s licensed, we brought our own alcohol and that seemed to present no problem although I’m not sure if corkage was added or not.

Comfort

Being carpeted, acoustics were fine and we had no trouble conversing. We were given a large and comfy table right in the middle of the room. The menu is clearly laid and easy to follow in the strong lighting. Toilets are clean and well stocked, although one door in the gent’s toilet was broken and unable to close properly.

Location and Parking

Unlimited and free parking literally outside the front door.

Summary

We had a delightful evening here. Everything went off smoothly and the food was exceptional. I’m sure we’ll be back.

Memo

Book ahead for Saturday night to avoid being disappointed. And just one minor point here: Is the name Saigon Hill or Saigon Hills? A small point, I know, but it’s a tad sloppy and shows a lack of attention to detail in the marketing dept! Eatability says “Saigon Hills”, but the website says “Saigon Hill”. The cc receipt had “Saigon Hill” on it, but the all-important biz card says “Saigon Hills” so which is it, guys?

Jan 14, 2015

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Restaurants, Indian, Family Dining, Good For Groups, Banquet

Overall 8  3

8 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  8     


Full marks to the management and staff here for coping so well on a hectic and busy New Year’s Eve. Despite the place being packed, they remained calm, composed and polite. Orders were promptly taken and there was no long wait for the meals.

And the food was of the highest quality. Five of us dined. For starters, we put together a mixed bag of samosas, potato patties and onion and spinach bhaji. For mains, we ordered a selection of beef, chicken, lamb and vegetarian dishes, plus basmati rice and naan bread. Everything we choose was fresh and tasty and presented to the table in stylish copper bowls. Portion sizes were just right for a satisfying and enjoyable meal.

As for the restaurant itself, the ambience is light and airy, and being so near Coogee beach you can almost smell the surf. With white tiled floors, plenty of space between the tables and the front doors flung wide open to the street, it’s pleasantly cool on a hot summer’s night. The only problem with this configuration though is that it can be hellishly noisy. And I guess because it was NYE there was an unusually high number of loud family groups which made it so bad we could simply not converse; not until the crowds had thinned after the 9.00pm fireworks and the place had quietened down a bit. Then, of course, it’s a pleasure to sit back and relax after your meal, looking out onto the streetscape outside as the cool breeze wafts in.

So I guess this would be an ideal choice for weeknight dining on a warm eve. But it’s best avoided at busy times and probably wouldn’t be too pleasant in the middle of winter either.

Male and female toilets are right next to each other with a shared basin in the middle: so that’s not great for privacy; especially not when the one YOU want is occupied: You’ll need to wait outside or go back to your table and try again later. Just not the best. Towards the end of the night, they tend to get rather dirty as well. The menu is clearly laid out and easy to read in the strong light.

Parking generally isn’t too much of a hassle during the week and you’ll find spots in nearby Arcadia Street. But again, special events and weekends are a nightmare, when Coogee must surely be one of the worst places in Sydney for parking.

The value here is second to none and I was surprised at how modest our bill was. And this was without any vouchers or docket deals and on NYE to boot, when so many restaurants load up their prices to ridiculous levels. For five of us, we paid $163. With a tip that took it up to $180 or $36 a head and everyone ate handsomely for that price. Clove is unlicensed, which may also account for the small price tag.

This is one place I’m looking forward to going back to.

Busy restaurant Happy diners NYE 2014 15 Light and airy Classy interior Onion and spinach bhaji Mixed entrees Basmati rice
Chicken saag Mango chicken Soft naan bread Quiet after the fireworks Thanks Clove


Jan 08, 2015

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Restaurants, Italian, Family Dining, Good for Business Dining, Good For Groups

Overall 6.6  78

7.5 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  5      Service  9      Value  8     


Unfortunately, our evening here was spoiled by the noise. We were celebrating a friend’s birthday on a busy Fri night. There were nine in our party and we were placed in the rather claustrophobic and drab back room, which is like the function room, along with one other party of 20 diners, (which included about half a dozen young kids), also celebrating a birthday. Now while this neighbouring party were generally well behaved and polite, it’s pretty much impossible to have a party of that size with so many young children and not make a deafening racket in a cramped space, with no windows and no carpets or other noise absorbers. So once our neighbours arrived, that put an end to all relaxed conversation. We simply couldn’t hear ourselves think.

And that was a pity since this is a fine restaurant that works well on all other levels. It’s managed with passion, care and attention to detail. The food is fresh and tasty, beautifully prepared with love and presented to the table in stylish white crockery. The service from Tony and his wife was attentive, efficient, friendly and polite. You just couldn’t have asked for better. Our table was attractively laid with crisp white napery and stainless steel cutlery. And despite my trepidation, we found easy parking about 500 metres from the restaurant further down Marion Street, where restrictions end at 6.00pm.

Now if I had been Tony I would have warned our party that another much larger party was going to share the back room with us and ask us to either choose another night or, better still, put us in the front room, which faces onto the street and seemed much more quiet, airy and comfortable. But back in the function room, carpets and noise absorbers are urgently needed.

Dec 17, 2014

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Restaurants, Italian, Family Dining, Good For Groups, Hip and Trendy

Overall 7.6  21

8 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  8     


Booking

Fortunately we had taken the precaution of booking ahead for a Sun night because when we arrived, the place was packed, even though it was a miserable and rather wet and dreary last night of spring. We had asked for a table near the middle, but ended up being squeezed into what seemed like the last free table in the corner.

Food

The fare here is Italian, with mainly pastas, pizzas and veal dishes. We started with the “Arancini Siciliani”, risotto balls filled with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and topped with Napoletana sauce ($14). Lovely, and soft filling around a crispy coating. Three small balls, just right for the three of us to start things off with. For mains we shared two pizzas and a pasta dish. For the pizzas, we chose the “Isabella” – that’s the one with Italian sausage, potato and mushrooms on a garlic, rosemary, mozzarella and olive oil base ($26) – and the vegetarian, which has grilled eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, mushroom, pumpkin, mozzarella and Napoletana sauce ($25). The pizzas were both fresh and tasty and neatly prepared on a thin base with lashings of all the toppings advertised. For our pasta dish, we went for the “Penne Genovese” with chicken, in a basil pesto sauce with sundried tomatoes ($26). For me, that was the stand out dish. The pasta was soft, and the creamy pesto sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the tender, succulent chicken pieces. We finished off with a warm sticky date pud with a dollop of smooth vanilla ice cream and sliced strawberries. The perfect way to end the meal.

Ambience

This strikes me as being a fairly typical family-friendly restaurant with plain white and black furniture and most of the seating outdoors under market umbrellas with plastic sheeting to keep things warm and dry even on a wet night. Generally fairly non-descript décor but the fact that the place was so full did give it a lively and energetic atmosphere.

Service

After a slow start, things picked up once we got the maître d’s attention, and he was quite apologetic for making us wait for service. Thereafter it went off without a hitch. Drinks were quickly brought to the table followed by the entrée, mains and dessert, all in the correct order. Wait staff are neatly turned out in smart black outfits and Andy, our table waiter, was helpful, polite and efficient.

Value

Luckily we had our Ent Bk voucher which offers a 25% discount up to generous max of $40. So that kept our bill for three to an acceptable $90. That bought us one beer, one soft drink, one shared entrée, three mains and a single shared dessert. Without the discount though, the bill would have been a rather hefty $120. So the moral of the story is that we wouldn’t come here without a voucher, but it’s fairly solid value with one.

Comfort

I wasn’t mad about being plonked right in the corner, which made it difficult to get in and out as tables are packed close together. And they’re too small to comfortably fit all the dishes so we had to ask our waiter for a pizza stand, which helped things. The menu is clearly laid out and easy to read in bright lighting. Toilets are in the concourse, requiring you to step outside the restaurant to use them, and being in a public area, open to anyone. That’s not something I prefer especially at night. They were clean and well provisioned though and not difficult to find.

Location and Parking

You'll find Terrazza, along with a number of other restaurants, in the Concourse at the top of Vic Avenue. It’s a short stroll from the Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre where you can score three hours free parking.

Summary

Overall we had a pleasant eve here. This is a professionally run and managed restaurant and the crowds - even on a wet Sunday night - indicating that these guys have obviously built a reputation for themselves among the locals. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back – with the voucher of course.

Market umbrella keeping it dry Busy on a Sun night Arancini Siciliani Isabella pizza Vegetarian pizza Duelling pizzas Penna Genovese
SD Pud


Dec 08, 2014

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MUMU Grill, Crows Nest

Restaurants, Modern Australian, Pizza, Steak House, Tapas

Overall 6.6  182

8 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  9      Value  7     


I was impressed by the clever idea of having a concierge desk at the entrance to the restaurant. So there’s no need to hunt around for someone to show you to your table when you arrive. And the place was humming with activity at 7.00pm on a Saturday night, with hardly an empty seat in the house. It’s carpeted but with wooden furniture and tables packed quite closely together, it can get noisy.

As the name suggests, it’s mainly meat dishes and grills on offer here. The beer menu had only “boutique” beers, none of which I’d heard of but my choice of a “Balmain Pale Ale” went down well.

We started the evening with a shared beetroot and pumpkin salad. It was fresh and tasty and full of colourful, nutritious ingredients but a tad stingy for the hefty $16 price tag. For my main, I had the striploin steak with a blue cheese and mushroom pate ($29). My steak was cooked to perfection just how I like it, with the meat tender and flavoursome. I enjoyed the interesting pate and green beans and chips accompaniment.

My wife had the slow cooked beef ribs ($33 for the half size) which also came with crunchy green beans and chips. Her meat was tasty and tender too, all that was left by the end of the eve was a plate of clean bones, so that’s testament to the quality of the food. Our friends had a selection of steaks and ribs, although one of our group, who had the fillet ($34) was disappointed by its size. We finished off with a mango flavoured crème brulee, which was sweet, soft and beautifully presented in a large white plate but at $16, also a tad expensive for a small serve.

But everyone enjoyed their meals. The quality of the ingredients was first class and the chef here clearly knows what he or she is doing. And the dishes were all neatly presented on elegant white crockery. The ambience was lively, energetic and fun, a bit loud as mentioned but still encouraging to see a restaurant full of happy diners in these uncertain times.

Service was first class. The mainly female wait staff, all neatly attired in smart black outfits, go about their business with smiles on their faces. That must take some doing as they were pretty much rushed off their feet. Our petite table waitress with what sounded like a Spanish accent, was helpful, polite and patient. Dishes came out promptly and in the correct order. It was a pleasure to be served by people who clearly enjoy their work.

Parking is easy in the nearby council car park on Alexander Street. The place is quite comfy although the toilets needed some attention during the evening. By 9.30pm they were quite dirty and in the gent’s, a broken toilet seat was in need of repair. Dirty toilets in a poor state of repair is never a good look.

As far as value is concerned, this isn’t a place I’d be rushing back to without an Ent Book discount, which is 25% up to a generous $45. We brought two bottles of wine and were hit with a hefty $30 corkage, or $15 a bottle. So with two Ent Book cards, our bill came to $173 for five people. That included a single beer, a single salad, five mains, a serve of mushrooms, a single dessert, two coffees and aforementioned corkage. Without the discount, it would have been a steep $253 or $50 a head. See what I mean? Too expensive without the discount.

Overall, we had a pleasant evening here. Despite the crowds the whole place runs like a well-oiled machine and everything went off smoothly. We'll be back with next years Ent Book card!

Dec 01, 2014

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GoodTime Burgers, Bondi Junction

Restaurants, Burger, Good for Brunch, Serves Lunch, Serves Takeaway

Overall 7.6  3

7.8 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  7      Service  8      Value  8     


We had a pleasant, casual meal here on a Thursday eve ahead of a movie at the Event Cinemas upstairs. We ordered two burgers, a salad, and a portion of chips. That cost us a modest $27 with our Ent Book voucher, which offers one free burger with every one bought. We were also lucky enough to arrive during happy hour, so all drinks were $4. I treated myself to a schooner of Carlton Draught and my wife had a glass of sparkling white wine. So that added $8 to the bill, all up $35 for the meals and the drinks. Can’t complain about that in Bondi Junction.

I ordered the “Good Ol’ Time” burger, which was solid value at $10, although that’s all you get: a beef pattie with tomato, chutney, lettuce, onion and aioli. Fairly basic and served on a simple plastic plate, but neatly constructed on a fresh, crispy bun and a perfect size for me. My wife ordered an interesting take on the traditional burger: one with no bun. The meat was tender and flavoursome and accompanied by all the usual burger add-ons except that they’re on the plate beside the meat rather than in a bun. To complement the meat we ordered a couscous salad ($12) and a serve of chips ($5). The salad was generous and the plate filled with nutritious ingredients including couscous and roasted pumpkins. The chips were crunchy and delicious. All up, we enjoyed our meals.

Ambience reminds me of an American-style diner, with a bar counter in the middle. There are no carpets or other noise absorbers, and with TV screens blaring and music being played at high volume it can be a hellishly noisy on a busy night. Luckily for us, on a quiet Thursday eve, the place was only about half full so we had no trouble in conversing.

The drill is that you front up to the bar counter (same place where you get your drinks), and a pretty waitress in a skimpy outfit will take your order and your money and give you a number to plonk on your table. Shortly thereafter, the meals will be delivered by another friendly young waitress in a skimpy uniform. Uniforms aside, we found all the staff to be friendly, polite and efficient.

Toilets are conveniently located in the middle of the restaurant. They’re well stocked but in need of more regular cleaning. The menu is large and easy to read, but the online one only has some of the choices, but not all.

You’ll find Goodtime Burgers on Oxford Street, Bondi Junction with direct access from the Westfield Shopping Centre via the ground level near the Woolworths.

Overall, we found this a convenient place to have a quick bite before the movies and were satisfied with the meals and the service. Prices are modest, especially with an Ent Book voucher and $4 a drink during happy hour is a steal. I’m sure we’ll be back even without a voucher.

Nov 17, 2014

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Bazaar Beer Cafe, St Leonards

Restaurants, Belgian, European, Modern Australian, Family Dining

Overall 7.4  96

8.5 Highly Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  9      Value  9     


Booking

We took the precaution of booking ahead for a Sunday night, but it wasn’t necessary. In fact, when we arrived, there were few drinkers outside but no-one inside dining, so we were the first. Fortunately though, it did fill up as the evening went on but was never more than half full at its peak. We asked the waitress about this, she told us it was hard to predict, but that Saturday night is usually quite full.

Food

The fare is traditional Eastern European, with a strong emphasis on schnitzels and other meaty offerings. Plus, as the name suggests a varied selection of European craft beers. I started off with a half-litre of a classical dark Czech brew called “Cernovar Dark Lager” ($9). It had a delicious, fruity caramel flavour and, helped by my dining companions, we downed that in double quick time. For starters, we shared a serve of mushroom arancini ($12) with saffron aioli sauce. What a perfect way to start the meal, with a soft, tantalising treat. For my main, I played it safe and choose the Vienna schnitzel ($24), with parsley, mash and steamed vegetables. The schnitzel was carefully prepared with the batter held firmly in place and no loose bits, which I hate. The meat was tender and flavoursome and the creamy mash and soft vegetables were just the right accompaniment to an outstanding dish. My friends had the pork belly ($24) and the salmon fillet ($25) and both were suitably impressed with their meals. For desserts, we choose the strudel ($10). Served with a dollop of fresh vanilla ice cream and with one half of the concoction smothered in chocolate, it was sweet, soft and delightful. Serving sizes were just right, we didn’t overeat and neither did we leave hungry.

Ambience

When we first arrived, our hearts dropped because the place looked like a beer hall from the 1980s; Spartan and a bit soulless with wooden benches or tables, tiled floors and little in the way of decoration or interior design to brighten it up. But I must confess that it grew on us as the evening went on and I ended up quite liking the unpretentious and homely atmosphere that this kind of interior engenders. Sure, it’s nothing flash, but it’s inviting and relaxing in its own way. And once a few more diners arrived to liven things up a bit, we couldn’t have been happier!

Service

Our smiling, cheery waitress was polite, efficient and helpful. I hope that everyone who goes to the Beer Cafe gets served by this lady because she really made our experience a pleasant and happy one. Dishes came out promptly and in the correct order, there was no long wait for the meals and she helped us choose the best beer on the menu.

Value

Prices here are at the lower end of the range, and our Ent Book voucher (one free main meal up to $35 in value) kept the bill to a modest $85. That got us one small and one large Cernovar lager, three main meals, a starter and a dessert.

Comfort

Being a fairly quiet night, we had no trouble conversing. I imagine though, that with no sound absorbers, this could be a noisy venue if it got full with a few beer swilling rowdies. Toilets are clean and easy to find and the menu is clearly well laid out and simple to follow. Tables are a little cramped though, and given the amount of space that they have, there is room for larger ones. Overall though we were quite comfy and warm inside even though it was a chilly spring evening.

Location and Parking

You’ll find the Beer Cafe on Albany Street, not far from the corner of Pacific Highway. There’s plenty of parking on the other side of Willoughby Road, and, having lost our bearings anyway, we ended up parking underneath the little Crows Nest Shopping Plaza on the corner of Willoughby Rd and Atchison Street, where, it seems, no-one can be bothered charging for parking in the evenings. There’s also the council car park in Holterman Street where you can get a few free hrs but it’s totally free on Sun.

Summary

What a pleasant surprise this place turned out to be, so don’t be put off by the rather bland exterior. The guys who run the show here know what they’re doing. The food is fresh and tasty and there’s an extensive selection of Euro ales. Service is the best and the prices are moderate. We had an enjoyable evening and wouldn’t hesitate to go back – even without our Ent Bk voucher.

Memo

The dual pricing system on some main courses is with or without beer accompaniment. But you can do as we did, and simply choose your own.

Waiting for customers Quiet Sun night View from the table Fruity Czech dark ale Mushroom arancini View from the table Beautiful schnitzel
Tasty salmon Pork Delicious strudel Exterior Interior


Nov 11, 2014

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Restaurants, Asian Fusion, Thai, Family Dining, Fine Dining

Overall 7.2  28

8 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  8     


Booking

Six of us dined on a Saturday night. We had made a reservation, which was just as well, as there aren’t too many restaurants in his part of the world and this place was about 80% full. I can’t say what the drill is on a weeknight here, but certainly, for Saturday night dining, booking ahead would be the prudent thing to do.

Food

As one would expect from a popular eatery that seems to have a loyal following, everything we ordered was fresh, tasty and prepared with the best quality ingredients. For starters, we chose two serves of fish cakes ($8 for a serve of four pieces), a plate of salt and pepper chilli squid ($12) and two serves of curry puffs ($8 for two large ones). My fish cakes were firm and flavoursome. The curry puffs were larger than the ones one usually gets at Thai restaurants. The pastry outer was warm and crispy with a soft and appetising vegetarian filling. The perfect way to start the meal. For my main I choose the wagyu beef, Crying Tiger-style ($19). The meat was finely sliced in thin strips. It was perfectly cooked just the way I like it, but the meat remained tender. An excellent dish that would have been even better with a sprinkling of vegetables. My friend’s Massaman curry ($19) was a winner, the warm, succulent lamb drenched in a tangy curry sauce. Serving sizes were adequate and everything was presented to the table in stylish white crockery. The only disappointment was my wife’s mixed seafood platter at a rather hefty $25. The seafood was a tad dry and tasteless and the serving size was too small for that price.

Ambience

As mentioned, on the night we dined, the place was pretty packed with quite a few parties and family gatherings. So while it was humming with activity, it never got overly rowdy or loud, as so often happens when one is unlucky to encounter a bunch of large groups dining. The décor is fairly Spartan with concrete floors and wooden chairs and tables. Hard to see it all anyway in the dim lighting. Still, we all enjoyed the ambience which was lively and energetic.

Service

When we arrived, our booked table was ready and waiting, in an ideal spot in the centre of the restaurant. Despite the crowds, the staff seemed well trained to be able to deal with the situation and they were all helpful, patient and polite. And best of all, there was no long wait for the meals. Everything came out promptly and in the correct order. And when my wife expressed dissatisfaction to the maître d’ about her seafood platter, he handled the situation diplomatically by offering to reduce the price by half. That was a generous touch I thought.

Value

After the 50% discount on the seafood platter, we ended up paying $220 for the three shared starters, six mains, jasmine rice all round, a single crown lager, a bottle of Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc ($32) and corkage for the first bottle, which we brought ourselves. So with the tip that took it up to $40 a head. Fair value we all thought.

Comfort

While it does get noisy, we were still able to converse, because the tables are well spaced out and everyone seemed well behaved. Most of the diners in any event were the quieter suburban types. The furniture was a bit rickety but the chairs had soft cushions which made them rather comfy, but being semi-circular at the back, our jackets and coats, kept slipping off and onto the floor. There didn’t seem anywhere else to put them. Toilets are signposted, and being right in the middle of the restaurant, easy to find. They were clean and tidy except lacked hand towels. Menu is clearly laid out and simple to read, except I did struggle a bit in the dim lighting.

Location and Parking

The restaurant is located in a small complex on New Line Rd which includes a function centre, so there’s plenty of free parking.

Summary

Overall, we enjoyed our evening here and everything went off smoothly. Service was professional and efficient and the food was of the best quality. The ambience was pleasant, fun and lively, and parking was easy.

Memo

Book for Saturday night dining and drive right into the parking area, after turning off New Line Road.

Happy diners Interior Chilli squid Curry puffs Veg plate Massaman lamb curry Chicken and veg
Crying Tiger wagyu beef


Nov 02, 2014

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Restaurants, Steak House, Has Bar, Licensed, Serves Dinner

Overall 6.9  253

7.5 Recommended

Food  8      Ambience  8      Service  8      Value  6     


Booking

This must be one of the busiest restaurants in Bondi, so booking any night of the week is essential, especially on a weekend. We dined on a Sunday night and unfortunately, left our booking till the last minute so were only able to get a table for 8.30pm. Arriving about 30 min early we sat at the bar and whiled away the time drinking beer and snacking on calamari.

Food

As one would expect from a restaurant that’s been this popular for so long, the food is fresh, tasty and prepared with the best quality ingredients. The fare is traditional steakhouse style with a few vegetarian and seafood choices thrown in, but its meat that’s the main staple here. Four of us dined, and for starters we shared a rocket and Parmigiano salad. It was neatly presented with loads of nutritious ingredients, but at $20, quite pricey. For our mains, we played it safe by going for the basic sirloin steaks, at $30 a pop, (that’s with the 10% Sundays and pub hol surcharge.) These steaks are described as being for the “not-so-hungry” and they fit that description perfectly. They’re pretty small and with a meagre helping of chips, so in terms of value for money, you could do better at the local pub. But my steak was well cooked just the way I like it and the chips were crisp and crunchy, the perfect accompaniment to the meat. We ended up with what was supposed to be a sticky date pud ($16), but it looked and tasted more like mousse. Overall though, no-one can quibble about the quality of the offerings, although servings are too small to make for a satisfying and filling meal. Why people queue up to eat here at those prices is a mystery to me.

Ambience

As it’s always full, the ambience is busy, lively and energetic. Décor is fairly Spartan with plain furniture and concrete floors but as every square metre is filled with human bodies you’ll hardly notice that. There’s a bar counter at the entrance where you can buy a drink and nibbles while you wait for your table. The kitchen is glassed off on the far side but visible from inside the restaurant and the whole place is a blur of movement, action and activity! There’s outdoor seating too for those warm summer evenings.

Service

Clearly, staff have been adequately trained to deal with the crowds, because they all do their jobs in a calm, professional and efficient manner. They’re neatly turned out in smart black uniforms and they also know the menu well, so they are easily able to field any questions about the food. Our table waiter was particularly friendly, helpful and patient. And there’s no long wait for the meals either. We didn’t even have a chance to finish the starter before the mains were on the table and all that within less than 15 minutes of ordering.

Value

Fortunately we had our Ent Book card, which gives you a 25% discount up to $55 (that must be one of the most generous offers in the book). So, excluding drinks and a plate of calamari (which we purchased separately at the bar while waiting for our table), we paid $122 for the single salad, four mains including one veg platter and a dessert. Just remember to show your card at the bar counter if you order anything there before your meal. We forgot to, so we missed out on a $7 discount. Also bear in mind that the hated – and unnecessary – 10% surcharge is imposed on Sundays and pub hols, although you’d be hard pressed to find that in tiny print on the online menu.

Comfort

Despite the fact that the place is busy and the tables packed closely together, the noise absorbers on the walls work effectively to enable you to converse without too much problem. Toilets are well signposted and adequately supplied although no attempt is made to clean them during the evening so by about 9.30pm they’re in a pretty dirty state. The lighting is strong so it’s easy to read the clearly designed menu.

Location and Parking

This is another negative to prevent us from rushing back in a hurry. Parking is a nightmare at this location at the bottom of Roscoe Street, near the intersection with Campbell Parade. We eventually found a metered spot on Gould Street but had to pay for the privilege, even on a Sunday night.

Summary

A solid restaurant that runs like a well-oiled machine. However it’s too expensive without your Ent Book card and definitely to be avoided on a Sunday night or a pub hol unless you’re prepared to pay the surcharge. Probably best to come here on a weeknight anyway as Fri or Sat night would be too busy.

Memo

Book well in advance.

Oct 23, 2014

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    At Restaurant's head chef was chosen to take part in the opening of NOBU-Bahanmas, and also has expe… more


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    Restaurants, Indian, Citibank Dining Program, Serves Dinner, Serves Lunch
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    2 Photo of Unoya Japanese Restaurant

    Restaurants, Japanese, Serves Takeaway, Menulog Delivery and Pickup
    336 Darling St, Balmain, Sydney








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