Tag Archives: markets

A food-obsessed guide to Sydney’s Inner West

Let’s get one thing straight before corrections pile in and objections are made (as if I had the reader base): we are not experts on the Sydney food scene yet. In fact, we’ve only been here for two months, give or take a week, and while we do tend to plan every outing around some food destination or another, we have only just begun to discover the best bits of our own neighborhood. Sydney is a big place, and clearly has a fantastic, diverse, exciting food scene for those who like to try out new cuisines from around the world.  These are just our initial impressions.

The farmers’ market scene in Sydney is serious. There is a market in pretty much every suburb you can think of.  Near us, the Eveleigh (Carriageworks) market is probably the biggest, and it’s every Saturday, so we frequently end up buying our produce, bread, and meat there.  Most of the vendors give out samples, too, so you can taste before you buy.  If you go, check out the bread selection at the La Tartine bakery stand. It’s the cheapest and best of all the bakers at the market.

Saturday 8 am – 1 pm, 243 Wilson St. Eveleigh NSW

The Marrickville market is a bit more fun, and has a greater variety of (non-edible) goods. It’s a bit crunchier, but it’s a better lunch destination, and seems to have more variety in terms of produce.  As we’ve found, most Australian farmers market producers aren’t particularly adventurous with heirloom fruits and veg, which is a shame, really.  But that may just be a seasonal thing.

Sunday 8:30 am -3 pm, Addison Rd. Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd. Marrickville NSW

Campos coffee gets my vote for the best coffee in Sydney. I know people who make it a destination for the weekend, and there’s always a long line out the door if you want to actually sit in the tiny cafe.  The coffee rivals some of the Kona coffee I’ve tried, and is about as expensive as all the other beans in this city. Dark City is my favorite so far, but the Obama blend is pretty nice, too. Another plus? They roast the beans in our neighborhood, which means they’re always fresh.

Various locations. Mine is 132 Missenden Rd. Newtown, NSW.

Mamak is closer to the CBD than Newtown, but I’m including it because it’s one of those places that you line up for without regret.  They make the best fresh rotis in town, and rival even the Deep South (USA, folks) for their fried chicken. Their curries are pretty tasty, too. Their prices and late night hours on Friday and Saturday (2 am closing time) demand repeat visits.  Even better, they are BYO, with a $2 corking fee, so the absence of a wine list really isn’t an issue.

15 Goulburn St. Haymarket, Sydney NSW.

Other places to check out:

Dae Jang Kum Korean BBQ Restaurant, 35 Goulburn St. Haymarket. Excellent and affordable Korean BBQ. Bring friends.

Doythao Thai, 343-345 King St. Newtown. Try their Massamann curry or spicy noodles. Order less rice than you think you’ll need.

Istanbul on King, 159 King St. Newtown. Excellent pide, and a funky little dining area (past the flouro takeout counter in front) featuring Turkish music videos and intricate carpets.

Pho 236, 236 King St. Newtown. Excellent pho for cheap, BYO. This place is always packed, despite a less than charming atmosphere.

Happy Chef Chinese, 264 King St. Newtown. Cheap, delicious, and not necessarily greasy.  Order noodle soups with veggies — they always taste fresh and are properly cooked.

(Brasserie Bread’s soy and linseed loaf)

Sydney has a decent selection of artisan bakeries. None of them make the crackly, almost burnt crust you crave after a trip to Paris, but they do seem to do a decent job with sourdough loaves. Brasserie Bread makes a good soy and linseed loaf, but is otherwise not really worth the price. Sonoma bakery has some decent whole grain loaves, as well. Bourke St. Bakery (633 Bourke St.) is the best for the price, and often has interesting loaves (fig and barberry was one of my favorites, with big, juicy figs throughout the loaf for just $4.50). There’s a line there, too. La Tartine is also similarly price, and has the best loaves across the board. I get their bread at the Eveleigh Markets (see above).  Other notables are Le Pain Quotidien (yes, it’s a chain, but it’s an excellent one) and the Paris Patisserie Francaise (no bread, but their tarts are decadent; 91 Bondi Rd. Bondi). There’s also one across the street from the Kings Cross Farmers market whose name escapes me, but they make the most heavenly almond croissants I’ve ever tasted.

Finally, this is our awesome spice rack, made of a “Victorian whatnot” from Mitchell Rd. Auctions (one of our favorite places in Sydney), spice jars left over from our wedding decorations, and spices from random places around Sydney. Which reminds me: if you’re ever in need of 5 kg of smoked paprika, or any other spice, flour, or grain, visit Fiji Market (591 King St.). If you only need a pinch, try the Alfalfa House Organic Food Co-op at 113 Enmore Rd, Enmore. Join for a 10% discount, and bring your own containers. Yes, we are members, and yes, we have purchased everything from cacao butter to spinach pasta from this particular bulk food paradise.

That’s all for now… I’ll try and keep you posted on our current discoveries, but am in the midst of a new, exciting project that’s eating up some of my time. More on that soon!


Filed under Australia, Beginnings, travel

Hello from Melbourne!

Melbourne skyline over Flinders St. train tracks

Melbourne skyline over Flinders St. train tracks

Sorry for the long pause. I promise to try to keep them shorter this time, though the next month will be pure madness, work-wise. At the moment, I’m in Melbourne, Australia, taking a little break before I head to Canberra for an experiment. So far? I’ve walked everywhere. This is a city to explore on foot, if you can; the public green spaces are ubiquitous and well-planned, and there are people out and about everywhere. Running, chatting, drinking insane amounts of caffeine. You can’t help but pick up a bit of inspiration as you walk by your umpteenth jogger of the day.

Check out the metalwork. These details are common throughout Sydney and Melbourne.

Check out the metalwork. These details are common throughout Sydney and Melbourne.

The city has a little something for the food-obsessed, as well, though I can’t say it’s necessarily unique for Australia. If there’s one thing you’re pretty much guaranteed to find in any of the major cities out here, it’s an excellent market or two. Melbourne is no exception. The Queen Victoria Markets are definitely a tourist attraction, but they also happen to have a huge selection of produce, meat, eggs, fish, and pretty much anything else you might hope to eat. I got an awesome Barramundi, which is a white, tender, sweet-tasting fish, and some cavolo nero for dinner while I was there, though I’ll save that for another post.

Queen Victoria Markets -- one of many produce isles

Queen Victoria Markets -- one of many produce isles

There are also smaller venues, like Prahran Markets, which would put your local store’s produce section to shame. Even in winter! It may be a zillion degrees and humid back home, but it’s positively chilly here. This sort of explains the sad looking crop of tomatoes I saw pretty much everywhere, though I hear their second season should come soon.

Prahran Markets. Go have a coffee, and then buy yourself some apples.

Prahran Markets. Go have a coffee, and then buy yourself some apples.

I was happy to discover that there are also a few awesome little bakeries popping up across the city. In St. Kilda, along Fitzroy St., I came across Baker D Chirico, which makes deliciously crusty, buttery, chewy baguettes with organic flour and fairly basic ingredients. (The challah and pastries also looked amazing, but food’s expensive here, so I only got one loaf). It’s worth a trip, especially if you pair it with a coffee at the end of the St. Kilda pier, where you just might see a few dolphins:

This was taken next to the cafe at the end of the pier. There were three of them, and they played in the relatively shallow waters for quite a while.

This was taken next to the cafe at the end of the pier. There were three of them, and they must have felt like putting on a bit of a show, because they stayed for quite a while!

Other highlights so far: The Melbourne Museum, which combines culture, science, art, and history under one roof, shows at the Art Centre (with a student discount), and the amazing Botanical Garden. For more pictures, visit me at flickr.

And one last thing: James is dutifully tending our own wild bunch of tomato plants back home, and I thought I’d give an update, since it’s been a while since my last garden post.

Tomatoes gone wild.

Tomatoes gone wild.

Can you believe we started these things from seed? This picture is a week or so old, too. There are probably 20-30 brandywines in that mess, and hundreds of sungolds and yellow pears. He’s starting to get ripe ones, too … Yum.

That’s all for now. Tomorrow, I’m headed to the Dandenongs, and perhaps a Yarra Valley winery or two for a tasting. After that? Well, I’ll be ready to get back to work. At least, I hope so, anyway …

Before I forget, thanks for all the well wishes on the last post — I’m better now, thankfully!


Filed under Melbourne, stories