Sweet Things- Vanilla Slice/Banoffee Cream Pie- Saga Lyte

Makers Dozen Food Hall, the Exchange Building, 1 Little Pier Street, Haymarket

Wanting an arvo pick-me-up, we headed to our new favourite ‘go-to’ (Makers Dozen Food court), this time to try out Andy Bowdy’s Saga Lyte pastry store!

Before getting there, I was telling my wife that I was craving a good old Vanilla slice, so naturally when we saw one on offer, I grabbed it! Vanilla Slice- $8.50.

While my wife couldn’t pass on the Banoffee Cream Pie ($8.50).

The humble Vanilla slice re-imagined, I’d say was the best description of Bowdy’s creation. What you’d usually expect as the top, i.e. the layer of yellow passion fruit icing, now that was the base of the slice, spread with the custard layer, then a layer of cream piped onto it, topped off by a thin layer of puff pastry and crunchy caramel bits. It was rich, the custard layer was like eating a dense vanilla ice cream, so prepared to put in an extra hour at the gym to burn off the calories from this decadent dessert.

The Banoffee Cream Pie had a thick chocolate tart base smeared with a layer of salted caramel. Cutting a good cross section including the base and the creamy filling was a must – allowing the salty/bitter base to cut through the sweetness of the creams. The pie filling consisted of fresh banana layered on top of the base, followed by a creamy banana mousse and a cream which was similar to the cream off the Vanilla slice.  Again, a ‘lyte’ in calorie meal for dinner is recommended to off-set some of the consumed calories from this wicked tart.

All in all, a nice treat when paired with a cup of their coffee! And if you’re keeping track, that’s 5 from 12 offerings we’ve tried from the Maker’s Dozen.   

Sweet things- Red Ninja Dragon Fruit Yoghurt- Koomi

404 Sussex Street, Haymarket

Being a sucker for all that is new, we found ourselves squished into a tiny multi-purpose store on Sussex Street placing an order for a Red Ninja Dragon Fruit Yoghurt (Asian smoothie) ($6.80). And found ourselves slowly browsing unpriced Asian cosmetics, as we waited for our order to be called.

When our drink was ready, we brandished our new re-useable stainless steel bubble tea drinking straw and pierced the seal and took our first sip of another copy-cat yoghurt drink place, all wanting to capitalise on Yomie’s drinking yoghurt successes.

Squinty faced emoji!

It’s watery (runny), not like a proper smoothie you’d get from smoothie giants Boost.

And the dragon fruit flavour was doing a great job of hiding, just like ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’!

And what you mainly got through your disposable (or re-usable eco-friendly) straw was masticated bits of banana, and the associated furriness which accompanies accidental inclusion of banana peel into your diet.

The drink wasn’t sweet, but sour (should rename this seg ‘Sour Things are Made of These’), due to the Yakult flavoured yoghurt water.

Our end verdict, I guess it’s thumbs up if this drink was the intended outcome, as they’ve created a drink which is entirely unique to them! God help us though, if they were actually trying to replicate a Yomie rice yoghurt, or a Boost juice like smoothie. *Holds face in hands*.  But is it a product which is commercially viable? I don’t think so. It could pass as an interesting drink if put together at home for friends, but probably not as a product you’d sell on the streets of Sydney.

If you wanna try this? I’d probably suggest you get on down here quick smart, as I can’t see them staying in business for much longer. R.I.P Koomi.  

Sweet Things- Koi Dessert Bar- Black Forest Jar

46 Kensington St, Chippendale

We’ve previously toyed (or is it ‘Toied’) with the idea of trying Koi Dessert Bar in the past, however to date we’ve always talked ourselves out of it due to our belief that their desserts were too indulgent for simple people like us- so we’ve always passed on trying their gorgeous looking desserts. Until yesterday!

As a farewell gift from colleagues at work (thanks so much again!!!!) they handed me a heavy laden bag containing two cake boxes, as they wished me all the best, treating my wife and I to some ‘Sweet things’ knowing that we were amateur-foodies.

Being Asian, I didn’t sneak a peek to see what was in the bag until I got home and was thrilled to see that they were desserts from Koi’s!!!! Thanks again guys!!!! You couldn’t have chosen anything better than this!

Unfortunately one of the desserts fell victim to my haste to get home, so the jostling kinda disfigured it- making it un-photogenic enough that we couldn’t post its glamour shot. But picture a tri-coloured slice? The top layer consisted of jelly with flour petals blended through it; a thick layer of smooth custardy goodness (which I’m struggling to recall its taste after a night’s sleep); and the bottom layer was a crunchy chocolate cookie base which was the highlight for me! Yum!

While the second dessert was presented within a jar (which protected it from the jostling), so it still presented as how its creator had intended it.

Tucking into it, it was like a trifle with many different layers, on top was a layer of powdery chocolate and whole preserved cherries; the flavours of the various thin layers blended together, but the overwhelming flavour was the taste of liqueur; while a layer of strawberry jam lined the bottom of the jar. Mmmmmmmmmm.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m pretty fixated with cost, and perceived value…… so I kept asking my wife as we shared the desserts: “Would you pay $15 for this?” And her response was “Maybe if it was priced at $12.00” (all the while we were unaware of the actual cost).

So this morning it was fun trying to pair up what we consumed last night, to what I could find on the Koi Dessert Bar’s cake shop menu.

We found out that the Cake Slice was a Tricolo- $12.00, while the jar was the Black Forrest- $13.00. So my wife was pretty bang-on with her perceived value and it’s actual cost. The Price is Right!!!!

In the end, each dessert was very decadent and it’s obvious that much time and effort is expended in constructing each creation! Thus it justifies the premium price, so it’s highly recommendable but….. Methinks only on special occasion. Thanks everyone again! I’ll miss you all, it has been a joy working with you!

Sweet Things- Grapefruit Bing Soo – Kanzi Café

Lower Ground, 393-399 Sussex Street, Haymarket

I remember as a kid, standing on the street level watching my mum as I waited for her whilst she did her Chinese grocery shopping at 393-399 Sussex Street. But the grocery store is long gone, and in its current iteration this below ground space is occupied by a Korean fashion store and its adjoining café serving fish shaped pastries, fruit flavoured slushies, and Bing Soos.

We were here after having lunch at Enjoy Café with my sis and her family, and we found ourselves a grouping of wicker lounges placed around a wicker coffee table in the below ground space as we waited for our orders to be made.

We ordered the Grapefruit Bing Soo, my sister and her husband shared with their kids the Mango Bing Soo, while the kids also shared a Watermelon slushie.

A Bing Soo for those less familiar with the Korean dessert, is a shaved ice, with different toppings incorporated into its icy enfold. For us our Bing Soo included Grapefruit juice, fresh pieces of grapefruit, these little exploding balls containing a sweet syrup within them (Popping Pearls) and underneath the dome of ice was a bed of cereal (Fruit-Loops and cornflakes). *Shrug*.

The Grapefruit was definitely sour, but with the iciness and the sweetness of the balls, it offset the tartness. And when we reached the layer of cereal, at first it was a little weird. But we started to understand the logic when the ice started to melt and the fruit-loops absorbed up the liquids. Because of this, it made the final 50% of the Bing Soo more enjoyable than other café’s offerings, as other Bing Soos end up becoming a Bing Soup!

My sister’s Mango Bing Soo was similar yet different, instead of the burst-y balls, they had small pieces of a sweet chewy thing, and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on top; and mango replaced the pieces of grapefruit; while they also had the bed of cereal which acted as a crunchy sponge.

For $14.90 each (small size), its a little bit ex-y; but to have a space in the city to hang-out, it was definitely worth it! The space for me, was actually the highlight, as it felt really cosy; the wicker lounges were comfortable enough as they had a layer of cushion to shield you from all the hard bits; you could pull over enough chairs so that your entire group can fit around the coffee table; and the music and other patrons were low and far enough that your group does not intrude on their group. So I liked the space probably more than the Bing Soo, and more than our dining companions. Jks Jks, I love hanging out with my nephew and niece!  

Check-out the Kanzi Café if you’re a group of 4-6 people, just wanting a nice space to continue on your lunch/dinner chats.

Sweet Things- Hot Cross Buns

Coles Supermarkets- Nationally

Hot cross buns don’t need any introduction, but I had to post this considering the prominence it has played in our lives over the past 4 months.

So families develop Easter traditions over-time, be that catching-up over a seafood BBQ on the Friday or Sunday; Easter egg hunts in the backyard is a given if you have under 5s; and the office morning tea with warm hot cross buns and melty butter occurred in many office break-outs across Australia on the days leading up to Good Friday! And my wife and I, we have our very own Easter tradition of purchasing Hot Cross buns as soon as our local Coles supermarket starts to stock the criss crossed, glazed, spiced fruit buns. And we keep buying and consuming them every weekend until they eventually stop selling them when Easter has come and gone.

These days Coles start making and selling their hot cross buns literally on the first weekend after Christmas! So we’ve been consuming the cinnamon fruit bun for coming on 17 weekends now and to tell  you the truth, we’re pretty ready for an 8 month break from hot cross buns. Haaha.

But Coles has done a great job, if you buy your bread in the afternoons they’re always fresh (in the mornings they’re usually still trying to move the day old stock). So we’ve always been pleased with its freshness, and we find the traditional hot cross buns still being the best! The apple-cinnamon was a bit too sweet for our liking, and this year we’ve stayed clear of the chocolate versions, and the advertised raspberry white chocolate hot cross bun may only be a myth? As we never saw this bun iteration at our local Coles.

So a thank you to Coles and Hot Cross Buns for being a part of our family and our Easter tradition for the past 4 months! But it is time for us to temporarily part ways, but it’s only for a short period of time – in no time you’ll be back on the shelves and gracing our weekend breakfast plates! Can’t wait!

Sweet Things- Thai Milk Green Tea & Pandan Milk Bun- Chapayom

Suite 1, Skyview Plaza 537-551 George Street, Sydney

After attending a wedding and being fed in a post-knot-tying spread, we just had to squeeze in a ‘Sweet Things’ treat, to maintain a regularness to our posts for you, the reader!

This week on my interminable trawling of the web for all that is new in our fair city, I learned that the Thai brand Chapayom had opened its first Australian store on George Street!! (The first shop greeting customers as they enter the Skyview Plaza when entering from George Street).

If you haven’t heard of Chapayom before (I hadn’t either before this week), here is a super quick origins story…..Back in Thailand, only 7 years ago, they were a start-up serving up Milk Tea and coffees in a street-side store in Hat Yai. But 7 years on (and after becoming one of Thailand’s most favourite brands, and expanding to other South-east Asian countries) Chapayom are now serving up their own brand of Thai Milk Teas and Thai Coffees to Sydney-siders in their street-side store, but in a much busier setting than their humble beginnings in Hat Yai.

Today we shared a ‘Perfect Match’- a choice of any standard drink and edible pairing for $8. We chose the Thai Milk Green Tea, and the Pandan Custard Grilled Milky Bun.

The Milky Bun was the stand-out – the bun was soft and fluffy, toasted on both sides, covered and filled with a moreish Pandan flavoured custard cream, and sprinkled on top were shreds of toasted coconut. *Slack jawed emoji*.  So it was a great mixture of textures – a soft and a little bit crunchy bun; a sticky oozy custard cream; and the chewiness from the coconut! The texture reminded me a little bit of a doughnut, if I had to attempt to describe it to anyone – but imagine a Krispy  Kreme donut, rather than a standard cinnamon doughnut. Yeah?

The Thai Green Milk Tea….. Um, it was creamy and it was sweet, but it wasn’t a stand-out? Perhaps in Sydney we’ve been spoiled by really good milk teas, both by the Taiwanese and by the numerous Thai restaurants. Thus after taking our first sips we just registered the flavours, and went “hmmm, ok then.” And if anything, my criticism was that it came with too much shaved ice, which didn’t blend in with the tea? Not exaggerating, at least half of the cup was ice alone? Although the cup is large (probs 450ml) and when you hold it, it feels quite substantial; however when you’re happily sucking enthusiastically on the straw, in moments you realise that you’re out of drink and you’re left with half a cup of ice. *Sad look*. And because shaved ice just piles onto itself, so you’re literally paying for almost half a cup of shaved ice and half cup of milk tea. Maybe you can try asking for “no ice”, and see how much tea you get then- but I personally didn’t think I got $5.50 worth of value.

However as an afternoon sweet treat (post-lunch), Chapayom’s ‘Perfect match’ is a nice late arvo treat, the tea def has enough sugar/caffeine to keep you wide awake during the late arvo lull. Although if you want copious amounts of tasty, strong Thai Milk Tea, I’d recommend you to down it at Tawandang (2 blocks down George Street). Tawandang does a $6 unlimited Thai Milk Tea, when dining in. Literally when they see your glass reach the half way mark, they’re back filling up your strong milk tea from a chilled jug right back up to the top again! Let’s just say if you plan not to sleep for 2 days, just go nuts and get your moneys worth there! Haaha.