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jojostuff Local Star

I like rainbows and long walks on the beach.

Joined 18 February 2009 Sydney, NSW

  • Mr. Wong

    Restaurants Sydney, NSW
    I can't believe I haven't reviewed before. I love what Dan Hong and his team have made this place out to be. Mr. Wong is one of our favourite go-tos for "fancy" Chinese. I love the feel of the place. It is a little dark and sometimes noisy, but I really only care about the food.

    The food doesn't stray far from traditional Chinese and it's like a good Chinese restaurant, but just better all around.

    We have our usual favourites - the wild mushroom dumplings and scallop and prawn shumai from the dim sum menu, the crispy fried Balmain bugs with spicy salt, and almost all of their desserts.

    On our most recent visit, the chef sent out a complimentary dish of poached chicken served with a sesame sauce and Szechuan chilli oil. The chicken is perfectly poached - Hainan chicken style, served cold (room temperature), with pickled cabbage and topped with a vibrant red sauce which looks incredibly spicy, but is actually very balanced.

    Try the cocktails and the desserts too; you won't get stuff like that at your neighbourhood Chinese restaurant. Book ahead if you have a group of 6 or more, or come for an extravagant weekday lunch. Whatever you do, just make sure you come.
  • Automata Restaurant

    Restaurants Chippendale, NSW
    When I went to uni across the road, this area was a complete dump. We used to come over for drinks at The Clare Hotel, but frankly there was not much else around.

    I was in for a huge shock when I came back to the area on Saturday (years later) for a dinner at Automata. Located within the newly refurbed Old Clare Hotel, the space is made up of two narrow floors of industrial-chic overlooking the open kitchen.

    Most of the seating is at long shared tables, so be prepared to overhear your neighbour's conversation (and have them eavesdrop on you too). The service is warm, and we had dishes brought out by various staff members including sommelier Tim Watkins and floor manager Abby Meinke (ex Claude's, ex Moon Park).

    The menu is a five course degustation meal priced at $88, and optional wine pairing at an additional $55. An amuse-bouche is also served at the start of the meal, and house-baked bread and an amazing anchovy butter is served with your main courses.

    As we are seated, Abby Meinke asks if we have any special dietary requirements. My husband notes that I am pregnant, but that I eat pretty liberally. She nods in approval.

    Every dish we were served was delicious, with their strengths leaning toward the savoury. A lot of ingredients used were Japanese in origin - yuzu, shitake, bonito, wakame - were Japanese, and the increasingly popular Vietnamese herb shiso made an appearance in our dessert.

    I loved the mains - the perfectly steamed hapuka, and a smoked beef rib cap. They explained that they left out an egg yolk component in the fish dish just for me, but honestly it didn't seem to take away from the flavout at all. The cured roe emulsion, sauerkraut, bonito butter and wakame powder it was served with were a delight. The beef was served pink, and again they explained that it is completely cooked through and pregnant-friendly (not that I care), served with shitake and wood ear mushrooms and the most fragrant tamari butter sauce. I am in heaven.

    However, my favourite dish for the night was probably the stracciatella served with pumpkin strips and possibly freeze-dried mandarin pieces. An absolute delight for the eyes and the tastebuds.

    What an incredible addition to the Sydney dining scene. Automata serves up really clever dishes without the reliance on extravagant ingredients. Hats off to the team and the great work they are doing. I'd absolutely recommend giving it a go, and I'd expect them to receive one or two chefs hats.
  • Button Bar

    Pubs & Bars Surry Hills, NSW
    Another great little bar in Surry Hills. This one is close to Central Station so you can stumble home by train.

    There are several cosy booths which tend to get snapped up way too quickly
  • Shady Pines Saloon

    Takeaways Darlinghurst, NSW
    Can't believe I haven't already reviewed this place! It is one of my favourite bars (when I actually get to go out). Pop them peanuts and keep the drinks going. Avoid like the plague if you are allergic to peanuts.
  • Ms G's

    Restaurants Potts Point, NSW
    Great spin on a variety of Asian dishes. Flavour packed and great for groups.
  • Circa Espresso

    Cafes Parramatta, NSW
    I'm not an egg person but their baked eggs are the best I remember having. Great pastries too. I came with a mum friend with both our bubs - it's not toddler or baby friendly as space is tight, seating is limited and they don't offer high chairs.
  • Cuckoo Callay

    Cafes Newtown, NSW
    Having heard of the crowd (and the long wait) to eat here on the weekend, I visited the cafe with some friends (and 3 toddlers) on a weekday. The cafe is fairly small with limited seating indoors but with several small outdoor tables. It's conveniently located on the concourse of Newtown Station.

    They're known for their bacon, so most dishes will feature bacon. It was a hot day so I opted for something light - a One Night Stand (a juice), and the Sideways Shuffle (crab cake served on avocado salsa and watermelon).

    The service was top notch and they were extremely accommodating of the 3 messy toddlers who kept wanting more ice.
  • Mr Bao

    Takeaways Sydney, NSW
    Great bao selection. I love the karage chicken and tempura prawn baos, and the crispy pork belly one is not bad either. The lychee mint drink is great but a tad pricey.

    I placed my order using an app which told me that the order would be ready in 3 minutes. When I arrived 5 minutes later, the guy behind the counter told me he would start making it. Kinda defeats the purpose of ordering ahead!
  • Sydney Adventist Hospital

    Hospitals Wahroonga, NSW
    I spent a good nine nights at the Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San). I was admitted under less than ordinary circumstances, and from the time I was admitted, the midwives and other hospital staff provided amazing care. The condition I was in improved slightly and then deteriorated quickly, resulting in a quick (and wise) decision to rush me in for an emergency operation and the birth of a premature but otherwise healthy baby. My baby was unable to breathe on her own, but through the amazing care of the midwives and paediatrician, she was well cared for in the neonatal ICU, whilst I was recovering myself in ICU. My baby had to be taken to a large public hospital because smaller private hospitals aren't (allowed to be) equipped with certain facilities, but the NICU staff and paediatrician were in constant contact with the other hospital, and to make sure she was brought back to the San as soon as possible.

    During my stay, I was cared for in the maternity (pre and post baby) wards, the ICU, as well as the respiratory physician/specialist and physios. All the staff were amazing, but the midwives were the absolute best. They provided a lot of one-on-one support for me and the bub in NICU, and many of them were just keen to check in on me about my progress because it was quite an unusual case. The old maternity wards were extremely clean and comfortable (and I've heard they've only gotten better with the new maternity ward), and they seemed to keep putting me in the best rooms -- ones that were extremely big with great views out the window.

    People say terrible things about hospital food, but I quite enjoyed most of the meals (when I started to recover and got an appetite). Plus they bring you morning and afternoon tea. What is this, a hotel?

    I had to visit the hospital numerous times as an outpatient as my baby was kept in NICU for a little while, and even after she was discharged, we needed several follow up check ups to make sure she and I were doing well. The outpatient support was just as impressive.

    I can't say enough good things about the midwives at the San. I just wish their work was more acknowledged and appreciated.
  • Pearl Nails

    Nail Salon Castle Hill, NSW
    I've got such mixed feelings about this place. Having some time to kill before a medical appointment, I dropped in to get a shellac/gelish manicure done. I was asked to sit down immediately, and was given the colour wheels to choose a shade, but wasn't told that there would be a 10 minute or so wait before someone would attend to me. After a wait that seemed like forever, they started the process to get my existing shellac polish off. After another 10 or so minutes sitting there with foil wrapped around my fingers, someone came to start the manicure.

    She seemed to be the one running the show, so everytime someone walked in or something needed to be attended to, the manicure was interrupted.

    The place did not seem to be very sanitary, and my manicurist had a really sharp and jagged index fingernail which jabbed into me everytime she held my finger (which was a lot of times, considering I was getting a manicure).

    However, and this is a huge however, she did a great job at the manicure and at applying the polish. My pet peeve is when manicurists cut into your cuticles, paint on polish too thickly or don't paint close enough to the cuticle. I am also always asking for my nails to be cut as short as possible (as they grow so quickly), but most manicurists don't like cutting it short as it makes it harder to apply polish to the ends of the nails. She did a great job at the nails (refer to photos), despite the awkward experience.

    The salon was unusually busy (I thought) for a Monday afternoon, but maybe getting your nails done on a Monday arvo is a thing in the Hills?

    Would I come back? I wouldn't come out of my way to get here, but I would probably still return given the immaculate job she did on my nails.

    /end first-world-problem
  • One Street Over

    Cafes Sydney, NSW
    I ordered a few coffees and some breakfast to pick up. The order was ready within 10 minutes, including a three cheese and vegemite toasted sandwich.

    The coffee was good and the toasted cheese sandwich definitely hit the spot. Avoid if you don't like gorgonzola or blue cheese.
  • Cross Eatery

    Cafes Sydney, NSW
    I cannot fault this place.

    Sure, it's not the cheapest place to dine, but you are paying for great food, quality ingredients and a party for your tastebuds.

    The decor is minimal with a slight industrial feel; quite odd for a Clarence Street location, but it was a nice comfort in the midst of corporate CBD.

    A friend and I meet here for lunch at her suggestion, and we sit on one of several long shared tables.

    We both order the roast beef with two salads, and at our waiter's recommendation, we choose the pickled eggplant salad and the roasted broccoli salad.

    After a short wait, our food arrives, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how good it is. The roast beef is a perfect pink, is moist and tender and served at room temperature. Both salads are top notch - definitely not your Sumo Salad type of rubbish.

    I also tried the date creme brle tart which probably deserves another 5 star review in its own right.

    Will definitely be back soon to try the breakfast and coffee options.
  • Bonds

    Clothing Retailers North Ryde, NSW
    Great Bonds store with a good kids and babies range. The staff are really friendly and helpful too. Come early in the season to get the sizes you need in the more popular styles and seasonal prints, but bear in mind that Bonds regularly offer 40% off their entire range.
  • Target

    Department Stores North Ryde, NSW
    The Macquarie Centre and the Rhodes Target stores are my favourite -- they seem to be well stocked and well organised. Love the 0-2 clothing range, and some of the kids 1-?? is also great value for everyday daycare wear.

    They stock a good range of babies and toddler needs, from toys to feeding apparatus, to toilet training essentials. Definitely one of my go-tos for babies and kids needs.
  • Target

    Department Stores North Ryde, NSW
    The Macquarie Centre and the Rhodes Target stores are my favourite -- they seem to be well stocked and well organised. Love the 0-2 clothing range, and some of the kids 1-?? is also great value for everyday daycare wear.

    They stock a good range of babies and toddler needs, from toys to feeding apparatus, to toilet training essentials. Definitely one of my go-tos for babies and kids needs.
  • De Costi Sea Foods

    Seafood Macquarie Park, NSW
    They have a decent range of seafood and the service is also good, but I find the produce at the seafood shop in Top Ryde Shopping Centre fresher and better. If I was doing groceries in Macquarie Centre, I would purchase from them, but I wouldn't make a special trip to come here for seafood.

    You can also order cooked food to have there.
  • Castle Hill Bowling Club Ltd

    Bowling Castle Hill, NSW
    I never would have known about this bowling club if not for an event organised by a friend. Located next to/behind the Castle Hill RSL, it is quite tucked away from the main streets.

    We came by late on a Saturday afternoon for a game of bowls. In the late summer, this timing was perfect as the sun isn't as strong and our group of ten and another party were the only ones on the green.

    We had a lovely gentleman from the club take the time out to teach the first-timers how to bowl and how the game works. (I wasn't listening at the time, but I later realised we were on a "faster" green.)

    Lots of fun, and a casual, relaxed vibe with music blaring out from the club onto the greens.

    The food in the bistro is decent, though it took us a good 40 minute wait before our food came. They also had a couple of really young entertainers perform in the club, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were.
  • Cafe Chocolat

    Cafes Sydney, NSW
    Avoid if you have a weakness for chocolate. I was introduced to this cafe under the guise of "getting coffee".

    Having only tried the iced mocha frappe and the salmon bagel, I can't comment on their coffee or chocolate range. The iced mocha frappe is perfect for a naughty treat. Even so, it is a tad on the sweet side, so I would advise skipping the cream and ice cream.

    The salmon bagel was good and reasonably priced.
  • Mecca Pop

    Cosmetics & Beauty Retailers Sydney, NSW
    Located in Myer Sydney City, this little store on the ground floor next to the escalators gets really busy. The girls are great at recommending you the right products without being pushy.
  • Curry Monitor

    Restaurants Gordon, NSW
    Good Indian takeaway right near Gordon station. I wouldn't have known about this place if not for a friend who asked me to pick up some takeaway. It's a small and unassuming shop but it's very popular with locals. There are only a couple of tables to eat in, but people do eat in as it's only $8.50 for rice and a couple of dishes.