Bondi Harvest
500 Oxford St (inside The Eastern Hotel)
Bondi Junction, Sydney

Bondi Harvest, the popular online TV series of Guy Turland and Mark Alston, has literally come to life in this cafe. On the first floor of the popular Eastern Hotel it has quickly become a favourite place to eat. The space is large and very functional, seating over 100 people. If you want some privacy, you can sit at one of many booths on offer but if you feel like being a bit more social, there are share tables too.

We entered via the hotel and went to level one up some grand stairs. We later found out the entrance is at street level on the other side. As soon as we walked in we noticed a mellow guitarist playing some lovely tunes on the floor. After a brief interaction with the lovely floor staff at the expansive marble bar, we made our way to one of the booths at the back and started looking at the menu.

Bondi Harvest also has a good range of very funky cocktails on offer.

The appropriate to area 'Surf and Destroy', a mojito with blueberries, is certainly a very refreshing choice that we loved.

The uniquely named "Harvest Hangs Mary" sounds somewhat violent but it is actually smooth and full of flavour with a strong hit of Tequila. It really hit the spot too!

Our first starter, a generous helping of Whipped Meredith Dairy Goats Cheese was creamy, soft and flavoursome, served with delicious grilled sourdough bread.

Next was White Anchovies which were bursting with flavour, marinated in lemon and chilli for a slightly tangy bite. The chimmichurri sourdough was a great addition adding to the complex flavours in this dish.

We also tried the Skewered Melon on the advice of our waiter.

Wrapped generously with prosciutto on a bed of mint spiced labna, this melon dish was a mouthwatering twist on a traditional Italian Melanzane, and is something that we have never eaten before.

We'd now highly recommend it.

Next our mains arrived. If you like big servings. Bondi Harvest has you covered. Our lamb shoulder for two was a huge 1/2 kg, and was falling off the bone after many hours of slow cooking. A unique fennel and almond crumble added a real kick to this outstanding dish, served with a mountain of super-crispy roast potatoes - we love crispy potatoes!

Have you ever had a Quinoa Risotto? The one here is fantastic. Light and rich in flavour the dish featured grilled mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.  Truffle oil sets off a hint of earthy sweetness and brings out the flavour of the mushrooms so well. A Mediterranean Vegetable Salad was a colourful and tasty side dish, especially with the lamb.

All this amazing food was enjoyed with wine of course - after our earlier cocktails. We had a glass each of Tarrawarra Pinot Noir and Fromm La Strata Pinot Gris, chosen as always by Count J the wine buff.

It's not often we say no to food but when our waiter asked us if we wanted dessert, we initially declined but later conceded to sharing one.

A delicious house made Chocolate Mousse was topped with fresh blueberries, strawberries, shaved coconut and almond flakes. We enjoyed the dessert very much as it wasn't too heavy or overly sweet. A great way to end the night!

We very much enjoyed our evening at Bondi Harvest. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is fun. Their philosophy is eat healthy with food that is seasonal and locally sourced. Although we came for dinner, Bondi Harvest boasts a very impressive breakfast and lunch menu. We most definitely will be back to try both. Bondi Harvest is open 7 days a week.

The Counts, who are now doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Bondi Harvest. Special thanks also to Sonya Blan for arranging this visit.

Click to add a blog post for Bondi Harvest on Zomato 


The Palace Tea Room
Queen Victoria Building
George St Sydney CBD

We had the pleasure of visiting The Palace Tea Room which is owned by Manuel and Gwen Spinola and is quietly located on Level 1 of Sydney’s historic Queen Victoria Building. The tea room is an elegant retreat from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD and is a tribute to Victorian tea drinking; it has a large dining area, as well as external seating that runs along the QVB gallery, with plenty of tables and chairs.

The external seating allows you to gaze over the railing to the floor below and also have a great close up view of the gorgeous QVB clock.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the tea room’s manager, Alex, and chose to sit inside amongst the cosy surrounds and aromas of the tea room with it’s thick drapes, beautiful chandeliers and plush seating.

We decided to start with cappuccinos while we eagerly awaited our Traditional Afternoon Tea – a selection of cakes, petit pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and tea.

Our treats arrived on a beautiful three tiered china cake stand and Alex explained each tier to us. The first two tiers were made up of sweet cakes, while the bottom tier held the scones, crustless finger sandwiches and other savouries. Where to begin?

Well, we began with the array of savouries and started with the trio sandwiches – a flavoursome chicken sandwich on seeded bread, a traditional egg sandwich on white bread and a tuna sandwich on brown bread.  The bread was soft and the sandwiches were delicious, with something for everyone.

Next, we delighted in the crab coronet, a  light, crisp cone shaped pastry filled with fresh flaked crab with a hint of lemongrass. Delicious.

Contessa Z’s favourite was the Parmesan cheese shortbread, sandwiched together with a sundried tomato and olive filling. It was so light and buttery and definitely melted in your mouth.

We then tried the freshly baked scones, one fruit and the other plain. The scones were light and fluffy on the inside, with a slight crunch on the outside and were good enough to eat on their own, but were even better when topped with the clotted cream and freshly made mixed berry jam, which is a staple at The Palace Tea Room. The jam was raspberry flavoured with a hint of blueberries and strawberries. Contessa D said the jam was one of the best she had ever tried.

Onwards and upwards to the first tier of our sweets, which was also the right time for us to order a nice cup of tea from the extensive selection available at The Palace Tea Room. Tea lovers, you will not be disappointed with the wide range of exotic teas to choose from, 26 in all, to be precise.

Decisions, decisions…in the end, we were guided by the manager, Alex, who suggested we try some of the tea room’s most popular teas, such as Paris Vanilla Tea, Spicy Cinnamon, Rose Floral Tea and Pomegranate Oolong. We elected to try the first two and were not disappointed. The  tea is served in beautifully ornate Royal Albert and Wedgwood fine bone china teapots, with matching teacups, milk jugs and sugar bowls, all of which adds to the old world charm of the tea room.

Each one of chef Christelle Verger’s sweets were delicious and we started with the Strawberry Macaron, which was simply divine.

The mascarpone filling was topped with blueberries and raspberries, and with a hint of strawberry from the macaron it was everything a macaron should be.

It had a light crust, with a moist meringue and a silky smooth filling.

Our next treat was a moist Mini Salted Caramel Cupcake, topped with a light frosting and delicately crowned with lightly salted caramel popcorn.

It was not too sweet and the flavours were perfectly balanced.

The lime flavoured Marshmallow Square is best described as a delicious fluffy pillow of sweet citrus.

It must be said that the most interesting combination of flavours was found in the Chocolate Vegemite Slab with Avocado Filling and Chocolate glaze. The flavours worked really well together and this sweet was a nice surprise.
Finally, we delighted in the Passionfruit and Mango Cheesecake. A beautiful dessert with a light biscuit base that complemented the cheesecake filling which was also light in texture but by no means light on flavour, and visually enticing, with swirls of fruit throughout.

The Palace Tea Room is a hidden gem in Sydney’s CBD that is a fusion of modern and Victorian charm.

The decor is elegant and the atmosphere is lovely and warm, as is the service.

The delicious food and the extensive range of exotic teas all combine to make a visit to the Palace Tea Room a must.

We highly recommended it.

Two Countessas, who are now doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of The Palace Tea Room and Grand Pacific Group. Special thanks to Alex for all the help while there and to Hannah Evans for arranging this visit.

Click to add a blog post for The Palace Tea Room on Zomato 


A Weekend In ........... Bruny Island

We were on a quick visit down south and decided to pay a visit to Bruny Island, which is about 40 minutes south of Hobart and then a short 15 minute ferry trip from Kettering across the D'Entrecasteaux Channel (named after the French explorer Bruni d'Entrecasteaux). Bruny Island has three parts, the north island, the south island and the neck (that joins them). It's also a foodies paradise as we discovered!

The ferry runs at very regular intervals and it's only $30 for a return trip for a car and all its passengers.

Most people seem to stay in their cars on the ferry but you are allowed to get out and wander around. The view is spectacular and it's generally a very smooth journey.

Bruny Island is known for many things and its a lovely place to spend a day or two travelling around. Whilst there are less than 1,000 people on the island it is actually around 100 kilometres in length. There are a few accommodation options but they are limited so get in early.

It has lovely scenery and views, plenty of food options, quite a bit of history and lots of wildlife - including fairy penguins and of course lots of sheep!

 Our first stop on the north island was Bruny Island Smokehouse - or BISH. It's a very pretty place that has won awards for its smoked goods.

Everything there is smoked on site and many are also available to sample and all are available to enjoy in their licenced restaurant.

They have chutneys and preserves right through to smoked salmon, trout, duck, quails and chicken.

On a nice day it would be great to sit outside on their covered veranda and dine while looking out across Sykes Cove.

They also have wine tastings as well so you can settle in here for an afternoon.

It's open 7 days a week and as they have tastings and door sales its well worth dropping by - at least for a nibble as there's plenty to sample here!

Our next stop was Get Shucked - Bruny Island Oysters - an oyster outlet that has possibly the best oysters in the world.

Get Shucked has been going since 2004 and it's obviously been going well as they are presently building a large shop/cafe/restaurant to handle the demand. For now there's a very unpretentious caravan - but don't be put off - this is a must see place and you must buy some oysters!

So are they the best in the world? It's a big call but these babies are amazing. We only grabbed six as a snack with a wedge of lemon to squeeze on them.

Mlady isn't a big lover of oysters and she said they were delicious and the best she had ever had. I have to agree - they tasted like no other oyster I'd had before either. Get Shucked is open 7 days from 10am till 5pm in warmer months and till 4pm in cooler months.

Next stop, while still on North Bruny Island, was Bruny Island Cheese Company. This is a lovely place in a lovely setting and it's more than just a cheese shop as well. Yes you can taste their cheeses here - and they are very good. There's also a cafe and a bakery too. We grabbed some Otto - cows milk cheese wrapped in prosciutto. This is normally meant to be baked for around 10 to 15 minutes but can also be eaten as is.  We also grabbed a loaf of organic wood-fired sourdough bread with olives.

Even though we bought the prosciutto wrapped cheese and the sourdough for later on we decided to grab a coffee here at the pretty little cafe.

Then we decided we couldn't wait any longer to eat the cheese and the bread.

The people there were kind enough to give us a breadboard, knife and plates and it all tasted so good together that we gobbled it all down!

Any visit to Bruny Island would not be complete without going to the Neck. In fact you have to cross it to get from the north island to the south island - the neck is the thin strip of land that joins the two islands and it is spectacular. There's an amazing lookout right in the middle that gives you beautiful views of the neck and both the north and south islands. One side of the neck was choppy and the other was blue and clear - it was such an amazing contrast. There's also a memorial to Truganini and her difficult life story can be read here.

Shortly after hitting the south island we stopped off at Bruny Chocolate and Fudge Factory Shop.

We're always keen to taste chocolate and after all the steps and the high winds at the neck we figured we'd earned a reward.

There's more fudge than chocolate here but we did sample some goodies and they were very tasty so we bought a few for later on.

We then travelled on to Bruny Island Berry Farm.

Even though we didn't get any berries we stopped for a drink and took in the beautiful views.

It's a really pretty place and in season it would be great to pick some berries and then sit back and have a drink afterwards!

Apart from the great food on Bruny Island and the picturesque views of lovely countryside, you do notice - lots of sheep!

It's such a pretty place. We were made to feel welcome where ever we went.

Our regret - we should have had more oysters - lots more in fact as these were amazing.

Bruny Island is well worth visiting if you're in Hobart for a few days and feel like getting out a bit.

People pop over there for a few days but you could probably fit in most of the main places in a day trip - particularly if you head over there early in the day.

There's plenty more information available from Bruny Tourism Inc. 

Bruny Island Smokehouse on Urbanspoon
Get Shucked on Urbanspoon
Bruny Island Cheese Co. on Urbanspoon