Thursday, March 29, 2012

Moochi & Noggi, Strathfield [BOTH CLOSED]

We all go crazy for sweets. Macarons, creme brulee, ice cream sandwiches and now frozen yogurt! Especially in Strathfield (and Chatswood - but that's for another review). Lately, it has been the ultimate hip hangout place for the young and the young at heart. After seeing practically everyone checking in at these places on Facebook and Foursquare on a daily basis - predominantly late nights, I thought it was time to do some exploring. And before anyone starts to go into a froyo war frenzy based on the following review, I should tell you this: I originally was not a fan of yogurt. In fact my own folks will probably be surprised when I tell them that I have now become addicted to this stuff. And to this day I still get froyo cravings.

That night I met up with CC (who is absolutely obsessed with Moochi and Noggi!) for dinner earlier on. I cannot remember why we have chosen to go to Noggi first - I am guessing it was because she loves the biscotti flavour. After a couple of walks around the block, we ended up at Moochi to try out their churros...and the froyo of course!


At the time I went, most of the people there looked like they are from high school. They also have a special deal for high school kids. Noggi has a bright light green and blue background and design plus they have a spare room at the back which has more seats to chill out.

Pink and White. Enough said. It conjurs images of Wendy's and Donut King with the amount of pink in the design. There was not much room though which may have contributed to the excessive crowds at later hours. The crowd here is generally older than at Noggi but there were a few school kids too. They also show a film on their own TV screen

Both places are pumping with the music you would hear at rnb/hip hop clubs which will explain the epic lines at 10 or 11pm as it does feel like a nightclub. Except with no cover charge and alcohol.


Their froyo flavours comprise of Original (Vanilla), Green Tea, Biscotti and Wildberry. In recent visits they seem to have Pomegranate instead of Wildberry though. The toppings here appear to be limited compared to Moochi but they seem to have more fruit toppings than candy. In addition, the maximum number of toppings to choose for your froyo is up to three.

Froyo flavours comprise of Original, Green Tea, Pomegranate and Watermelon. They appear to have a larger variety of toppings compared to Noggi with both fruit and sweet candy flavours. Additionally they allow unlimited toppings - at a price.


Here they have a fixed number of 3 toppings with a fixed price depending on the size. For example, a regular size with 3 toppings is $5.70. A regular size without toppings is $4.20.

Moochi did not list the maximum number of toppings but they do have an additional price of 50c. Interestingly on the price board, they listed their sizes in measurements of ounces! This is probably the first time I have seen it used in Australia. Their regular size without toppings is listed as $3.90. With 3 toppings added, this comes down to $5.40. With or without toppings, Moochi's yogurt is shown to be 30c less than Noggi's which is not really a huge difference.

But it all comes down to the taste! (excuse the cooking reality show pun).


I picked the biscotti flavour with tim tams, oreos and gummi bears as toppings. The yogurt tasted light yet not too creamy like a gelato or sorbet. The biscotti flavour tasted absolutely amazing as you get the creamy taste at first but then the flavour you would expect from a biscotti arrives in the end. To be honest, I wish that Moochi has biscotti as well. I also tried the wildberry flavour which was equally good and was a bit more sweeter than the biscotti.

I went chocolate overload by ordering a watermelon yogurt with tim tams, oreos and Flake! The yogurt tasted very creamy similar to an ice cream and the watermelon flavour was very fruity and sweet. It literally melts in your mouth faster than the frozen yogurt at Noggi. If you prefer your yogurt to have a creamier texture then I would suggest this place.


They have waffles and smoothies - known at Noggi as 'Smoogies'. They also have coffee and tea if you are there earlier and need something to keep you up. Did not get the chance to try their waffles but they look really tasty from seeing other customers ordering it. This is served with frozen yogurt, 2 fruits and Hershey's chocolate (oh yummm!)

Otherwise check out Moochi for their Moochi churros and chocolate. My friend bought these to share and they looked pretty epic for just four long servings. The melted chocolate dip made it taste even better. They also have coffee and tea plus cold drinks like iced tea and iced chocolate. And they also have smoothies...called 'Smoochies'!

It is sweet that this craze is going around Sydney as it does claim to be healthy compared to lots of dessert options...unless you are a chocolate and candy freak like myself. In the end both Moochi and Noggi have their own advantages regarding the quality of their frozen yogurt not to mention efficient and friendly service (plus cute eye candy!). It is no wonder that frozen yogurt shops are popping up everywhere across Sydney and around the world. Did I mention how addictive it can be? It is best that you discover the hype yourself if you haven't yet. Don't say that I didn't warn you.

1/7-9 Churchill Ave, Strathfield NSW 2135

Moochi on Urbanspoon

2/2 Albert Rd, Strathfield NSW 2135
Noggi on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pho Tau Bay, Cabramatta

From all the years going to Cabramatta weekly for shopping and eating, my family and I never really got the chance to check out Pho Tau Bay which is getting heaps of praise as being the Best Pho restaurant in Sydney by bloggers, Cabramatta locals and even the media. But is it?

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, my mates and I were in Cabramatta and were wondering what's good to eat. Since I have never really checked out Pho Tau Bay before but have heard so much about it, I thought it was a good time to give it a go. Having said that, I have walked past several times but it usually wasn't packed (sometimes it was even empty which usually turns the folks off). That Saturday was a different story for us. Luckily we managed to get a table. The restaurant design looked like your typical, not-so-fancy, back-to-basics kind of setting which makes you feel like you're at home.

Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Tai)

I really liked the broth here as it did have a very warm yet nice and pretty light flavour. The beef especially was wonderfully tender which is a plus for me. Seriously if it was overcooked, it would be pretty tough to eat and I did have a few like that in several restaurants. My friend who ordered the same dish did not agree to the idea that it was the Best Pho in Sydney as she had tried a better version Flemington with a more flavoursome broth. I still thought that it is one of the better versions of pho that I have tried as I have managed to polish off the entire bowl.

Egg noodle soup with chicken

Another friend tried this one which did look very nice. I did not try it though as I was already getting full from the beef noodle soup. She seemed to enjoy this dish though.

While I can say that it was one of the better places that serves Pho, I am however unsure on whether to consider it to be the best Pho in Sydney - maybe the best in Cabramatta? Of course that is just my two cents so far. There are still a few other places that I would also consider as potential contenders for the title of Best Pho in Sydney but Pho Tau Bay will still be up there in the top 5 Pho restautants in my opinion for the tender beef and the hot broth at least. Plus they sometimes serve their dishes with those crunchy, deep friend, savoury donuts - guilty pleasures.

Pho Tau Bay
12/117 John Street, Cabramatta 2166 (NB: enter on Hill Street)
Contact no: (02) 9726 4583

Pho Tau Bay on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bar H, Surry Hills

When you know that Bar H's head chef, Hamish Ingham was formerly the head chef at Kylie Kwong's restaurant 'Billy Kwong', you can be sure that you are onto a good thing here. While Bar H used to operate as yet another Surry Hills Mod-Oz bistro and cafe, it recently had an Asian-influenced makeover last year to showcase Ingham's talents under Kwong's guidance.

Upon entering this restaurant, I was greeted upon very friendly staff. This level of service was maintained throughout the entire time including offering to hold onto my jacket in their own cloakroom.

From what I remember at the time of dining, there was a happy hour special of selected white wine or beer. I chose a glass of white wine and what a wine selection they have on display alone!
While the portions of some dishes were small, they were at very affordable prices. They were also delivered very quickly one by one as soon as you finish your current plate. The beauty of this restaurant is that you can check out the chefs in action preparing your meal.

Prawn filled eggplant

The broth was rich in taste and the eggplant was very soft to chew. It ended up being pretty messy handling the prawns inside. There was so much flavours happening with this dish that you just get something different from each bite.

Sashimi of kingfish and pickled mushrooms

The staff recommended this dish when I was unsure what to choose and I had a lot of meat the night before so they said 'why not seafood?' I was going to choose the mussels but I was a bit short on cash on the day so went with this. Oh my goodness! This was definitely one of my favourite dishes here. Not only was it fresh, the ingredients and the sauce worked so well together that I wanted more after finishing it.

Braised beef shortrib on sesame leaf

I was hoping that this was bigger than the price seems to indicate but it was pretty small. The staff recommended that I should wrap and hold it like a 'goi cuon' (fresh spring rolls) but it ended up being way too messy for me. A little bit disappointed that there was not enough beef but I like the herbs and chilli mixed through this plate.

Steamed pork wontons with shellfish and chilli oil dressing

Another stand out dish! To be honest, I am a sucker for fennel but this dish was definitely a delightful treat. The chilli oil dressing gave it a spicy bite in contrast to the savoury flavours from the pastry and pork meat. Will try the crispy version next time!

Steamed pork bun

Despite the size of the dishes, they all caught up with my appetitie when I got to this dish - not to mention the wine. The pork was tender enough and along with the coriander and the chilli, it was an enjoyable dish to end on.

Wine and books can be a perfect match

Surprisingly I was pretty full be the end and was meeting up with a friend for dessert. It was an absolutely worthwhile experience in checking out Modern Asian food with a tad of fusion. Just a note for those who cannot handle chillis, nearly every dish I tried this time had it but the staff are very helpful with dish recommendations. Not to mention the buzzing social vibe of the place. Will come back for the mussels, cucumber and black fungi salad, and the pork belly dishes sometime soon.

Bar H
80 Campbell Street, Surry Hills 2010
Contact no: (02) 9280 1980

Bar H on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 2, 2012

Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

A pun on the reuben sandwich and Surry Hills? Well it was going to happen eventually especially with all the cafes popping up at every corner of Surry Hills. Literally. What makes this one any different? For me, this was on my wishlist since it first opened very soon after New Year's Day. The menu looked very interesting with a bit of Latin and South American influences as well as a couple of cafe staples.

The decor of the cafe has an industrial/DIY vibe in their design. The vibe has a bit of your usual Inner Westie hipster chilling with their friend while sipping on the latest organic fairtrade coffee. At the cafe, the staff uses (or reuses) different sorts of vintage small jars to serve tap water, something that I find intriguing and will look forward to seeing which jar I will get in future visits.

Yes there is actually water in that jar

From reading reviews at other blogs, they originally advertised their sandwich to be the reuben sandwich. But with fillings such as wagyu salt brisket beef, mancheo cheese, pickled slaw and horseradish cream; this does not really match with what it really is (which is meant to have corned beef/pastrami, swiss cheese and sauerkraut). Thus when I finally got to check out the place, they have corrected this to 'the NOT Reuben sandwich'. Nice.

Balaeda - eggs, queso fresca, black beans

On this occasion, I was in the mood for their other signature item - the balaeda! For those who have never heard of this dish, it is basically a breakfast soft taco with a thick wheat flour tortilla folded and filled with various toppings. I was hoping to get the pimenton pulled pork but they ran out of it so I tried the eggs, queso fresco and black beans version. I found this to be very delish with the fresh eggs and small clunks of cheese blending together. Can't wait to try the pork version next time!

Baked beef empanadas served with pico de gallo

As I am a sucker for Latin American cuisine, I had to try the beef empanadas. Aside from the minced beef, there are small chunks of potato and onions in the filling which had a dense, starchy taste when you chew it. The pico de gallo salsa is the perfect accompaniment to this dish to balance with the crunchy savoury pastry and the chewiness from the fillings

Salted caramel milkshake

Since it is a cafe, you might as well take the opportunity to try some coffee or one of their milkshakes. When I saw this on the menu, I immediately thought of macarons. Sure enough when trying it, the milkshake did tasted very creamy and milky at first but the salted caramel flavour reaches your tastebuds at the end with each slurp.

Doggs breakfast

And if that wasn't enough, I went for more salted caramel indulgence with the Doggs breakfast. This is pretty much an ice cream sandwich with a small pool of salted caramel sauce on the side. It is a very sweet combination when you mixed it together bite by bite. Now is it me or are various versions of ice cream sandwiches popping up everywhere at cafes and restaurants across Sydney? I reckon it's becoming the new hip dessert for sugar indulgences.

In addition to the food, the friendly service is a bonus for what is already an exquisite cafe experience. If you are stuck on which cafe to check out when you drop by Surry Hills or your favourite cafe has very long queues, give Reuben Hills a go and see what it's like for you. Will come back for to try their coffee, pork balaeda and the not-Reuben sandwich.

Reuben Hills
61 Albion St Surry Hills 2010
Contact no: (02) 9211 5556

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon