Bankstown, cheap eats, Lunch, Reviews

Cheap eats: Gia Hoi

As the first part of our cheap eats series, we’re starting off with one of the cheapest places you can eat at in Bankstown – a melting pot of cultures with Vietnamese cuisine as authentic as you can get in Cabramatta.

Gia Hoi is located amongst a string of Vietnamese restaurants on Chapel Rd, but it stands out with the bright orange sign and lit up interior.

Pho starts from $11 and is a decent portion size.

There is quite a variety on the menu, with more traditional dishes you might not see in your more mainstream Vietnamese restaurants.

I order the Bun Rieu ($11) which is rice vermicelli noodle soup with crab meat, shrimp, tofu, prawn, pork leg, blood jelly and tomato. It is a generous portion and I struggle to finish. The broth is wonderfully fragrant with the seafood flavours really shining through.

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We also order the Rice paper rolled with pork and prawns ($8) served with peanut dipping sauce. This is your standard rice paper rolls with nothing to rave home about. Considering it was almost the price of a huge bowl of Pho, we probably wouldn’t order this again.

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All in all, if you’re in the Bankstown area looking for a cheap feed and can’t decide between all the Pho choices, you can’t go wrong with Gia Hoi.

Gia Hoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Burwood/ Ashfield, Lidcombe, Lunch, Ryde/Rhodes

Cedrus Lebanese Restaurant

What do you think of when you think of Lebanese food? Maybe the late night kebabs, or the falafel you grab from the shop around the corner – but nope there’s a whole lot more than that to Lebanese food that I didn’t know about until my friend introduced me to Cedrus. This family owned business is around the corner of the road when you first drive into Meadowbank facing the water.

It’s well priced, big portions and authentic food.

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Cedrus is all about the experience of dining and tradition, which is how the menu is designed. You start with your salads and dips, followed by hot or cold ‘mezza’ and your mains. Cedrus Menu

We start of with the beautiful Fatoush Salad ($14) and a generous plate of hommus.

When the food comes to the table we are WOWed by the presentation, everything looked so fresh, I cannot emphasise this enough!

The hommus is beautifully smooth and rich in flavour.

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Beautiful creamy texture – Just look at those chickpeas!

The Fatoush Salad is a medley of seasonal fresh vegetables, engulfed in our special dressing and topped with crispy pita bread. This by far has to be one of the best salads I’ve had in a while. I don’t know what they put into the dressing, but it packs the perfect punch of zesty and vinegary flavour. And those crispy pita breads… I could devour a plate of those alone!

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Just look how crispy and full of flavour they are! This salad I highly recommend.

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Crispy Pita Bread

They also have Lebanese beer, which judging from my boyfriend’s reaction is one worth trying if you’re interested in something different.

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After the cold starters, we move onto the hot mezza where we ordered the Grilled Haloumi ($18). The Haloumi stack is served with tomatoes on a bed of lettuce and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is beautifully presented when it comes to the table and again looks extremely fresh and inviting.

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Grilled Haloumi Stack

I’ve always had a love for haloumi and they do it perfectly grilled here. The freshness of the tomatoes and lettuce does well to cut through the richness.

After you’ve had your mezza you can order your mains from a range of meat and seafood.

We order the Lamb Mansaf ($24), which looks like a dish fit for a feast as it lands on the table. It is Lebanese style rice topped with minced lamb, toasted mixed nuts, herbs and spices, served with mint yoghurt sauce. This is a dish I’ve never had before but loved instantly.

The lamb is amazingly tender and the flavour of the lamb runs through the rice, which makes the whole dish extremely fragrant. The mixed nuts add the perfect element of texture with the yoghurt again cutting through the richness. Another dish that I would definitely order again, especially for the portion size and price. It also comes with some Lebanese pickles.

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It’s a shame we were only two people, otherwise we would have tried more on the menu. We will definitely be grabbing a big group of friends with us next time, as Lebanese food is meant to be shared!

Would highly recommend Cedrus to anyone who lives around the area looking to feed a group, it’s greatly priced, generous portions, amazing food and friendly service.

http://cedrusryde.com.au/

Cedrus Lebanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Burwood/ Ashfield, Dessert, Reviews

The Choc Pot – chocolate heaven

This has long been my favorite late night, go-to dessert place. I’ve only just managed to come around to writing a blog post about it…all thanks to the money shot at the end of this post! Well what can I say, this is truly chocolate heaven. Hands down best desserts in town for all the chocolate lovers out there.

This cute little place is conveniently located next to Burwood station in the seemingly derelict apartment block surrounding it. The bright yellow chairs and ‘hipster’ lighting are beckoning you to come in, you just can’t resist.

If you don’t live around Burwood, let me tell you this little baby, the molten choc pot is worth the trip.

Oozy,gooey,warm and soft, it will make the coldest of winter days the warmest of nights. I know I’m making this sounds fanciful, but this is what good food does to a foodie,it takes you to another place.

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And on a separate visit, we tried their hot chocolates IMG_3784.JPG

It looks delicious, though I would say it could do with a stronger chocolate hitIMG_3786.JPG

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The choc pot does monthly specials, and we tried the Apple pie-ffle, which was delicious!IMG_2839.JPG

A toasty waffle, topped with warm spiced apple chunks and creme anglaise IMG_2845.JPG
The Choc Pot on Urbanspoon

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Brunch, Petersham

The Pig & Pastry

Oh my goodness, why haven’t I discovered this gem of a cafe earlier! The food here is SO good! You really do find the best hidden cafes on Instagram.

I came here on a nice sunny day, and it was relatively easy to get to by car albeit I missed it the first time, as it’s sitting right on the corner from where you come in off Parramatta Road.

They have a great selection on their menu for Breakfast and lunch. The milkshakes menu immediately caught my attention with the unique flavours.

This gingerbread milkshake was the bomb diggity. It really tasted of gingerbread, and even had pieces of it throughout the drink that gave the whole drinking experience another element. Highly recommend this!20140729-223420-81260396.jpg

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When I saw a plate of cured salmon walk past me, I knew I had to get this. The salmon is house cured and was literally bright orange when it came to the table and it tasted so fresh.

The best element on the plate though was that fried poached egg. Can I get an amen. This is the epitome of good food.

The accompanying apple and avocado slaw cuts through the richness perfectly, providing balance to the dish. Absolutely loved this dish and would highly recommend it.20140729-223422-81262906.jpg

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20140729-223903-81543409.jpgI also tried some of the chicken schnitzel and it was also cooked to perfection. The chicken was still moist and tender with a super crispy coating. It was so flavoursome and I loved the mayo that came with it.

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What a great find! This place definitely serves up some of the best cafe food in Sydney.

The Pig & Pastry on Urbanspoon

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Brunch, Burwood/ Ashfield, Cuisine, Lunch, Reviews, Suburb, Western

Excelsior Jones – Cronuts

Cronuts. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the geniusness of the guy who created these little babies!

They truly are the best thing to come to the food world since I’m not sure what, but until you’ve tried one of them you probably won’t understand the hype – so go get yourself one now!

My friend and I are convinced Excelsior Jones makes some of the best cronuts in Sydney. A good cronut should be crispy on the outside but have the same fluffy texture of a donut, except with the layers of a croissant. The cronuts at Excelsior Jones achieves this balance perfectly.

Excelsior Jones is located on the corner street, so be careful not to miss it like we did on our first visit. When you first walk in you’ll notice the cute, homely decor. We got a seat by the window, which provided a nice view of the quiet street.

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There are three flavours of cronuts on offer: cinnamon, glazed and chocolate hazelnut. I opted for the more traditional option of cinnamon and my friend ordered the glazed. I tried the glazed and I definitely recommend those – they’re my fave!20140729-215344-78824766.jpg

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The crispy exterior sprinkled with speckles of sugar, and layers of buttery goodness that taste fluffy and airy, like heaven in your mouth.

We also ordered the house smoked salmon hash with pork crackling and poached eggs, which was also delicious! It’s a struggle to finish though, as the fattiness in the salmon with pork hash get a bit rich towards the end. 20140729-215705-79025642.jpg

20140729-215707-79027262.jpgWould definitely recommend this place as another inner west Sydney cafe that’s convenient to get to!

On another visit:

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Glazed cronut and Chocolate hazelnut.

Had the cheeseburger with fries. The fries were so good!

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20140730-005644-3404006.jpgExcelsior Jones on Urbanspoon

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