ENJOY FAST FOOD... AND KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION!
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet

Soul Origin

After the feasting of Christmas, it’s common to want to aim to get back on track with healthy eating, but that’s not always easy during the holiday season. So it’s a pleasant surprise to find a new food outlet in Western Sydney shopping centres, promising healthy and wholesome food alternatives.

Soul Origin is a new sandwich and salad fast food outlet incorporating the latest ‘warehouse’ design - giving it a very fresh and cool vibe.  Their Rouse Hill store opened last month and is the second outlet in Sydney’s West.

All the benefits of wholesome cafe food are offered on display at a great takeaway price. With a huge range of fresh and flavoursome fillings you’re sure to find something to take your fancy – like the Grilled Chicken Focaccia – with fresh grilled chicken breast and salad sandwiched between slices of focaccia, this provides all the nice without the naughty.  Wraps also offer a great alternative.

Small Salad

If you’re aiming to avoid bread all together, there are a great range of salads on offer.  And if you find it hard to decide, you can choose two different salads - even when ordering the small size.  The beef salad pairs perfectly with the brown rice salad. The citrus, ginger and chilli flavours of the marinated beef ideally compliment the nuttiness of the rice, and with plenty of salad and vegetables throughout you can be confident of a very balanced and healthy meal.

Sparkling Long Black

From the drinks list you’ll find the usual hot and cold beverage offerings, however you may be intrigued by the 'sparkling long black'.  This drink was apparently so new that the barrister had to check how to make it!  As it suggests, sparkling water is poured over ice, then two shots of coffee are added.  Being cold fizzy black coffee, it really is a whole different taste experience, and can take some getting used to! This is definitely one for the adventurous at heart.

If you do want to treat yourself, they offer a great range of sweet breads - banana, rhubarb and cinnamon, carrot and pecan – all preservative free, along with cookies and brownies – for those who allow themselves to be tempted.

Staff @ Kiosk

In the Rouse Hill kiosk setting, food is diligently prepared by their dedicated team in a small space at the back, and brought to the front counter for display, overseen by plenty of staff eager to serve.

This is a real hit with my family when shopping, being confident that we can now grab some food on the go, with a clear conscience, at a reasonable price.

SOUL ORIGIN ROUSE HILL
Kiosk 009 Rouse Hill Town Centre,
10-14 Market Lane
Rouse Hill, NSW 2155

Also at Shop 5066, Level 5
159 Church Street
Parramatta, NSW 2150

www.soulorigin.com.au


42 BANNERMAN - GLENHAVEN
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet


42 Bannerman Road
Glenhaven NSW 2156
P: 9899 5608
E: info@42bannerman.com.au
W: www.42bannerman.com.au

My boss recommended I try this place, and so with my husband’s birthday as an excuse, we went for a romantic dinner for two to experience the food sensation that is 42 Bannerman.

Set in the more ‘rural’ part of Glenhaven, I was surprised when first pulling into the large car parking area that it didn’t look much like a restaurant from the outside. It felt more like we were turning up to ‘Nonna’s, for dinner with the family! This definitely set the overall ‘homely’ tone for the night. From the welcome mat in front of the rustic Tuscan door, through to the large dining room areas with fireplace and wall art, it felt more like we were dining in someone’s home rather than a restaurant. And on this particular Saturday night it was like the whole family had turned up - with very few vacant tables available.

As with any family atmosphere the service is friendly and casual. The main point of difference here is that there are no menus – just a menu board that changes seasonally. The focus is on local fresh produce and the menu is a reflection of what is currently available. While this might not appeal to some diners, I found it really refreshing. The small selection is ample to excite your appetite and the limited selection made my decision easier. I also felt confident that anything I chose would taste fresh and fantastic.

In true Italian fashion there appears to be an expectation you will have three courses – Pasta, Main and Dessert, and they do offer a set menu for groups of 3 or more. However we were only able to manage two courses - main and dessert! And while the service was swift with our mains arriving not too long after ordering, the food is definitely the star of this place.


Herb Crusted Lamb Back Strap
with a potato, zucchini flower and green olive salad and crème fraiche

The lamb was cooked to perfection with a lovely salty herb crust that accompanied the flavour perfectly. The vegetable salad was coated in a garlic butter sauce that made everything taste delectable, and the crème fraiche was an interesting, yet pleasant accompaniment. The size of the meal was ample although I did have to share some of the lamb with hubby in order to leave room for dessert!


Shredded Beef Shin Braised
with Roasted Field Mushrooms, Scarmozza and Gremolata

I was only treated to a little bite of the beef, but it was definitely ‘melt in your mouth’ delicious. It appears to have been an excellent choice as I didn’t hear much from my husband during this meal and the plate was left empty, even the field mushrooms, of which he’s not the biggest fan. By all indications, this meal exceeded all taste expectations!


Sweet Ricotta Tart
with Baked Peaches and Hazelnut Gelato

From the first bite, this dessert felt like I’d ‘died and gone to heaven’. The blend of flavours was perfection – from the crunch of the hard baked crust, to the richness of the ricotta, slight tang of the peach and nutty flavour of the gelato – it was like they had read the desire of my palate perfectly!

After eating both his dish and some of my lamb, hubby only had room for a scoop of the home made sorbet. From a good selection of flavours he chose the adventurous Watermelon Coconut and Tequila Sorbet! And I can say from my small sample – it tastes exactly as it says, and these unique flavours do work quite well together to end your meal nicely.

Overall, our experience felt like ‘visiting the family for a home cooked meal done exceptionally well’ and I would highly recommend going for dinner from Thursday to Saturday or trying one of their Sunday lunches!

42 Bannerman also hosts a Farmers and Artisans Market on the first Sunday of every second month. The next is on the 7th of April and it’s already in my diary – so stay tuned for an update!


CUCINA GASPARO – BELLA VISTA
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet

Gasparo3

Cucina Gasparo on Urbanspoon

1/24-32 Lexington Drive
Bella Vista NSW 2153
P: 8883 4622
W: www.gasparo.com.au

Looking for somewhere special to take your love this Valentine’s Day but don’t want to empty your entire pay packet in the process? Cucina Gasparo offers an excellent dining experience that is intimate enough for couples, or large enough to cater for groups and parties

I was initially surprised to find such an impression of ‘elegant Italy’ in the heart of Bella Vista’s commercial business park. But you soon forget your geographical location once you walk past the Vespa parked out the front and are seated in fine dining fashion.

Offering regular restaurant food options alongside Pastas, Risottos and Pizzas, the menu is quite extensive and therefore should appeal to even the fussiest of eaters.  The prices are very reasonable with most traditional Italian dishes priced around $15 to $20.

My husband and I ordered a plate of pasta each and were pleasantly surprised to receive some complementary petite bread rolls sprinkled with herbs and served with a side of chilli oil for dipping – a completely unexpected yum!

Linguine Bella - prawn linguine with tomato pesto and cream.

Gasparo Linguine

The gorgeous presentation set me up for great expectations.  These were exceeded after my first mouthful when all I could think of was ‘bellissimo’ - this dish is an absolute delight to the palate.  Beautiful fresh prawns matched perfectly with the garlic pesto flavours and thankfully it was not too heavy on the cream

Spaghetti Meatballs
Gasparo Meatballs

Not on the regular menu, this was offered as a ‘special of the day’ and is one of my husband’s favourites.  H wasn't isappointed with the meatballs tasting great, the spaghetti not too long and sauce nice and thick making it easy to eat without embarrassment.

Thankfully the pasta dishes were just the right size to leave room for dessert!  At only $3 per scoop the Gelato is amazingly great value.  I tried the Fig and Mascarpone flavour – a perfect blend of caramel sweetness and rich cream – one scoop was plenty to satisfy.

Gasparo Gelato


With coffee as good as any you could expect from an Italian cafe, and with ‘old-school’ after dinner mints served on the side, this was a perfect finish to an excellent dining experience.

The service is welcoming and friendly, and they are open for Lunch and Dinner Tuesday to Friday and Sunday, with just Dinner available on Saturdays

NOW CLOSED
I was really sad to hear that this restaurant has now closed and the family have moved into a different kind of business. Our great loss to be sure.


DELISHUS – TAPAS BAR AND RESTAURANT IN RICHMOND
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet

DELISHUS
122 Windsor Street
Richmond NSW 2753
P: 4578 6999
W: www.delishus.com.au


Delishus Tapas Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I like tasting food more than just eating food. And that’s why I love Tapas!  With small portions designed to share, you have the opportunity to taste a range of foods and flavours, without getting too full too quickly!

Delishus has been on my ‘must try’ list for just this reason, and so on a hot summer Saturday my husband and I headed to Richmond for a Tapas Lunch

Being a typical hot and humid day we were grateful to have plenty of air conditioned room inside to choose from, however their courtyard area would be a lovely option on a cooler day. I’m told by the owner that dogs are welcome to join you on a leash when dining in the courtyard, something that will encourage us back in the future!

Looking inside the late 1800s building is like visualising the Spanish arriving in Colonial Australia!  Dark wood and high ceilings are paired with vibrant red and yellow Spanish decor.  Why this could sound gaudy, this unique setting actually works nicely, and harmonises well with the appropriate Spanish guitar soundtrack in the background.

This restaurant got us in their good books from the start by having my favourite Cider available, and the complimentary spiced peanuts and olives accompanied this perfectly to calm my growling anticipating stomach!

We enjoyed four dishes to share, each one really only offering enough for two, but this helped us leave enough room to indulge in dessert!

Tapas
Pork Belly with Apple Sauce
I’m always a bit reluctant to try Pork Belly as more often than not you end up with more fat than meat.  But as a ‘special of the day’ I was persuaded to try and was so glad I did. The juicy, melt in your mouth pork was superbly matched by the salty crispy crackling. Both my husband and I said we could’ve eaten more – and we are not big pork eaters

Pollo Rellenos con Tomate Seco y Albahaca
While I couldn’t really taste much of the pine nuts and basil in this tomato chicken dish, the tomato was not too over powering and the buttery sauce really made this delicious

Empanadas de Carne con Manchego Mousse
These beef empanadas exceeded expectations by tasting more baked than fried.  The Manchego Mousse tasted like a hard cream cheese and melted on top of my empanada... when I had left it long enough on the plate before gobbling it down!

Patatas Bravas
The menu promised that these potatoes would be ‘baked crisp’ so I was a bit disappointed that they weren’t really.  While still very tasty, they did pale in comparison to the other dishes.  I think next time I would ask for the sauce on the side, rather than on top, as this may help them to remain as crispy as promised.

I was very pleased that we still had room for coffee and dessert, as I definitely wanted to try the Tasting Plate – Postre Messe!

Dessert

Selections can vary from day to day, so it’s best to ask for today’s offering but we were treated to a sample of four including:

  • White Chocolate Mousse with Lavender
  • Fresas en Balsamico (fresh strawberries with aged balsamic vinegar)
  • Leche Frita (fried milk with cinnamon and vanilla – like a mini custard filled donut)
  • Crema Catalana (like a Creme Brûlée but better)

Delicious variety to satisfy any dessert lover.  We loved the Crema Catalana the best, however the Leche Frita came a close second with me.

While the bill was a little high for two people, it is what you would expect for food of this quality and the atmosphere truly makes this an enjoyable foodie experience.  It’s well worth treating yourself to a meal at Delishus as you will leave feeling full and your taste buds truly satisfied.


THE BLEND - GOURMET COFFEE IN TOONGABBIE
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet
The Blend Outside
17 Portico Parade
Toongabbie NSW 2146
P:  0451 994 265
W: www.theblend.com.au
The Blend on Urbanspoon

<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/70/1679667/restaurant/Sydney/Holroyd/The-Blend-Toongabbie"><img alt="The Blend on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1679667/minilink.gif" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:130px;height:36px" /></a>
I have to be honest, in the 11 years I've worked in the Blacktown area I haven’t had a lot of good local coffee options.  To give some perspective, I was ecstatic when they opened a Gloria Jeans at our local Centro in 2003???!!! So you will understand how ever grateful I am to learn that there is a change occurring in our local area, with some truly great coffee places opening up


Toongabbie is the last place many would look to find great coffee, and to be honest, you will have to look hard to find this ‘Oasis in the Desert’.

The Blend has been directly transported out of Brunswick or King Streets into Portico Place, Toongabbie. With its eclectic atmosphere and inner city cool, this little gem is definitely 'out of place' in the local area. The focus is on gourmet Coffee and it’s no less than awesome. Open for Breakfast and Lunch they serve a limited menu for both all day but the toasted sandwiches, bacon & egg wraps, cakes and slices are enough to satisfy any hunger.


The Blend Coffee & Dessert

The staff are so friendly, you feel like a long lost cousin, I can see why many are choosing to make The Blend their 'local'.

Being directly across the road from the railway station the atmosphere inside is much better than outside although they have done a good job of setting up a nice outdoor area.  Space is limited, but it’s more than worth your while to drop by for takeaway if you can’t get a seat.


BEEF BULLION BUTCHERY - NORTH ROCKS
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet


Shop 64-65 Westfield,
326 - 336 North Rocks Road,
North Rocks NSW 2151
P: 9872 2013
E: sales@beefbullion.com.au
W: beefbullion.com.au


Reviewing great food is not always about restaurants, cafes and coffee shops... sometimes its in the raw ingredients that you buy to create a gourmet meal at home! So in honour of our up coming Australia Day celebrations I thought it fitting to review one of the best Butcheries in Western Sydney - Beef Bullion - located in the Westfield North Rocks Shopping Centre.

Being a Butcher, you already expect the meat to be a great deal better quality than what you would find in your local supermarket. This is certainly the case with Beef Bullion, but what I love most about these guys is their passion for food! They really care about the meat on offer, and they love to get creative with many of the items they have ready prepared. I'm not sure if it's because it's a family run business, or because owner Glenn has been in the industry for almost 30 years! Whatever the reason, these guys make the drive to North Rocks totally worth your while - just take a cooler bag with you!

For Australia Day, the guys ran a little 'in-house' competition on who could come up with the best 'Australia Day Creation' using Lamb. The three finalists were...

1. ROBBIE'S AUSSIE LAMB BITES: Lamb meatballs with red onion, mint and coriander.
2. CAMERON's cheese and organic chive crumbed lamb cutlets.
3. MATT'S AUSSIE ESKIES; Filo parcels filled with lamb fillet marinated in honey, mint and rosemary.

I personally couldn't decide on what one sounded better - I just want to turn up to the BBQ on Australia Day and have one of each thanks!

If you're looking for top quality meat and creative meal suggestions, then you can't go past Beef Bullion - especially this Australia Day! But make sure you get stocked up well before midday this Saturday as they are closing early in honour of owner Cameron getting married! Congratulations Cameron - what a fitting day for a Butcher to have a wedding!

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HOG'S BREATH CAFE - $9.90 LUNCHES
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet

Hogso-matic1

January is often a 'slower' month for office workers, which means it can be one of the few times to get out of the office for a nice lunch.  However during this holiday season time of year, many restaurants are reluctant to offer any lunch deals. I was therefore impressed on my return to work in the New Year to find that Hog's Breath are still running their $9.90 Lunches during January.  And while Hog's Breath would not typically be classed as 'gourmet' - these burgers and wraps are definitely higher on the good tasting food register when it comes to lunch under $10

SMOKED BBQ BEEF WRAP

Hogso-matic2

At a steak house what else would you go for but the beef?  Generous with the grilled beef and the BBQ sauce sweet was smoky and delicious.  While it could’ve done with some tomatoes along with the lettuce, the grilled onions do make it. By having it in a wrap, the lower bread content allows the other flavours to shine through. The curly fries are by far a signature favourite, so it’s good to see a serving of these on the side.  The burger in the photo is a BLT Burger, had by my dining companion, who agreed it was great value at only $9.90.

The atmosphere is always fun at Hog’s Breath Cafe and the service at the Blacktown venue was pleasant and swift - meals arrived within 5 to 10 minutes, so all in all a great value lunch experience!

Located throughout Western Sydney at: lacktown, Campbelltown, Castle Hill, Narellan, Parramatta, Penrith, Richmond, St Marys

JAZZVEH WOODFIRED PIZZA CAFE
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet

Jazzveh Wall Art

Located Shop 3, 5 Celebration Drive, BELLA VISTA

Sneakily sitting behind towering corporate offices, you may find this little gem hard to find at first.  But once you do, you will enjoy a warm and inviting atmosphere utilising chocolate brown tones and slate walls, with cool jazz piped through the sound system and the signature wood fire oven in full view from any table in the restaurant.  Promoting alfresco dining with lake views, this can really only be taken advantage of on weekdays when they are open for breakfast and lunch.  Dinner is also available Monday through to Saturday.
I went with my husband for dinner on a Saturday night, which is surprisingly the only time they are open on the weekend!  We made sure to get their early to secure a parking spot, as spaces are few and shared with neighbouring restaurants

ENTREE:
We started by sharing an entree described as 'deep fried tempura calamari', however they came much more battered than described giving very little chance for any calamari flavour.  Sadly I would expect more from restaurant quality and for the price.  The dish was saved however by the accompanying tartare sauce.  Made 'in-house' this wildly thicky and creamy sauce was absolutely delicious.  It has less 'tang' than most tartare sauces but lemon was supplied on the side to increase this flavour as desired.

MAIN
Pesto Chicken Penne
Even though this is a Woodfired Pizza Cafe, on this particular night we decided to try the pastas.  I had the Penne Pesto with Chicken and Sundried Tomatoes which easily met expectations.  The breast chicken pieces were juicy and not tough or overcooked, while the creamy pesto sauce was not too oily, heavy or overpowering with pesto flavour.  It all balanced perfectly and was delicious.
My husband Stephen, not really a 'foodie', stuck with an ever faithful - Lasagne - a favourite of his.  He was surprised to find quite a bit of ‘green’ in amongst the layers, but on tasting a bite it seemed to be a layer of herbs!  There was less meat than you would typically find in Lasagne which disappointed him somewhat, but overall it did still satisfy the Lasagne lover
The pizzas were popular amongst other guests, so I would say they meet the expectations of a Woodfired Pizza Cafe, we will have to try them next time, or even try the take-away service.

DESSERT:
Stephen had the Affogato which tasted better than expected as it was served over gelato rather than ice cream, however he was a little disappointed that it came ready-made because that meant losing out on the fun and self creation of pouring the coffee and frangelico yourself.  My Belgian Waffles were a magnificent site stacked as a tower of gelato sandwiched between two mini waffles and drizzled with honey and walnuts.  The entire combination was a delight and just writing about these now is making my mouth water again!
Belgian Waffles with Gelato and Honey
TAKEAWAY:
Jazzveh does offer Home Delivery of their signature pizza, pastas and salads to the Bella Vista and immediate area, or you can order ahead and pick up a take away.

Mains priced around $30.  The venue is fully licenced but BYO wine is available with corkage applicable.  

Website http://www.jazzveh.com.au


CAFFE CHERRY BEANS - ROUSE HILL TOWN CENTRE
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet

IMG_2890

LOCATION: GR170, 10-14 Market Lane, Rouse Hill Town Centre

My first review is a place close to home that I totally love - mostly because of the coffee, but hey, isn't this a great place to start?


Rouse Hill Town Centre is better than your average shopping centre as it is very open and 'village like', with streets running past many of the restaurants and cafes - including Cherry Beans.


Cherry Beans is my local 'go to' place for coffee.  It has the best I've tried in the Hills area, and is part of a franchise whose origins are from the city and inner west, so it definitely comes with 'coffee credentials'! My family know that I really can’t leave Rouse Hill Town Centre without grabbing at least a coffee during our visit.


While I highly recommend Cherry Beans as a great coffee place, it's also excellent for breakfast and lunch too.  Below is a photo of French Toast with Bacon Maple and Raspberry Coulis, which is not only delicious, but at $12.50, this is a great value breakfast!

Cherry Bean Rouse Hill

The Small Breakfast is anything but small with two eggs, bacon, tomato and hash brown - again all for $12.50!  They cook the eggs exactly how you like them - in my case, hard poached, and they did well to also accommodate my 'extra crispy' request on the bacon!  Side orders of anything extra (if you can possibly fit it in) are a bargain at just $1.50

Their fresh made juices are exactly that and come in a range of sizes and combinations to suit your taste requirements.  Lunches are equally well priced, generous in size and taste amazing.  The atmosphere inside is pleasant and unhampered, while outside you can enjoy the sunshine while watching the cars go by

The combination of excellent coffee, tasty food, great value and inviting atmosphere is why this is a regular hang out of mine, and very popular with local families.



Located throughout Western Sydney at:

Carlingford Court, Carnes Hill, Cherrybrook, Hoxton Park, Merrylands, Rouse Hill, Wetherill Park

Website: http://www.cherrybeans.com.au


Finding Great Food in Sydney's Greater West
wilkinson, go west gourmet, kim
gowestgourmet

GoWestGourmet

I'm a foodie. I love all types of food, especially eating out. I grew up in Sydney's west, and as a result, experienced a range of cultures and foods from a young age. I've lived in Sydney as an adult for the last 14 years, the last 8 of these has been in Sydney's western suburbs, mostly due to my work location.

I've found that most food review sites focus on Sydney's city and immediate surrounds - occasionally venturing into the inner west or northern / southern beaches. I'm not sure whether it's the lack of ocean / harbour view, or the 'Mobile Kebab Stop' status, but there doesn't seem to be anything out there reviewing all the amazing cafe and restaurant choices we have in Sydney's greater west!

So here it is - Go West Gourmet! A foodie review of great food in Western Sydney. Where it is, how good it is, what I had, and why I ended up eating there.

I hope you enjoy this journal and the accompanying food photos. Please feel free to comment and suggest any new places I should try!

Thanks for reading,
Kim
Food Reviewer - Go West Gourmet


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