Are you wondering where to go for Oktoberfest in Sydney? Well, I have kindly volunteered to do some market research to help you find the best place to go. My suggestion, pork knuckle down and get to Löwenbräu Keller!

Perched upon Argyle Street in the Rocks, Löwenbräu Keller is the perfect venue for a few liters of beer and a good hearty meal.  They prides themselves on being the most authentic Munich restaurant in Sydney, and the historic cobble stone streets add a touch of charm while you’re playing make-believe wishing you were really in Munich celebrating Oktoberfest.

Löwenbräu Keller has two areas, the outside tables which are perfect for lapping up the daylight savings sun or the traditional Bavarian beer hall bar inside and down stairs. The service is typical German – serious, punctual and dressed in ledenhosen and beer wench dresses. Cheesy and cliché, what more would you want in a German restaurant during Oktoberfest?…. probably beer and food.

There is an extensive beer (Bier) menu with Oktoberfest specials coming in all shapes and sizes, but mostly in the traditional 1 litre beer mug. Get in the spirit and order the Bowenbrau Oktoberfestbier – a full-bodied brew with a hint of spice which will get you feeling very festive. As for the good, if you’re on a diet don’t even bother. If you like rich, creamy, fried food – you have come to the right place.

I opted not to go for the famous pork knuckle although I fully intended to before I arrived, but it was huge and looked like too much admin for my liking. Given I was a little tipsy I opted for an easier-to-eat pork belly served with braised cabbage, roast potatoes and jus. The pork belly was everything pork belly should be – a tender, juicy, fall-apart-in-your-mouth piece of belly topped with a crisp, golden piece of crackling. I could almost feel the roasted fat residing on my thighs immediately. But when in  Germany (or The Rocks), you must do as the Germans do. The chicken schnitzel covered in mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes was just as heart-stopping delicious.

If you’re feeling more like a pig than you are a German, never fear, Löwenbräu Keller have a roaming live German band there, yodeling for your entertainment so you can dance the calories and night away….

The Bitter: Probably more than I would have liked to pay, but you only get to celebrate Oktoberfest once (a year)

The Sweet: Service, schnitzel and shameless stereotypes

The Damage: Liter of beer, huge meal and cardiac arrest will cost about $50 per person.

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig.

Löwenbräu Keller – 18 Argyle St, The Rocks – Sydney, NSW – lowenbrau.com.au

Lowenbrau Keller on Urbanspoon

Surry Hills’ Reuben Hills has been the talk of the town for some time, and the lines to get in aren’t slowing down any time soon. Why so popular you ask? Well, the trendy people who live and play around this area are as fussy about their coffee as they are about their chinos, and here you can find some of the best beans going around.

The owner, Russell Beard, travels the world finding the best coffee beans to roast on site and sources most of from south of the border including places like from to El Salvador, Panama, Colombia and Costa Rica. The food’s theme follows suit and is inspired by the food he eats on his bean hunting trips. Think full and flavoursome sandwiches, jam-packed tortillas and exotic eats for those with a sweet tooth like the ice cream sandwich or the salted caramel milkshake.

But being more of sucker for savory, I couldn’t even entertain the idea of looking at anything other than the ‘NOT Reuben’ sandwich. Rye bread generously stocked with a salty wagyu brisket, manchergo cheese and pickled coleslaw dressed with horseradish cream served in a neon basket, diner style. The sandwich was nothing short of amazing – full, delicious and left me wanting more even though my pork belly was at full capacity. My not-so-piggy friend opted for the lighter option, the crab taco’s which are filled with chunks of crab, avocado, sweet corn, smoked tomato and rocket. They are fresh, filling and full of flavour, but no match to my Not Reuben.

The café itself is as interesting as the menu. The neon light installations are a stark contrast to the exposed brick walls, tiled tables and unassuming entrance on Albion Street. Inside is a lively, modern and airy space with plenty of ventilation coming from the rear’s roller door. The staff are incredibly friendly and efficient despite being busy around the clock with pigs eating from early morning through to late afternoon. If you’re an impatient pig I suggest you opt for a late lunch around 3-4, but don’t expect to be hungry for dinner time.

The Bitter: The coffee beans have a bitter taste, but that is the only bitter about this place

The Sweet: Salty wagyu Brisket and salted caramel milkshake, death row meal worthy combo

The Damage: A meal and milkshake will set you back about $25.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Rueben Hill – 61 Albion Street – Surry Hills, NSW 2010 – reubenhills.com.au

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon

Three Blue Ducks or as the yummy mummies around Bronte call it, Three Great F&%$s! Why? Because three professionally trained (young & good-looking) chefs, a couple of whom have Tetsuya on their resume, decided to open up their dream cafe in Bronte beach. After travelling the world together they decided surfing and being the object of women’s desires was more of a priority than feeding high-brow types over white linen. The result? Casual coffee and excellent eggs whilst breathing in the sea air.

The cafe won’t be hard to find along Bronte’s MacPherson Street shops, the place is constantly swarmed with people trying to snag a seat. So much so that the barista next door decide he join forces with the ducks to create extra space. And what a space it is! It has a rustic, DIY feel with street style art adorning the walls and mis-matching furniture creating an unpretentious place for the pretentious pigs that come here.

After hearing, reading and seeing the hype around Three Blue Ducks my expectations were high to say the least. Things were off to a great start when we got seated straight away and served perfectly brewed coffee, so I was getting even more excited about the food. The menu is small and intriguing. After a few mojitos the night before I needed something big and bad for me. The eggs benedict with wilted spinach and smoked trout had caught my eye but the thought of fish was unpalatable at that point so I asked for it to be substituted with bacon.

Apparently my order translated into poached eggs, bacon, roasted tomato and a side of basil with no hollandaise and a substantial serving of attitude on the side. The waitress was rude and unapologetic. Perhaps she just needs a good duck? That aside the meal was still tasty, as was the bacon and egg roll.

The Bitter: Staff that seem unwilling to serve you
The Sweet: Perfectly poached eggs and great art work
The Damage: Standard breakfast – meal and coffee will cost $25 per pig.

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig.

Three Blue Ducks – 143 MacPherson Street, Bronte Beach – www.threeblueducks.com.au

Three Blue Ducks on Urbanspoon


Bondi Hardware might be unassuming from the outside but on the inside you will find a feast, fun and fruity cocktails. This place is loved by locals and lots of women who are single and ready to mingle, trying to land a lad and some hardware. So, if you want to snag a seat on a Friday night or weekend, book ahead.

The best way to kick off the afternoon or evening is with a Vale Ale, which they have on tap. This is easily my favourite beer  of all time which hails from the vineyards of South Australia’s McLarenvale district and it has a pinch of passionfruit. Whist sipping on those I suggest you work your way through the menu. The calamari is perfect picking food as are the beer battered chips with roasted garlic aioli.

Once you’re ready to really let your hair down there is an extensive cocktail menu that will leave you sufficiently pleased and pissed. My suggestion would be the Expresso Martini. Just when I thought the cocktail couldn’t get any better, then I tasted Bondi Hardware’s vanilla twist. The bold and bitter cocktail will give you plenty of energy to see you through your main course. The wood fire prosciutto pizza is simple but more than satisfying, infact it is my favourite. Make sure you take a mate or date so you can also order the sliders. Sliders are a revolutionary concept I have embraced with open arms and mouth. You can have two burgers in one sitting without wait staff judging you. Thank you Mr. Slider, I love you.

The interior is as pleasing and comfortable at as the food. The harsh exposed brick covered in tools is softened with pot plants hanging from the walls and roof, worn down candles and polished wood. The front half of the restaurant is open, airy and lit by the large bay windows and sky light. The back-end of the bar is dark, cosy and the perfect place to snort sweet nothings….

The Bitter: Like any Bondi bar you will come across some tools, fitting given the name

The Sweet: Sweet, small, succulent sliders….. and super nice, smiling service

The Damage: For drinks and tapas to share you’re looking at about $60-$70 per pig.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Bondi Hardware – 39 Hall St – Bondi Beach, NSW 2026

Bondi Hardware on Urbanspoon

Love comfort food without the discomfort afterwards? This dish is FULL of veggies and made without the heavy coconut cream you find in a lot of curries. It is super quick, super easy and super delicious! This is my version of  one of my hero’s 30 minute meals. Who doesn’t love a bit of Jamie Oliver for dinner?

WHAT YOU NEED

Curry:

  • 2 onions
  • 0.25 pumpkin
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • a bunch of fresh coriander
  • ½ a  jar of rogan josh paste
  • 400g tin of chicken
  • 500mL of chicken stock
  • 100g prewashed baby spinach
  • 200g tub of natural yoghurt

Rice:
1 mug of basmati rice

Carrot Salad:

  • 5 or 6 carrots
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • a bunch of fresh coriander
  • a 2cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 lemon

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

Curry:

Peel and slice the onions and add to the large pan with a splash of water and a few good lugs of olive oil.
Cut the pumpkin into bite size pieces without skin or seeds. Add to the pan.  Cut the cauliflower it into bite-sized chunks, and throw them into the pan and add the chilli. Crush in the unpeeled garlic. Finely chop the coriander (stalks and all). Reserve a few leaves for garnish and add the rest to the pan with the chicken stock. Add the rogan josh paste and the chicken. Season and stir well, then put a lid on. Cook hard and fast, stirring occasionally. While the curry is cooking, always check its consistency and add more stock if needed.

Carrot salad:  

Wash and trim the carrots. Grate them in food processor, using the coarse grater attachment, with the chilli (stalks and seeds removed), the top third of a bunch of coriander and a peeled 2cm piece of ginger. Tip into a serving bowl. Top it off with a good squeeze of lemon juice, zest and olive oil, garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve the curry with rice (I assume you all know how to cook that!) and some yoghurt and coriander on top.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Praise the Pigs I stumbled across this place! But, I’m not the only pig who has been drawn to Panama House, this place is buzzing all day and all night. The food can be best described as American comfort with a Latin flair, hence the name. The menu is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the belly, you will be so torn as to what to order you will return, just like I did.

Here at Panama House you won’t find run-of-the-mill bacon and eggs for breakfast, so prepare yourself for some exotic eating to start your day. The oven baked corn fritters are served with bacon, poached eggs and generously dressed with home made salsa. They were good, but I had buyers remorse when I was watching the Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Tacos being served around me. But I was extremely impressed when I tasted the corned beef hash. A plump potato rosti filled with flakes of beef served with buttered spinach, a poached egg and chipotle hollandaise drizzled on top. I can assure you it tasted as good as it sounds, but you better savour every bite because it isn’t going to satisfy the piggiest pigs.

The food gets better as the day goes on. On my night time visit I started with the pulled pork pull boy sandwich, tender shredded pork on a soft sesame bun that melts in your mouth, I regret agreeing to sharing it. The spicy tomato soup with tortilla flakes was a great way to start the meal too. The mains are classic American comfort food – fried chicken with corn bread and hanger steak served with onion rings both tasty but no competition against that pork pull boy! All meals are accompanied by four homemade salsas – jalapeno, pineapple, tomato and chill. So, you can spice any meal up, or down, or however you like it. Panama House is definitely not suitable for those trying to shed a winter coat so prepare yourself!

The service is friendly and relaxed, just like the atmosphere. The exposed brick, white tiles, pendant lighting and brass detailing transforms from a light, airy cafe during the day to a dim-lit date spot at night. The narrow space works well with small tables running along one side, and seating at the bar on the other. Word on the street is they will be opening up the back court yard this summer for Sunday sessions and someone there to serenade you!

If this place is an accurate depiction what it is like to eat in Panama, I need to book myself a ticket!

The Bitter: Although the service is efficient and friendly, at times they seemed a little frazzled.

The Sweet: Finally a good Bondi Rd breakfast! Oh, and that pulled pig pull boy!

The Damage: Moderate. A drink and meal at breakfast will cost you about $25. A dinner with all the trimmings and wine about $60.

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig.

Panama House – 251 Bondi Rd, Bondi NSW – http://www.panamahouse.com.au

Panama House on Urbanspoon

On my recent trip to Japan I discovered I love Japan, Japanese people, Japanese cities, Japanese trains, Japanese toilets, Japanese beer and Japanese food…. A lot. It appears the feeling is mutual as I found my smiling snout plastered on walls, posters and signs around the country.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.