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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

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Bean on Dean is a small little sanctuary and an ideal place to enjoy a perfectly brewed coffee and light bites in Brisbane’s western suburb of Toowong – an inner city area starved of decent places to enjoy a morning pick-me-up and a good quality meal. Bean on Dean has undoubtedly brought this dire little strip of shops to life and the pigs of Toowong (including myself) have welcomed Bean on Dean with open, caffeine-deprived arms.

Bean on Dean is the brain child of a mother and daughter team (Ashley and Tracy) who are as passionate about their coffee as they are about their art. The team here are as relaxed as the atmosphere… you’re welcome to stay for a coffee, a snack, a meal or you can just enjoy a sunny saturday with your dog by your side. Unlike many of Brisbane’s busy breakfast haunts, you won’t be shuffled away to make room for the next impatient piggy patron while you’ve barely swallowed the last spoon full of your scrambled eggs. They have done a brilliant job of accommodating all of Toowongs demographics – the ladies who catch up over cappuccino, the young professionals on-the-go and the hungover uni students looking for a filling feed.

Meals here are basic but brilliant and can be found on the “Lite Bites” menu. I have tried a few items, all of which hit the spot! Firstly I had the most popular item, the ‘Kerfuffle” which is sourdough topped with avocado, Danish feta, rocket, olive oil and balsamic on the side to taste, a combination done widely and not always done well, but they nailed it. On my second visit I went for another one of their gourmet toppings on toast –  sourdough piled with soft cheese, cured meat and rocket with beetroot relish on the side…. if you serve a slice of pig well, you have a loyal customer in me, hence why I keep coming back.

Despite being the perfect place to relax on a lazy morning, Bean on Dean pride and label themselves as an expresso bar, and they have an impressive bright green coffee machine to match the title. Although I am no expert in this department, I know a good coffee when I taste one, and I know they are great when I order 2, which I did. So if you are the i-don’t-have-time-to-dine-out type like many of their customers, you can grab a toastie or muffin to go to accompany your campos coffee in the mornings. Convenience, quirky and a can’t go wrong option.

The bitter: Not open on Sundays, probably when I need a coffee and breakfast close to home the most!

The sweet:  Quick, easy, friendly cheap and deeeeeelicious!

The damage: You can get a perfect coffee, a tasty meal and an art exhibition for under $20

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

45 Dean street Toowong, QLD 4066 – (07) 3870 5445

Bean on Dean on Urbanspoon

Cows and pigs are barn yard friends and are even better friends in a big bowl of bolognese! I have finally mastered the perfect bolognese sauce, which tastes even better the next day (they aways do).

What you need:

  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • 1.5 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Dried oregano & basil
  • 4 brown swiss mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 800g crushed tomatoes
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 table spoons of tomato paste
  • Good quality parmesan
  • Pasta either tagatelli or spaghetti

What you need to do:

  • Add the onion and garlic into a heated pot with a splash of olive oil and let them sweat
  • Add the veggies, herbs, tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato pasta
  • Fry the bacon and brown the mince before adding to the sauce
  • Cook the sauce for as long as possible on a low heat, stirring occasionally for the best flavour
  • Cook the pasta, preferably good quality pasta from the markets
  • Season the sauce to taste before stirring the sauce through and topping it off with basil and parmesan

*Tip: add a big pile of spinach on top save yourself making a salad, it tastes delightful!

Think your bolognese is better than mine? Send me your recipe so I can test it myself.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

With the pork thinning and the cork remaining firmly in the bottles around the house, I figured using my no-carb, no-booze phase of the challenge would be  a perfect opportunity to go to whole healthy hog and try a detox. Urban Remedy seemed like an obvious choice – six delicious juices, smoothies and soups that can guarantee clear skin, weight loss and more energy? YES PLEASE!

As a food lover, I am usually very sceptical about these so-called detoxes, you know the ones that promise you will shed 15kg in 2 days and fail to mention that you will gain 30kg when it’s over because you’re eating tim tams like they are tic tacs. As for those other cleanses that require you to source the most bizarre ingredients like the pollen found on rose petals harvested from the Himalayan hilltops…. Who has the time and energy to do that? Not me.

Urban Remedy is delivered to your door and conveniently packaged in bottles for those on-the-go pigs. I opted for the level 2, 3 day cleanse. Despite being 2 weeks carb-free I was nervous about a diet without solids, meat or dairy. Sounded a little extreme for me, but I was pleasantly surprised!

With a piggish appetite like mine I was amazed that I never felt hungry, I always seemed to be sipping on something delicious. I never felt full either, a concept I know I should adapt to but it is very foreign to me!

My energy, sleep, skin and mood were all looking and feeling as good as the juices tasted. I would recommend Urban Remedy for anyone wanting to initiate a health kick. I would however suggest avoiding doing this before a friend’s birthday party – healthy liver + a boozy lunch = hang over from hell.

The bitter: It is a little expensive, but in my opinion, worth it

The sweet: Delicious, no cooking required and a perfectly healthy pig!

Feeling like a porky pig? Head to www.urbanremedy.com.au to shed your crackling into thinly sliced ham!

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig

Hi, I am Truffle Pig and I have been sober for 14 days….

Surprisingly I live to tell the tale of the past two weeks where I have not eaten any carbs (well, no pasta, bread or rice) or a single drop of alcohol. Who would have thought I could do it?…. certainly not me.

Before embarking on this stage of the Porkless Pig journey I was told that completing this stage successfully would require a lot of planning and preparation. So this little piggy headed off to the markets and bought a big box of carb-free goodness jam-packed with fruit, veges and meat. I had a whole week’s menu planned and plenty of fruit so I could avoid carb-loaded snacks when grazing through my fridge and as a result I am having a love affair with strawberries.

It has been testing at times but I find myself filling the carb void in my stomach with salads, salads and more salads. For the first week I thought I was always hungry, but then realised that the foreign sensation I was feeling was  actually satisfaction. I am so used to my usual piggy state of being completely stuffed with really tight pants….. I must say after the initial shock it is actually a good feeling!

Alcohol on the other hand has been a struggle, not because I having alcoholic type withdrawals but I feel completely over the hill going to bed at 10pm on a Saturday night. But, although my weeks haven’t been brimming with excitement, they have allowed me to generate a LOT of enthusiasm, and money for my next night time adventure….

So, the results of this stage so far:

Mind: It feels functional, I can’t guarantee productive but much better than when I was without meat!

Body: I have lost 2.5kg without carbs (I am sure no booze has also contributed) but I have a feeling I might gain double what  I have lost when I get back on the carb band wagon.

Bank: Home cooking has helped but I think the no cabs, credit cards over the bar and cocktail has been the main cause of my piggy bank feeling a lot fuller.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

This week has been tough and I fear I may have only conquered the easy part of the Porkless Pig Challenge. I have undoubtedly eaten more seafood over the past week than I have this whole year combined. Although I have treated myself to plenty of prawns, smoked salmon and calamari but they are just a casual fling I am having to help ease the emotional pain caused by the breakup with my true loves…. ham and chips.

I have ham, bacon and steak on my mind all day long, it is a void in my life and stomach that no chickpea, mushroom or chunk of tofu can fill. After a tough day like the ones I have been having going meat-free I usually beeline to the closest 711 to take out my stress on some doritos – but I can’t eat them either! I would compare the past week’s turmoil to breaking up with a boyfriend the same week your best friend dies….. perhaps not that extreme but you get the jist.

On wednesday I was treated to a Sake Master Class at Wagamama (details to come) and after a few sakes on an empty stomach I momentarily got carried away in the moment and ate a chicken gyoza. So, according to my terms and conditions I will now be subjected to another full day with no meat or chips thanks to one (very tasty) chicken gyoza……..

But it’s not all bad, I have enjoyed some delicious and different food over the past week but I must admit I am getting over eating sushi and I am not even at the half way point, not even close. You’d think that when I pig stops eating pig you’d get some results but my statistics so far are underwhelming.

Mind: I feel like the crazy cat lady… but with no cats. People usher their children away from me in Coles when I am standing there sobbing while staring at the Samboys.

Body: I am constantly hungry and seem to be replacing meat with carbs and cheese – from what I hear that isn’t conducive to a Miranda Kerr body.

Bank: Cooking with chickpeas instead of chicken is cheap, but when eating out seafood isn’t cheap, so…. no difference.

All-in-all I am struggling to stay motivated to continue not eating meat and chips for another 2 WEEKS! I will reluctantly persevere with this challenge to prove to my porky self I can do it, wish me luck!

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Only in Bondi can a restaurant get away with being “hip” when they serve their water from an old industrial sized fish sauce bottle. Thankfully the water tasted nothing like fish and the food didn’t disappoint either… nor did the cocktails.

I don’t know why but bloody mary’s always seem to taste better when they’re served with a mini umbrella – it was perfectly spiced with a lemony tang and a tasty prelude for the delicious dumplings to follow.

The “net” prawn and crab spring rolls were delicate and delicious. The perfectly prepared prawn dumplings were a favourite, as were the Shanghai pork. But the highlight for me was the duck pancakes – crispy skin and tender meat quacked perfectly together in the the pancake with hoisin sauce and shallots.

It is no wonder Miss Chu’s popularity is spreading like swine flu – this new Bondi location is perfect for a post-beach snack or pre-drink dine on dumplings but the main meals were as impressive as the service – not completely bad, but nothing to write home about either.

The Bitter: The staff were friendly but perhaps not to each other because our orders didn’t make the kitchen…. twice.
The Sweet: A night time take on yum cha and endless soy sauce puts a smile on this pig’s snout.
The damage: Moderate – cocktail, wine and shed loads of food for about $50 per pig.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.


Miss Chu Bondi Tuckshop – 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi – 02 9365 7762 – www.misschu.com.au

Anouk on Urbanspoon