Eastern European

Walsh Bay Kitchen

I’m surprised to find Braised Mushrooms Bibimbap ($24) on the menu at Walsh Bay Kitchen. With charred vegetables, pine nuts, brown rice and abundant slippery oyster mushrooms, it’s a bibimbap that warrants being eaten piecemeal, rather than mixed.

Indu

Tantalising glimpses of working chefs through a George Street window box; a well-dressed hostess highlighting the way into the basement off Angel Place… restaurateur Sam Prince sure knows how to generate excitement and intrigue. Switching out guacamole for Tableside Coconut Sambol ($14) and milk buns, Prince harnesses what he did for Mexican at Méjico to give South Indian a much-needed face-lift.

Bar Fly: The Soda Factory

Any bar that serves bourbon and Vanilla Cherry Coke floats, mac and cheese spring rolls and is hidden behind a phoney fifties Coke machine door is an instant winner in my books.

Surry Hills Eating House

Sujet Saenkham, owner of the ever-popular Spice I Am restaurants, has done it again. Just when you were starting to think you understood regional Thai food, he gives you a real taste of Southern Thai (complete with its Chinese, Malay and Indian influences) that leaves most of Sydney’s Thai restaurants for dead.

Make A Pig of Yourself

With the festival celebrating pigging out on chocolate mere days away, I thought it was high time I mentioned ethical chocolate. The two companies that scrub up best this Easter, in terms of their commitment to ending child labour; using ethical cocoa; and having a clear timetable to phasing out the use of any non-ethical cocoa in their Australian range, are Cocolo and Green & Blacks. If you are wedded to Cadbury (and I know many of you are), keep your eyes peeled for their Fairtrade Certified™ Cadbury® Dairy Milk™ egg. Since Cadbury haven’t committed to a timetable to end the use of unethical cocoa in their Australian products, it is important for us ethical foodies to show them that this is the only product of theirs we’ll consume.

My Summer Essentials

You know you’re at a cool gig (Andrew Weatherall) when you’re dancing next to some of Sydney’s best DJs – Paul ‘Drop Some Drums’ Mac & Seymour Butz - on one of the best sprung dance floors in town!

My Present Pickle

To combat my impending sense of doom, as Christmas lurches ever closer, my final foodie adventures for 2011 offer you some last minute gift ideas, immersed in a sea of drinks. I’d go so far as to say: I’ve found my Christmas spirit. *hic*

How The West Wasn’t Won

Being part of Australia’s ethical pork arena is about more than just empty promises. It’s about being accountable for the practices of every human being standing between the pigs in the paddock and your customer’s plate.

Food Society

While some might say that the only thing that can result from merging a catering business and restaurant is a crisis of identity, I found a certain appeal in this quirky Darlo lovechild. It's shabby chic, Poznań style - with overstuffed armchairs, kitsch cushions and proud Poles, like Darius Grygo, manning the floor.

October Eats

In a month brimming with dining offers, here are my picks: