The hand bag stool - it's one of several new features at Becasse, which relocated from Clarence Street to Westfield Sydney last week. The idea came from head chef and owner, Justin North, who had noticed female diners at Becasse asking for a napkin to place on the floor to protect their handbags. Could there be any more reasons for women to swoon over Justin North?
We're here on a Westfield tour of the Stage 2 opening of food offerings on Level 5. The number of eateries on this floor has more than doubled since November last year, and Sydneysiders can't get enough of it. Forget the clothing stores downstairs - I'd rather wander around here and shop for my stomach.
Becasse dining room with willow-themed light fittings
We take a quick tour of Becasse, now a 24-seater with warm tones of chocolate brown, cream and plums. The tables are covered in ostrich skin and the exposed walls are heritage sandstone.
Justin North with the wall art that represents tastebud receptors on an enlarged tongue
The tastebud wall is an intriguing inclusion, incorporating all the colours in the room and allowing diners to view the action in the kitchen through the tastebud windows.
Justin also explains the meaning behind the name Quarter 21. Quarter relates to the four sections that make up Quarter 21: the restaurant, the cooking school, the bakery and the commercial caterer. The "21" refers to the alleged weight of the soul (21 grams) as it departs the body, as the concept of soul is embodied in the Quarter 21 philosophy ie feed the soul, cook for the soul, shop for the soul.
Breads and paninis abound at Mero Mero but we mostly have eyes for the desserts - and the macaron tower.
Phillip Blanco with his haute dogs at the Snag Stand
The Snag Stand is one of the most popular new stores, selling gourmet sausages and hotdogs with themed fillings. Fifteen varieties are available, including a chilli dog, American classic woodsmoked hotdog, South African boerewors and German bratwursts. The sausages are sourced from artisan butchers including Rodriguez Bros, AC Butchery, Rudi's, Brot & Wurst and Pino's.
[Bottom to top]: Pork & Fennel Italian on a toasted brioche roll,
Pie by Mick's Bakehouse
Mick's Bakehouse started out as a small bread shop in Leeton in 1990. Its meat pies have consistently won awards in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.
Today they run a wholesale operation in Wagga Wagga. This is the first Sydney retail outlet for their pies, and the range of fillings is staggering, including chicken, avocado and brie; Szechuan wagyu beef; Peking duck; butter chicken; and beef, prosciutto and blue cheese.
Mick's Bakehouse pies
We move onto Sabbba, the Bondi Junction favourite selling Israeli-style falafel and kebabs. They've also opened an outlet in Newtown.
Falafel with hummus and tahini
Baklava display case
Ragu Wine Bar
The Ragu Wine Bar is all kinds of fancy, offering Italian wines, cheeses, antipasto and freshly made pasta.
Ragu seating area
Din Tai Fung
Making dumplings at Din Tai Fung
The Din Tai Fung stall is the answer to your xiao long bao prayers. What's most impressive is that everything is still made by hand and on the premises, just like the World Square outlet.
Rolling out perfect circles of dough
Xiao long bao soup dumplings
The sushi conveyor belt at Sushi Hon is apparently the longest one in a shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, wrapping around three islands of seating.
Sushi bento box
Curries at Nine Mary's
Nine Mary's is an expansion of the successful Chutney Mary's and Nine Mary's in Perth, Western Australia.
Stuffed mushrooms and chicken tikka
Thai Riffic open kitchen
There's plenty of action in the open kitchen at Thai Riffic. The menu includes Thai noodle and rice dishes, or diners can mix-and-match their own combinations.
Thai Riffic dining area
Simon Goh at Sassy's Red
We finish up at Sassy's Red where we meet owner Simon Goh, who also runs Chinta Ria. Simon has recreated a nostalgic Malaysian kopitiam -- or coffee shop -- inside the food hall. It's been a hit with punters so far, and Simon says the demand for laksa and nasi lemak has been staggering.
Brown paper packaging for the mee goreng fried noodles
- the business card (bottom left) has been designed to look like movie tickets
Roti (we asked for sugar on ours)
Sago with coconut milk and gula melaka palm sugar syrup; and teh tarik pulled tea
Door and window shutters set in the ceiling
Simon just laughed when we asked him about the door and window shutters built in the ceiling above the cafe. "That's for you to find out!" he chuckled.
Chocolatesuze and Simon Goh modelling the Sassy's Red t-shirts
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Level 5 Food Stores
Corner of Pitt Street Mall and Market Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8236 9200
Monday to Wednesday 9.30am-6.30pm
Friday to Saturday 9.30am-6.30pm
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5/06/2011 03:39:00 am