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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ (for cheap!) at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House, Parramatta

Cheap all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney

There are two golden rules for any all-you-can-eat: wear loose clothing, and arrive hungry. You’ll face instant regret if you don’t do both when you rock up to Charcoal Mine, said to be Australia’s first all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurant.

Korean barbecue smoke ventilators at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Overhead barbecue smoke ventilators

The fact they opened over 20 years ago goes some way in explaining the dated but perfectly functional décor. The room full of Korean families, students and couples don’t care though. Let’s face it. Everybody’s focus is on the self-serve buffet. Hit it hard.

All-you-can-eat Korean barbecue station at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Buffet island

All-you-can-eat Korean barbecue meats at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Time to gather all the meats

All-you-can-eat Korean marinated pork and chicken at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Marinated pork and chicken

You'll be in protein central with meats that run from marinated scotch fillet to spicy bacon strips, chicken wings and pork sausages. Seafood choices include mussels, octopus and squid. The more adventurous will venture towards kidney, intestine, giblet and liver territory. Leave your vegetarian mates at home unless they’re happy to binge on kimchi and lettuce leaves.

Cooking all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Meat on charcoal. Oh yeah.

Load up, head back to your table and resist the urge to throw everything on the charcoal barbecue. Yep, you’ll have to cook your own meat but trust us, it’s a cinch. Plus there are few things more satisfying than transferring succulent meat straight off the barbie and into your mouth. Plus, the charcoal really makes a difference, adding a smokier flavour to your sizzle meats. Most other Korean barbecue joints use cheaper – and less flavoursome – gas.

Cooked Korean barbecue meats at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Cooked in a flash

The buffet selection isn’t huge but neither is the price tag. You’ll pay $35-$37 for dinner, depending on which night you dine, or binge at lunch for maximum value when the price drops to $28. Bargain!

Lettuce wraps and fresh watermelon and oranges at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Lettuce wraps and fresh watermelon and oranges

Don’t forget to create your own dipping sauces using gochujang chilli paste, ssamjang barbecue paste, sesame oil and soy. Help yourself to a bowl of steamed rice and make like a local, wrapping up your freshly barbecued meats in crisp iceberg lettuce leaves with a little bit of rice and a smear of ssamjang.

Fresh watermelon and orange wedges make for a sweet and refreshing dessert – or mid-meal palate cleanser. They have an alcohol license too, so you can barbie on up with a beer by your side. Maaate.

Korean barbecue at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Fellow diners showing us how it's done with the lettuce wraps

Korean barbecue tables at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney
Dining tables with inset barbecue grills

Cheap Sydney all-you-can-eat Korean bbq at Charcoal Mine Barbecue House in Parramatta Sydney


Charcoal Mine BBQ House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charcoal Mine Barbecue House
454 Church Street, North Parramatta, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9630 3299 or +61 (02) 9630 4401

Opening hours
Monday 12pm-3pm, 5pm-11pm
Tuesday 5pm-11pm
Wednesday to Sunday 12pm-3pm, 5pm-11pm

This article first appeared in Time Out Sydney. Read this article online or read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews.
3 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/15/2018 06:07:00 pm


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

8bit Burgers, Steam Mill Lane, Sydney

1 Up mushroom burger and Golden Axe chicken burger from 8bit at Steam Mill Lane Sydney

Double Dragon. Golden Axe. Zelda. Your favourite video game-inspired burgers have landed in Sydney. Melbourne burger barons, 8bit, opened their fourth outlet in Steam Mill Lane, the new food precinct at Darling Square (that's the new development where the Entertainment Centre once stood).

8bit order counter at Steam Mill Lane Sydney.
Order counter

8bit sits on the corner of Steam Mill Lane and Tumbalong Boulevard. Gleaming white tiles and splashes of primary colours create a cheerful vibe. The only thing that seems to be missing are the 8bit cartoon characters made from plastic beads.

8bit dining area at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
Dining area with multigame arcade machines

But they haven't forgotten the arcade games. On the back wall of the dining area you'll find two multicade machines so you can reenact all your favourite video game moves.

Golden Axe fried chicken burger by 8bit at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
Golden Axe $12
Crispy fried chicken burger

The menu follows the Melbourne set-up: burgers, hot dogs, onion rings and variations on fries and potato gems. Milkshakes will set you back $8. Free self-serve water is a welcome gesture at this end of town.

Golden Axe fried chicken burger cross-section by 8bit at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
Golden Axe cross-section
Crispy fried chicken, cheese, sriracha mayo and slaw

The Golden Axe crispy fried chicken burger is a tad paltry (heh) in the protein arena, with the chicken fillet far from covering the diameter of the bun. It feels like there's more slaw than chicken here which is a shame.

1 Up mushroom burger by 8bit at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
1 Up Mushroom Burger $11



The 1 Up mushroom burger is much more satisfying, a portobello mushroom crumbed and deep-fried.

1 Up mushroom burger cross-section by 8bit at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
1 Up Mushroom Burger cross-section
Crumbed mushroom, cheese, tomato, red onion, green tomato relish, lettuce, mustard and 8bit sauce

There's quite a dense layer of bread-crumb batter around the mushroom. It might feel like an artificial inflation of filling, but the batter does yield a noticeable crunch. The mushroom isn't soggy with oil either which is always a win.

8bit with cheese burger at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
8bit with cheese $10.50


And of course we had to hit up the classic 8bit with cheese.

8bit with cheese burger cross-section at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
8bit with cheese cross-section
Beef, tomato, lettuce, red onion, pickles, mustard, cheese, ketchup, 8bit sauce

The menu does indicate that all patties are cooked medium but ours is pretty much well done, negating some of the patty juiciness we were expecting. The zingy pickle and mustard saves the day.

8bit with cheese burger and potato gems at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
Potato gems $5
8bit with cheese $10.50

We stick with plain potato gems on the side but you can go full hog by loading them (or fries) with chilli beef, cheese, bacon and pickle relish. You can also get your fries with cheese and bacon or chilli cheese.

The potato gems are great on their own though, fried to a crunch that holds for an hour (we struggled to eat all of the above between two ambitious females).

8bit burgers on the pass at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
Burgers up on the pass

What else is happening at Steam Mill Lane? Belle's Hot Chicken is already trading with Marrickville Pork Roll, Gyradiko and Matcha-Ya (all things matcha!) set to open soon. I can't wait.

Multicade machines at 8bit at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
Multicade machines

8bit Burger entrance at Steam Mill Lane Sydney
8bit entrance

8bit Burgers at Steam Mill Lane Sydney


8bit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8bit
Darling Square
51 Tumbalong Boulevard, Haymarket, Sydney

Opening hours
Daily 11am-11pm


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5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/08/2018 01:31:00 am


Sunday, April 29, 2018

La Rosa The Strand, Sydney

Spit-roasted porchetta at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney

Forget the cheese trolley. Forget the dessert trolley. The porchetta trolley reigns supreme. It's wheeled through the dining room at La Rosa with sombre ceremony. Did everybody's heart skip at beat at the sight of the golden crackling, or was it just mine? I bet yours did too.

Dining room at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Dining room

Porchetta might be the flashy star of the show at La Rosa but the menu, which focusses on Roman cusine, has plenty of other equally tasty contenders. It's a little less formal (and less expensive) than sister restaurant, Pendolino, but still date night-worthy with crisp white tablecloths and attentive table service.

Spaghettoni with stinging nettle puree at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Spaghettoni with stinging nettle puree, hazelnut and pecorino $19

The pastas are all handmade inhouse. We toy between the capellini with chicken and rosemary, ricotta ravioli and rye flour bucatini with prawns before settling on the spaghettoni with stinging nettle puree.

It's a pretty dish, not dissimilar to pesto in appearance, although the work involved in removing the nettle stings is far more significant. The pasta has a great textural chew. The only thing missing is a splash more olive oil.

Pork and veal lasagne at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Lasagne al fondo e finferli  $39.75
Pork and White Rock's veal lasagne with truffled chantarelle fondo bruno

For maximum richness, it's hard to go past the pork and veal lasagne. It's down the more expensive end of the menu at $39.75 but it's such a heavy dish, you'll probably want to share. The truffled chanterelle isn't really necessary but the white sauce. The melting puddle of cheese. The hearty meatiness. It's everything you want in a lasagna, enveloped between silky sheets of slippery pasta perfection.

Pizza bianco with zucchini flowers and lardo at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Fior e lardo Roman pizza $25.50
Pizza bianco, zucchini flowers, mozzarella, pecorino and lardo

Roman pizza? It differs from Neapolitan pizza with the inclusion of olive oil in the dough. This makes for a slightly stronger base that isn't quite as floppy as Neapolitan pizza. Ours is strewn with zucchini flowers, mozzarella and pecorino and shavings of luscious melting lardo.

Porchetta on a trolley at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Porchetta Castelli Romani

The porchetta is a thing of beauty, wheeled out on a trolley like a Roman god, complete with regal wreath. There are only four servings of this a day. We're the first customers to nab a portion.

Volcan rock spit roast porchetta at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Volcanic rock spit roast Golden Plains Ariccia-style porchetta with two sides $55

The porchetta is cooked spit roast-style over volcanic rocks. The flesh is super tender, encased in a perfectly bubbled sheath of golden crackling.

Green beans with burnt butter and toasted almonds at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Fagiolini (normally $14.50 but included with our porchetta)
Steamed green beans with burnt butter, toasted almonds and garlic

Two sides accompany our porchetta. We love the crunch of steamed green beans, amped up with burnt butter, garlic and toasted almonds.

Potatoes with rosemary, garlic and pork crackling at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Patata fritte (normally $14.50 but included with our porchetta)
Potatoes, rosemary, garlic and pork crackling

The fried potatoes are also a treat, a bowlful of crunch with garnished of deep fried garlic chips as well as pork crackling.

Porchetta crackling at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Dat crackling

Porchetta, pasta and pizza at La Rosa The Strand in Sydney
Buon appetito

We didn't have room for dessert but will definitely have to return for the zeppola potato doughnuts!

La Rosa The Strand by Pendolino in Sydney


La Rosa The Strand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Rosa The Strand
The Strand Arcade
Level 2, 133/193 Pitt Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9223 1674

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 12pm-l1pm
5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/29/2018 05:03:00 pm


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

All-you-can-eat crab at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's, Haymarket Sydney

Crab fried rice at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney

All-you-can-eat crab for less than forty bucks. You read that right. Where? It's on at Yok Sod Thai, the eatery housed within the ground floor bar at Mr B's on the corner of Pitt and Goulburn Streets.

All-you-can-eat crab festival menu at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab menu


The crab festival, which runs only during crab season, features ten dishes starring blue swimmer crab. Order them a la carte (most are $19.90 each) or arrive hungry and hand over $39.90 for all-you-can-eat. You know what we did.

Bring your own gloves for the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Pro-level - bring your own gloves

It's my first time at this crab fest. For three of my fellow diners, this was not their first rodeo, which is why the G-Man offered to bring everyone a set of disposable gloves...

Um. GENIUS. Do not underestimate this vital step. This is hella messy eating without the niceties of finger bowls or wet wipes. They will provide you with nut crackers and serviettes.

Gloves mean that we attack the crab with wild abandon. Wear dark clothing. Crab shells, crab flesh and sauce will end up in your lap, all over your shirt and in your hair. But maybe that was just me.

Steamed crab at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Steamed crab 

Your table will have 90 minutes in which to order as much as you can eat. Be warned that staff will inspect your dishes at the end to make sure you've sufficiently eaten the crab ordered. If you haven't, you're liable to pay a wastage fee. Your ordering end time will be marked on your table.

The best value dish is the steamed crab. That's two whole blue swimmer crabs with a dish of chilli sauce for dipping. This is the most expensive dish to order a la carte at $25.90. Every other dish features just one crab and is $19.90.

Crab omelette at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab omelette

The crab omelette is the only dish where the crab picking has been done for you. This was so popular, we end up ordering two omelettes.

Raw crab salad at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Raw crab salad

Does the idea of raw crab freak you out? It shouldn't. Like any dish, there's nothing to hide behind when food is served raw. I find the raw crab has the plumpest flesh of all the dishes. It is also incredibly sweet.

If you love raw scampi, this will be right up your alley. The raw crab salad was my favourite dish of the night.

Som tum crab at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Som tum crab 

You can also order som tum crab, raw crab served with a fiery papaya salad. We weren't asked what chilli level we wanted but staff must've presumed "fire of a thousand suns". Try and ask for mild or otherwise enjoy the hallucinations.

Crab curry sauce at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab curry sauce

You'll want to go in a minimum group size of four people so you can try a variety of dishes. The crab curry sauce is sweeter than you'd probably expect, but terrifically fragrant with fresh curry leaves. 

Black pepper crab at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Stir fried crab in black pepper sauce

The black pepper crab featured a whole heap of green capsicums in the photo so we're pleased to find it arrive vegetable-free. We're focussed purely on value-for-money here. The black pepper sauce is a little on the oily side but I'll confess I'm not usually a fan of black pepper crab anyway.

Crab tom yum creamy at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab tom yum creamy

Crab tom yum creamy comes with a rich coconut broth that's reminiscent of tom kha gai. There are no noodles in this dish, unlike the crab tom yum.

Crab tom yum noodle at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab tom yum noodle

If that crab tom yum noodle reminds you of Do Dee Paidang, that's because Yok Sod is its sister restaurant. Here it's a massive serving. Staff suggest it's designed for four people to share.

Fresh rice noodle in the crab tom yum soup at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Fresh rice noodle in the crab tom yum soup

The soup is that familiar addictive combination of spicy, sour, sweet and salty, filled with a huddle of chewy fresh noodles, deep fried wonton wrappers for crunch and a whole crab just waiting to be eaten.

We demolish the bowl with such speed that our table of five debates loudly before we agree to order another one. Even the waitress raises one eyebrow at our appetite. That tom yum soup is laced with crack.

Crab fried rice at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab fried rice

The surprise of the night? The crab fried rice. I'll admit I tried to stop this order happening. Too many carbs. It's just rice. How good could it be?

How wrong was I. The fried rice is seriously amazing, with just the right amount of fluffiness and seasoning. I declared I'd only have one spoonful for tasting purposes. Then I had three. Or four.

End result? We finished 13 dishes between five people. And I don't even want to think about my cholesterol levels.

The Yok Sod crab festival menu is available Monday to Friday from 4pm for walk-ins only. Arrive early as the crab tends to run out by 7pm. The festival will finish with the end of crab season which is expected to be April 30, 2018.


Yok Sod - Mr B's Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yok Sod Thai
Ground floor, Mr B's Hotel
396 Pitt Street, Haymarket, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8080 7777

Opening hours
Daily 11.30am-1.30am


Related Grab Your Fork posts
Do Dee Paidang, Haymarket

4 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/17/2018 02:15:00 am



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