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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Newtown food tour


Is there a greater adventure than one that revolves around food?

We set off on a Newtown food tour today, a group of food bloggers led by Newtown local John. Food lovers are naturally treasure troves of information, and the mutual sharing of knowledge when it comes to a cuisine or a suburb is always rewarding and inspiring. I still remember the first food tour - an Indian spice tour of Strathfield and Homebush - I did with fellow food bloggers in 2005, and how much fun it was to food shop with someone in-the-know.

Today we are trailing behind John, stopping at various spots around Newtown. Over six hours we will pound the pavement on a gorgeously sunny winter's day, looking, smelling, touching, shopping and most importantly, eating.

Eveleigh Markets

Organic broccoli from Kurrawong Organics

We start at Eveleigh Markets, only a ten minute walk from Redfern station and buzzing with a mingling mass of kids, dogs, families and couples. I love the abundance of fresh produce stalls here, and stallholders are always happy to have a chinwag with customers.

dutch carrots
Dutch carrots from Kurrawong Organics

kylie kwong
Kylie Kwong at her Billy Kwong stall
selling steamed pork wontons, steamed savoury pancakes and Fairtrade organic green tea

ox heart tomatoes
Ox heart tomatoes $14/kg
from Sorbello Family Fresh Produce

zebra tomatoes
Mixed zebra tomatoes $15/kg
from Sorbello Family Fresh Produce

cavalo nero
Cavalo nero (Tuscan cabbage)

Chocolates from Gumnut Chocolates

Ros from Gumnut Chocolates notices the swarm of cameras and we tell her, no, we are not from a photography club but food bloggers. She beams as she pronounces "We love food bloggers!" and promptly accommodates our request to lift the glass lid over her chocolates to enable a better photo.

Biscotti from Gumnut Chocolates

Fresh vegetables

spunta potatoes
Spunta potatoes

desiree potatoes
Desiree potatoes

cima di rapa
Cime di rapa from Champions Mountain Organics

Cime di rapa is also known as broccoletti, and is best treated like spinach - sauteed with garlic to appreciate its nutty and bitter flavour. Stallholder, The Pierogi Princess, tells me this is always hugely popular, and customers will often ask when it is next available.

smoked pork trotters
Pork trotters from Eumundi Smokehouse

Shepherd's Bakehouse
Customers and bread at Shepherd's Bakehouse

chocolate meringues
Chocolate-drizzled meringues at BirdCowFish

A quick hi to Minh Ai who recognised me at the markets and thanks also to Suze's mum who gave me a free bag of chocolate hazelnut biscotti from The Biscuit Tree (it was crunchy, sweet and addictive).

Strawberry, rose and watermelon cake $6

With ex-Claude's pastry chef Christopher Thé in the kitchen, the cosy confines of Black Star Pastry is packed to the gill with delicious treats. We amble the back streets from Eveleigh Markets and take about ten minutes to reach the main strip of Newtown. We reach Black Star and join the queue that runs out the door, finally emerging with a box of desserts we share between us.

They are all delicate and beautifully presented, but the strawberry, rose and watermelon cake is the group winner, almond dacquioise layered with thin slices of refreshing watermelon and garnished with ruby red strawberries.

strawberry and watermelon cake
Persian fig, quince and orange cake $4

lemon meringue
Lemon meringue and basil cream $6

black star pastry
Chocolate caramel tart $5

Pastizzi Cafe

pastizzi cafe
Pastizzi cafe

We continue on to the south end of King Street, the area where I'm happiest in Newtown. Wandering the haphazard collection of restaurants and shops here is far more interesting, I find, than the shiny cafes and modern fit outs on the other side of the train station.

pastizzi cafe

Here you will find Pastizzi Cafe, a buzzy spot filled with locals. As the name suggests, it's all about the pastizzi, super flaky pastries that hold a range of 12 savoury fillings and 3 sweet fillings.

savoury pastizzi
Savoury pastizzi $1.80 each

We order one of every savoury pastizz on offer, a selection that includes fetta and ricotta; meat and curry; empanada; spinach and ricotta; peas; and vegetable curry. My favourite is the fetta and ricotta which has a pleasing sharpness to the cheese.

sweet pastizzi
Apple pastizzi and chocolate + ricotta pastizzi $1.80 each

The sweet pastizzi emerge in the next baking run, warm from the oven and dusted seductively with icing sugar. The apple pastizz is filled with fat chunks of fresh apple, and the chocolate ricotta mixture is crumbly and generously chocolatey.

flat white coffee
Flat white

chocolate and ricotta pastizzi
Chocolate and ricotta pastizzi

You know a pastizz is good when it makes an earth-shattering crunch at first bite, and leaves a trail of crumbs with every mouthful.

Fiji Market


Further down the road you will find Fiji Market, an emporium that will enfold you in a thick cloud of heady spices as soon as you step over the threshold. You'll find everything you need for your next curry here, from bags of cardamom pods and pink peppercorns to sacks of lentils and chick pea flour.

indian five spice mix
Panch phoran Indian five spice mix

Loiter the aisles and take your time to explore everything on offer. There are incense sticks, mukhwaas Indian mouth fresheners, blue poppy seeds, boxes of masala chai powder and hefty blocks of Himalayan rock salt the size of small boulders.

Himalayan rock salt

coconut grater
Coconut grater $20



pinni laddoo
Pinni Laddoo

Directly across the road from Fiji Market is Vinayak. It's a more compact Indian grocery store, and some of us are deeply fascinated by the discovery of a giant wok and pot for sale in the back room.

The front of the shop is likely to hold most of your attention though, a plethora of sugary delights supplied by Maya Sweets. There are also golden fried samosas and a refrigerated cabinet of homemade curries.

Indian sweets
Indian sweets

We exit with a paper bag of burfi, jelebi and laddoo, each of them deliriously sweet and sticky. I always find the coils of bright orange jelebi have a lingering oiliness but John revels in their syrup-soaked decadence. I prefer the burfi, dense fudge-like slices made with milk powder and luxuriously decorated with sheets of edible silver foil.

After a false start with both Europa Grill and Kammadhenu on King Street south - both of which are closing or closed for lunch - we end up at Kammadhenu on King Street north for lunch. It's a bonanza of string hoppers and dosai and goat curry and more - due to the length of this entry, photos will come in a separate post.


bitter dark chocolate gelato
Bitter dark chocolate gelato $3.50

With tongues a-tingling from our lunch of curry, a final stop at Gelatomassi is mandatory. They're famous for their incredibly intense pistachio gelato but there's always a whole gamut of flavours to choose from. Today there is apple crumble, cherry ripple, cinnamon, roasted almond, blood orange, chocolate mud cake and more.

I can't resist the bitter dark chocolate, a glossy concoction that is as black as mud, and gloriously rich with cocoa.

We have heavy bags, sore feet and full bellies. A successful day indeed.

243 Wilson Street, Darlington, Sydney
(near the corner of Codrington Street)
Open every Saturday 8am-1pm
The markets are about a seven-minute walk from Redfern station

Black Star Pastry
227 Australia Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9557 8656
Opening hours
Tues-Sun 7am – 5pm

Pastizzi Cafe
523 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9519 1063
Opening hours
Open 7 days 7am-11pm

Fiji Market
591 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9517 2054
Opening hours
Open 7 days 9.30am-7pm

Vinayak Music, Video and Spices
642A King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9550 6681
Opening hours
Open 7 days 9.30am - 8pm

377A King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9557 2186
Opening hours
Monday to Friday 5pm - late
Saturday and Sunday 11.30am - late

262 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9516 0655
Opening hours
Monday and Tuesday 4.30pm-11.30pm
Wednesday to Sunday 10am - midnight

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Ashfield food tour
Auburn food tour 1 and 2
Bankstown food tour
Cabramatta food tour with Luke Nguyen
Chinatown food tour
Strathfield and Homebush spice food tour

Pastizzi Cafe on Urbanspoon
Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon
31 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/01/2010 02:16:00 am


  • At 8/01/2010 8:52 am, Blogger Maria said…

    Great to have you along! Newtown surely has some character hey!

  • At 8/01/2010 9:06 am, Anonymous Min Ai said…

    So nice to meet you yesterday Helen and thanks for the mention on your post! :) Love the rest of your Newtown food tour post. Must make a trip there and visit Black Star Pastry in particular.. nom nom!

  • At 8/01/2010 9:22 am, Anonymous tqd said…

    Oh, I love Gelatomassi! It's a must-stop every time we have dinner on King St.

    You can also get the pastizzi from the Pastizzi Cafe frozen in big takeaway bags, and just reheat them at home. I've done that for parties, and they work well! Must try the chocolate ones next time...

  • At 8/01/2010 9:32 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Hi Helen!

    I love reading your blog. I'm from Malta and was very interested to see pastizzi mentioned. Pastizzi are a maltese invention and very popular here, sold mostly as street-food. Here however they come in only 2 varieties, both of them savoury: ricotta and peas. Sweet pastizi are unheard of! Ah and by the way, pastizzi is plural, one is a pastizz:)

  • At 8/01/2010 10:16 am, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    Great review Helen! And lovely photos as per usual. Oh boy what a day it was! My little feet are still a little sore from all the walking (my fault for wearing my new shoes though). It was all so good it's hard to pick a highlight of the day.

  • At 8/01/2010 11:00 am, Blogger Unknown said…


    Gelatomassi is always a must-eat whenever you go to Newtown and it's interesting your local didn't take you to one of the 123894 Thai restaurants..

    Black Star Pastry looks gorgeous!

  • At 8/01/2010 11:53 am, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Yeah I agree with Margaret. It feels odd not seeing one Thai restaurant in a Newtown tour :P

    But thanks for sharing with us. The inner west remains a mystery to me esp Newtown (well, except for gelato!). Can't wait to check out the Kammadhenu post (why do I ALWAYS read that as Kathmandu?).

  • At 8/01/2010 12:06 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oh, I'd love to try that Lemon Meringe and Basil Cream pastry! I love the use of "savoury" herbs in sweet things :)

    And oh my god, that gelato! Maybe I should stop thinking that no gelato will compare to what I had in Florence... ;) What I wouldn't give for a scoop each of the cinnamon and pistachio!

  • At 8/01/2010 12:08 pm, Blogger Anna (Morsels and Musings) said…

    nice to see you visit my 'hood'. i can tell you living across the street from fiji markets is fantastic!

  • At 8/01/2010 1:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The desserts are cute!

  • At 8/01/2010 1:34 pm, Blogger missklicious said…

    This looks like so much fun - and I love the Eveleigh markets!

  • At 8/01/2010 2:15 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Friends bought me a full-sized watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry around a year ago and it's the cake that we keep talking about, even now.

    And that has got to be the darkest, most intense-looking chocolate gelato I have ever seen!

  • At 8/01/2010 4:24 pm, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Lol at the comments about this local not taking you guys to one of the Thai places. Perhaps it's because I go elsewhere for more authentic Thai food.
    Thanks for a great day Helen. Next time you need to come and have a whole piece of that watermelon pastry all for yourself!

  • At 8/01/2010 5:47 pm, Anonymous Mrs Pig Flyin' said…

    My green grocer only sells his home grown cime di rapa to his loyal Italian customers and I have to beg for 10 min every time I want some, now I know where else to go :)

    K has bought me pastries from Black Star, they all look and taste so good. I especially like their canelé, slightly burnt crust with soft eggy center, I think you will love them too.

    Didn't realize all these places are close to each other, time for me to do a tour soon.

  • At 8/01/2010 11:39 pm, Anonymous mr shawn said…

    As a resident of the area I must commend your choice of venues - spot on, nice post :-)

  • At 8/02/2010 7:36 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    damn that is one huge pile of meringues mmm sugar high. on behalf of my mother: *waves*

  • At 8/02/2010 9:55 am, Anonymous Rhonda (thedaintybaker) said…

    *shrieks* Pastizzis! love love love them!! ... gosh those markets look like a must visit ...thanks for the visual tour!

  • At 8/02/2010 10:57 am, Anonymous KFC so good said…

    Glad they sell Cime di Rape in E. Market. It adds such a pleasant bitterness to dishes. It seems like a oxymoron but I guess that's why the italian mama's likes them and green grocer hide them.

    Really enjoy your food tour type post! keep them coming.

  • At 8/02/2010 3:35 pm, Anonymous Dolly said…

    def. going to newtown for

    Strawberry, rose and watermelon cake $6

    looks devine!

    ohhh kylie kwong, she went to my highschool hahaaaaa

    is that the pastizzi cafe which was on food safari ?>

  • At 8/02/2010 6:13 pm, Blogger Anna said…

    What a great looking tour. I love the concept of a food tour on foot. I think I'd be less inclined to feel bad about about the amount I was eating if I were walking from one destination to another! haha :)

  • At 8/02/2010 10:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Omg those meringues! and mmm pork trotters/smokehouse reminds me of tw. I still have to try black stay gingerbread ninja and gelatomassi! Too much to try arrghhh

  • At 8/03/2010 10:34 am, Anonymous Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said…

    So much delicious food.. oh wait is that Billy? Oh, nope, it's just Kylie...

  • At 8/03/2010 4:35 pm, Anonymous Pocahontas said…

    Oi ya Ausgutso!
    Loved the post on Newtown, there are way too many beauty spots in Newtown! We'd be here all day shouting over each other recommending places to go! Us inner westies (May I emphasize INNER) are way too spoilt for choices! You must definitely revisit Paitizzi Cafe. Keep your eyes out for the "Pastizzi God" lol & a must have is their Spaghetti meatballs, on their specials.

  • At 8/03/2010 5:54 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Maria - It was a great day for an adventure and yes, Newtown does have character, and characters! lol

    Hi Min Ai - lol. I'm always surprised when people recognise me. It was a pleasure to meet you too and you definitey need to check out Black Star Pastry!

    Hi tqd - Gelatomassi is great. I was addicted to their pistachio gelato for a long time!

    And yes, the takeaway bags of frozen pastizzi did look tempting!

    Hi Charlotte - I didn't realise that ricotta and peas were the two sole flavours of pastizzi in Malta. And ha, it doesn't surprise me that sweet pastizzi are a new invention. Thanks for the correction on pastizzi vs pastizz. Duly corrected :)

    Hi Angie - You wore new shoes? Oh dear. I wore comfy shoes and was still suffering. I also had a nanna nap when I got home. Too much good food and sunshine!

    Hi Margaret - lol. Who knew that pastizzi could incite such hyperactive joy? And haha, re: the Thai restaurant jibe. It's Thainatown for me.

    ps. You must go to Black Star!

    Hi Karen - lol. It was about the highlights of Newtown, and I find the Thai restaurants around Goulburn/Pitt St (aka Thainatown) much more rewarding.

    How can Newtown be a mystery to you. This must be rectified. Immediately!

    Hi Hannah - It is interesting how we associate so many things as either sweet or savoury when really imagination should be the only barrier. I find basil works fantastically in many desserts.

    I did try a small taste of the cinnamon but couldn't resist the intensity of bitter dark chocolate!

    Hi Anna - Lucky you! It was lovely to spend a whole day in Newtown, particularly on King Street south.

  • At 8/03/2010 6:00 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi WyYv - They were cute, AND tasty! :)

    Hi missklicious - The Eveleigh markets are always fun, and so many amazing photos begging to be taken!

    Hi Mademoiselle delicieuse - I've been dying to try the watermelon cake. A birthday cake sized version sounds ideal. For one. haha

    The gelato was amazing.

    Hi John - Haha, I agree, there is much better Thai food to be found elsewhere. And yes, I think I might have to get me more of that watermelon cake!

    Hi Mrs Pig Flyin - Ooh I didn't know you guys were such fans of cime di rapa but then I'm not surprised either.

    Black Star have cannele? omg that's my favourite pastry in the world! Must investigate asap.

    Hi mr shawn - lol. I'm glad you approve :)

    Hi chocolatesuze - Ha the meringues were HUGE. And it was lovely to catch up with your mum. And score free bikkies to.

    Hi Rhonda - Another pastizzi fan. These were fantastic :)

    Hi KFC so good - I'll have to pick up some cime de rapa next time. Glad you enjoyed the post :)

    Hi Dolly - lol. That's awesome that Kylie went to your high school :) I'm not sure re: Food Safari. It should mention it on the website?

    Hi Ladybird - Haha exactly! I'm sure we walked all of it off. Oh yes. Definitely. lol

    Hi FFichiban - I still haven't tried the ginger ninjas either. Gelatomassi is fab.

    Hi Forager - haha, love it!

    Hi Pocahontas - I was intrigued by the pasta dishes at Pastizzi Cafe. I do like meatballs :)

  • At 8/04/2010 7:33 am, Anonymous Louise said…

    Wow. Great post. Sounds like you had a wonderful excursion. I used to live in South Newton about 20 years ago, so I remember the Fiji Market, and Pastizzi Cafe fondly. I'll have to revisit soon to find new delights such as Black Star Pastry and I definitely need to try that gelato. I'm so glad to have found your blog it's wonderful.

  • At 8/08/2010 12:08 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Very cool article, and very nice photos, perhaps dinesd you use a macro lent? nice choice of light as well.
    I enjoyed the macaroons a lot, looking forward for your next post.

    Articut from

    Simply tasty food.

  • At 8/08/2010 8:52 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Louise - Newtown seems to be constantly changing so I say it's definitely worth a revisit. Black Star Pastry is fantastic.

    Hi Mario Thanks. I don't use a macro lens, just a 50mm 1.4. There were lots of windows in the kitchen so natural light was in abundance, which was great :)

  • At 8/16/2010 2:54 am, Anonymous Vix said…

    Yey! More great things to try when I am back in Sydney in December. I went to school in Newtown and the food was quite good then, but looks like it has got a lot more to offer since 2001.

  • At 8/23/2010 12:43 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Vix - I'm sure you'll find that Sydney has changed a lot since you left - all in good ways!

  • At 11/03/2010 11:21 am, Anonymous Patricio said…

    Stumbled across this post as a Melburnian heading to Newtown this weekend.

    re: cime de rapa.

    It grows like a weed, I plant from seed regularly in a seed raising tray then transfer to garden for a constant supply of it.

    I toss through pasta with some pancetta, cherry tomatoes, garlic, xtra virgin OO and a little lemon.

    Va bene.


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