Burnt Orange, Mosman

love getting spoilt, and on my birthday this year, two of my besties spoilt me rotten by taking me to Burnt Orange cafe in Mosman.

Located in the back of Mosman, as far away from Military road as you can get while still on land, making your way down the bush path; intuitively you know something special is waiting at the end.

How people first found out about Burnt Orange and then located it on a map I have no clue, but they definitely did. Looking around at my fellow diners, they’re young, they’re gorgeous, and there are a lot of them. Coming here on this particular Saturday morning; the sun is shining; the view is spectacular, and it’s a full house.

Formerly a residence, the beautiful plantation style house has been transformed into a restaurant/cafe serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea to its hungry guests. A multitude of white washed wooden tables are situated along the large, wrap around, wooden balcony; and the vine patterned cream and green wall paper emphasises the country manor feel. We could be ladies brunching in a bygone era.

We were lucky to secure a table In the sun and with a light breeze. It’s bliss.

All being self-proclaimed foodies, we had all studied the menu online, so ordering with the courteous waiter was a quick affair.

The pancakes with ricotta and strawberries ($16) were a delectable dish. Also coming with a bacon option, they were stacked three fluffy disks high, and they were very generous in size.

The fetta, tomato and mushroom toast ($15) was also delicious. A deceptively simple dish, the mushrooms were perfectly grilled and not at all greasy; and the herb infused feta was it’s star. Served with two massive pieces of sourdough, I was in heaven.

The only disappointment was the breakfast board ($19) – a very small dish, particularly in comparison to the size of the board on which it was served. The majority of the elements present were nice, but they just didn’t seem to go together. Most of this dish was left behind.

After eating, I discovered the fun wasn’t over. The entire two story house interior has been transformed into a boutique shop where one can purchase anything from handmade jewellery, clothing and blankets to decorative items and home wares. Expensive but gorgeous.

It was a great start to the weekend, and an even better start to a new year. Makes me it excited for what’s yet to come!

Rating: 9/10

Where: 1108/1109 Middle Head Road Mosman NSW.
Why: great location, food and shopping.
Cost: $15-$21
When: 7 days from 8.30am

Good for kids: Yes
Take away: No


Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant, Crows Nest

The newest in a restaurant chain, Bay Tinh is a gem of a restaurant, located on busy Falcon street in Crows Nest. The food served is Traditional Vietnamese with a modern twist. Worried we might not get in on a Saturday night, we made a booking. Probably wise as although it’s a large restaurant, it was very busy with only a few free tables. It’s made up of three dining areas: a small front section, an upstairs area for large groups, and past the kitchen is a third dining area which is where we found our table. White brick walls have been lined with a bamboo style mat covering. Wall arches around the room contain inset silk cushions or frescos of Vietnamese landscapes giving the room a plush and colorful vibe. Red lanterns dangling from the ceiling, and the real potted palms lining the back wall finish off the look and transport you overseas to Saigon.

The number of patrons here for a Saturday night feed suggests that a delicious dinner is coming. The only negative being so many people means a lot of noise, making conversation a touch difficult.

the great preamble

The menu has a ridiculous number of options. It is a multiple paged booklet, and I love the preamble on the first couple of pages describing the restaurant’s origins, and the instructions on how guests should order. Individual dishes are a no no. Sharing Is a must. It’s a good thing too, because I want to try everything, and this way I get to taste few of the taste buds tempting options.

inside the bonfire, a house specialty.

With so many unique items on the menu, this is not a place to play it safe. Items like pork stuffed whole calamari and caramelised, claypot salmon are tempting; but we decided to order the seafood and vegetable soup $30, bonfire prawns and beef $28 and the quarter (Also served as a half) of deboned chicken stuffed with prawn mince, served with plum sauce $18.50.

the big communal soup pot

The service was excellent. Courteous, efficient and friendly. Napkins were placed on laps, water poured, and dishes served so fast there was no time to think ‘I’m hungry.’ The first course, seafood soup was placed on the table in a large communal pot and then served for us in to our individual bowls. It didn’t disappoint. This dish is hot, full of flavour, with the right amount of salt and chock full of seafood and fresh veggies. Perfect to warm you up on a drizzly night.

Bonfire beef and prawn

The second course was a house specialty, beef and prawn bonfire, one of the four meat options available. A pot of meat was placed on the table next to a large plate of stir-fry cut vegetables, and then the pot was set on fire. The waitress told us to wait a few minutes, and then departed with the promise to return to show us what to do. Thankfully, 10 minutes later she did. First came the rice paper disk. On it the fresh vegetables were placed, and then a small pile of the beef and prawn mixture before a drizzle of spicy peanut sauce. The whole concoction was then rolled. The trick, not to put too much filling in. It was delicious. Light, fresh and enough spice to leave a tingle in the mouth.

the assembly process


Our final dish, the boneless chicken quarter was also a house specialty, and it was a great way to end the meal. The chicken was sweet and tender, and was presented as a delectable fan drizzled in a silky sauce. Beautiful.

the delicious fan of meat

Using the restaurant’s entertainment book voucher, it was a delicious and excellent value meal. Can’t wait to return to try more.

a Vietnamese dinner is not complete without a pot of green tea

Rating: 9/10

Where: 16 Falcon street Crows Nest NSW
Why: great, unique Vietnamese food.
Cost: around $35 per person
When: Lunch Friday to Sunday. Dinner Tuesday to Sunday.

Good for kids: Yes, there is room for a pram but it is loud.
Take away: Yes, through menu log.

The Moody Chef, St Leonards

You know how Cheers is a bar where everyone knows your name? Well the Moody Chef is a cafe where I definitely wouldn’t mind them knowing my name.

Located in St Leonards on a relatively quiet side street, we joined a number of other lunchtime customers who found this warm and friendly cafe as the perfect place to escape the grotty weather of a wild and windy Saturday.

</p><br />
<p>A tower of fluffy deliciousness<br /><br />
Mushroom Bruschetta: perfect eggs on top of meaty mushrooms

I must admit that I looked up the menu online before we arrived and I’m glad I did, otherwise it would have taken me forever to order. Despite the great looking lunch menu, I generally find that an all day breakfast section is hard to resist and this time was no exception. In fact, we all decided to have breakfast for lunch.

</p><br />
<p>A tower of fluffy deliciousness<br /><br />

Poached Eggs with spinach, feta and lentil ragu

I decided to have a very eggy breakfast and with about six different poached egg dishes, I was spoiled for choice. I went half and half on the Mushroom Bruschetta with pesto, parmesan and poached eggs ($16.90) as well as the Poached Eggs with pumpkin, feta and lentil ragu ($16.90). Both meals were delicious. Generous in size, the eggs were the perfect balance between soft and hard. The mushrooms on the bruschetta were the meaty, flat cap variety and they were lovely. Both also came with golden brown sourdough – a great compliment.

</p><br />
<p>A tower of fluffy deliciousness<br /><br />

Banana and Blueberry Pancakes: a tower of fluffiness

We also ordered two serves of the Blueberry and Banana Pancakes ($16.90). Stacked three to a serve and topped with mascarpone and candied walnuts, these pancakes were light, fresh and seriously tasty. The fresh berries cut through the maple syrup sweetness, and with no heavy batter or floury flavour that often accompanies cafe-made pancakes, this dish was a winner.

Despite being happy with our choices, there were many other menu items I would have liked to try, namely the Nutella Pancakes and the Slow Roasted Lamb Melt. I also spied a delectable looking cinnamon scroll sitting in the dessert display case as we made our way out at the end of the meal and waddled back to our car. With so many more things to try, I’d say there will be many more visits in our future. So Moody Chef, let’s get acquainted. I think you are someone who should definitely know my name!

Rating: 8/10

Where: 1/30 Atchison St, St Leonards NSW 2065
Why: An enjoyable cafe you can book
Cost: $15-$18 a meal
When: Mon—Fri 6am-5pm.
Sat 7am-3pm

Good for kids: no
Take away: yes

Not Bread Alone, Crows Nest

I love a place that has so many different types of dishes on the menu where all appetites are tempted. From an initial google search and previous breakfast experiences a couple of years ago, I thought that Not Bread Alone would do just that. With an all day breakfast menu and an extensive lunch menu including five sections; no one should have had cause to complain that they couldn’t find anything that they felt like. On offer are three kinds of open (or normal) sandwiches, six salads, four burgers, four pastas and a plethora of mains which cover your Australian Classics like grilled fish of the day ($24.90), scotch fillet ($22.90) and veal schnitzel ($20.90).

A converted terrace house set back off the Pacific Highway, the kitchen is located inside where the front bedroom would once have been. A serving counter is next to the entrance, and seating has been set up on the enclosed outdoor balcony upstairs and on the pavement downstairs.

We were initially seated right next to the entrance in an awkward configuration for four. Given that we had made the effort to book, and there was another table available (also reserved but the group hadn’t yet arrived), I asked for us to be moved. The waiter, after a moments hesitation agreed stating “first come first serve.”

The staff all seem to wander around a bit in their own world, and the owner/manager isn’t overly pleasant. After waiting half an hour with our menus, our order was finally taken. A minute later, another waitress came to take our order again, unaware we had been helped moments earlier.

While we waited for our food, the weather turned cold and rainy. Luckily the outdoor area is equipped with heaters. I asked a passing waitress to please switch it on for us. She didn’t seem to hear me. I had to turn on the heater myself until the manager came to help, looking quite disgruntled that I had taken it upon myself to touch it in the first place. Once the heater was on though, we warmed up quick smart.

The food quality was also a disappointment. It seems to have gone downhill since my last visit, on which occasion I had the most gorgeous ricotta hotcakes that I still dream about. The veal schnitzel ($20.90) was greasy and under seasoned. The beer battered fish ($20.90) was also average and came with bonus human hair on the lemon. When mentioned to the waitress, she did remove it off the plate and brought a fresh one, but there was no apology. At least the chips that came with both dishes were home made and tasty.


The vegetarian big breakfast ($19.90) was a good dish, but the sourdough it came with looked supermarket bought and over toasted.

The only stand out was the veal ravioli ($20.90) with the provincial sauce which was well balanced, and each parcel of pasta contained a decent amount of meat.

The place is not all bad. The wine menu is nice and blankets are provided to guests sitting downstairs to ward off the chill in the cooler months. The desserts which passed us also looked fabulous, but we weren’t in the mood to try and get someone’s attention again in order to order one.

All in all the best thing about the lunch was the company. I’m not sure if there is new ownership, but things have definitely changed in the last couple of years. It’s a shame. This place used to be a winner, and with a little bit of effort could probably become a winner once again.

Rating: 5/10

Where: Shop 2, 376 Pacific Highway Crows Nest NSW.
Why: Veal ravioli
Cost: $12.90-$29.90
When: 7 days, breakfast & lunch.

Good for kids: No
Take away: Yes