REVIEW: Brooklyn Boy Bagels

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015

Things that are in Matraville:

-The high school that our former Premier Bob Carr went to
– 100 years of ANZAC history
– Brooklyn Boy Bagels

You may have eaten a Brooklyn Boy Bagel at the markets over the last few years. A labour of love for ex New Yorker Michael Shafran, who decided to fill Sydney’s bagel shaped hole by perfecting a true NY style bagel at his kitchen in Matraville, then selling them each weekend at markets around Sydney, including Marrickville, Manly and Frenchs Forest. After boiling and baking some ten thousand bagels from his boarded window commercial kitchen, Michael installed a shopfront and opened the Brooklyn Boy Bagel cafe earlier this year.

A stencil of Travis Bickle is somehow more welcoming than the anthropomorphic spray can out the front of the shop but once inside the aroma of hot baked goods is all the welcome mat you need. On the shelves are bagels topped with various seeds (when in doubt, always order the ‘everything’ bagel), which can be cut in half, filled with ham, salmon or variations of the word ‘schmear’. There are also pretzels, rye and challah bread, sandwiches, celery sodas and salted caramel babkas: irresistible sticks of dough, sweet and sticky with caramel.

Earlier in the year I’d be hard pressed to come up with many reasons to visit Matraville (and I’m a HUGE Bob Carr buff) but I can think of at least ten reasons to visit now – and all of them come out of the ovens at Brooklyn Boy Bagels.

448 Bunnerong Rd, Matraville

Mon-Thu 7am-3pm, Fri-Sun 7am-4pm

How much
Bagels from $4.50

REVIEW: Waterman’s Lobster Co.

A lobster roll? In Sydney? I’ve been burned before and spend most of my nights crying myself to sleep over our city’s inability to cram a bunch of cold lobster meat into a hot dog bun and charge me twenty bucks for it.

Someone’s been listening to my midnight sobbing, as the last few months have seen two new lobster-roll-dominant menus launch in Sydney. One of them has a fun name and will be featured in the future, the other has the considerably less fun name that you can see above.

“You know it’s imported, right” barks a disgruntled Potts Point resident as she walks past my lobster-roll-chomping co-worker, before flying into the night while cackling about the success of the lock-out laws. The lobsters at Waterman’s are sourced from Maine, home to a sweeter lobster than the ones that swim in the Pacific. It’s just one of the many steps the restaurant takes to ensure their rolls are as authentic as possible – showcasing the quality of the lobster meat without overpowering it with the other ingredients. You’ll find just warm lobster, butter and a little lemon in the Maine style roll, while the Connecticut option boasts mayonnaise and celery. Much to the surprise of the others at my table, who spend most of their nights being surprised at boring tidbits, I found the Connecticut style lobster roll to be the better of the two, the creaminess of the mayo allowing the cool lobster meat to shine a little brighter.

Did I wish there was a little more meat on the roll? Did I wish they baked a New England style bun, the perfect buttered vessel? Should I spend less time obsessing over pointless minutae? The answer to all those questions is yes. But! Did I spend that night crying myself to sleep? No. The lobster rolls at Waterman’s are the real deal, and just one of the many marine creatures worth eating on the menu, which includes rolls filled with scallops and pork floss and fish rillettes served with pickled carrots and saltines. Washed down with a truly great spritz from the bar (sparkling wine with peach, orgeat and lemon), and Waterman’s Lobster Co. gives you more than enough reasons to chase down that disgruntled local and cram a lobster roll down her mouth (just ask if she’d prefer Maine or Connecticut style first).

5/29 Orwell St, Potts Point
Mon-Sat 12pm-late, Sun 10am-6pm
How much

REVIEW: Burger Liquor Lobster

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015

I feel like you’ll be able to buy unicorn dumplings before somewhere serves a proper lobster roll in Sydney. Every few months somewhere new pops up offering their take on the coastal American classic, and these takes can range from the roll containing more potato than it does lobster to a quaint little bun the size of a cupcake.

A lobster roll is simple and can be perfected with just three ingredients: lobster, butter and a hot dog bun. Specifically: fresh lobster meat, slathered in butter, heaped into a warm hot dog bun. If you visit Maine, Connecticut or Nova Scotia, a lobster roll will set you back somewhere between five and ten bucks, with a pickle and some potato chips on the side. If you’re in New York you’ll be able to find the same thing for about double the money. If you’re in Australia you’ll find something completely different for about three times the price.

Burger Liquor Lobster opened last week, in the space above the London Hotel in Paddington. My eyes immediately ignored the first two words of their name. Their menu is divided into three sections, with the lobster portion offering a lobster roll, popcorn lobster, a lobster cobb salad and for some reason, crab and prawn burgers. All the lobster-y options cost $15. I ordered all three of them, because the L in YOLO stands for lobster.

No piercing screams were heard from the kitchen as my three course lobster meal was prepared and after a short wait it was brought to the table. The three dishes each featured salt and pepper lobster – this was deep fried chunks of frozen lobster meat, which I should’ve figured given the price point. On its own, the salt and pepper lobster is crunchy, salty and vaguely fishy. Dipped in lemon aioli, it’s a decent drinking snack. If you’ve ever wondered what deep fried seafood and blue cheese taste like together, try the lobster cobb salad.

The lobster roll features the salt and pepper bites in a hot dog bun with lettuce, onion, aioli and chives. They haven’t been dishonest – it is lobster in a roll, therefore it is a lobster roll. But it’s not the lobster roll that I cry myself asleep about each night, this seemingly simple dish that, due to the cost of fresh lobster in Australia, is anything but.

I realise that Burger Liquor Deep Fried Seafood doesn’t have as nice a ring to it, and that maybe I should just give up on my dream of eating a proper lobster roll in the Southern Hemisphere. Pass the unicorn dumplings.


85 Underwood St, Paddington


Mon-Sat, 12pm-12am

How much


RECIPE: Smoked Mortadella

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015.

“How much mortadella would you like?” asks the lady in the Coles deli section as she readies the slicer. “Um… all of it?” I reply, before walking out of the supermarket, holding my 4kg trophy of processed meat above my head.

I’d only seen smoked balogna on a menu once, at Payne’s BBQ in Memphis, and the thought of it was too terrifying to order. A hot slab of pink sponge, covered in sauce? My fear got the better of me and I ordered the pulled pork instead, the deliciousness of which only overwhelmed my immediate regret for a few hours, and I returned to Australia accepting that I would never know what smoked baloney tasted like.

Late last year I ordered one of the baloney sandwiches at ACME, which is actually some thin slices of mortadella on a fresh potato roll. I’ve since come to realise I’ve been living a fools life ever since Memphis: I could just smoke my own mortadella at home. I did it on Saturday night, it was out-of-control delicious, and here is how you join me in smoked pork product valhalla.

You will need:

A kettle bbq, like a Weber, or a smoker that you made out of a garbage bin
Hickory woodchips
4kg of mortadella

For the rub:

½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup paprika
¼ cup salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp mustard powder

For the sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup treacle
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup American mustard
3 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped

Step 1

Light about eight beads of charcoal on one side of your BBQ. You wanna cook this mortadella on indirect heat. Keep it low and slow, no more than 120°c.

Take two handfuls of woodchips and soak them in water.

Step 2

Cut that gnarly red wrapping off the mortadella.

Use a knife to score the mortadella horizontally and vertically, cutting a couple of centimetres deep into the meat. Don’t forget to score the top and bottom of the mortadella as well.

Step 3

Combine all of the rub ingredients together in a bowl, then rub it all over the mortadella.

Try your hardest to work the rub into all of the grooves that you just cut so the flavour gets right in there.

Step 4

It’s time to smoke! Put your prize piece of mortadella in the barbecue, on the opposite side that the hot coals are on. Drop some of the wet woodchips onto the coals and chuck the lid back on your BBQ.

Let the mortadella smoke for an hour, and go back to the kitchen to make some BBQ sauce. Heat the oil on medium-low in a pot and slowly cook the garlic until it softens, about five mins. Stir through all the other sauce ingredients, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Leave the sauce to simmer while the mortadella cooks.

Step 5

Pour yourself a cup of the BBQ sauce (let the rest of it continue to simmer) and take it outside. Lift the lid off the BBQ and baste the mortadella with a nice coating of sauce.

Check the temp of the BBQ and add more coal if necessary. Throw another handful of woodchips onto the coals. Let the mortadella smoke for another two hours, adding more woodchips and re-basting with sauce every half hour. Your backyard should smell incredible.

Step 6

After the mortadella has cooked for at least three hours all up, lift the lid and it should look like this.

If you’re ready to eat, take it straight to the table, or wrap it in foil and keep it warm until you’re ready for morta-domination.

Step 7

Cut the mortadella into thick slices. Fight everyone over the crunchy end bits which have absorbed the most smoke. You put that effort in and cooked this thing, you deserve the best part.

Serve the mortadella on soft white rolls with pickles, coleslaw and the BBQ sauce. Throw caution to the goddamn wind and stack that mortadella HIGH. This is the very definition of a ‘sometimes food’ and you should definitely take advantage of that.

Leftover mortadella is inevitable and best served for breakfast the next day. Just heat a pan up, cut some slices and fry each side, knowing that bacon will never be good enough again.


To reward your stomach with exotic deliciousness

How much

4kg of mortadella will set you back about $40 and will feed approximately everyone you know


SHOP: Prospector Store, Parramatta

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015.

A chest full of terrariums. A little wooden bear. A teacup housing a murder mystery. Over 100 vintage coats in pristine condition. These are just a few of the things you’ll find at the Prospector Store in Parramatta.

My two theories as to why it’s called the Prospector Store.

One – It’s kind of difficult to find, the beautiful store hiding inside an average suburban street mall, locating it might become easier if you use a metal detector and/or a diviner.

Two – Store owner Geraldine Mills travels through the lands finding only the most exotic vintage wares. She is one of the few true prospectors in 2015, and her store is actually a trophy room, a testament to her profession.

Where most vintage and second hand stores are a hopelessly organised mess, Prospector Store feels more like an art gallery, an exhibition that you can buy every item of. Everything is curated by Geraldine, whose personality shines through her immaculate arrangements of knick-knacks and trinkets, amidst photos she’s taken and framed over the years.

Due to Parramatta council’s desire to become the biggest, most modern city in NSW, the space that houses Prospector Store will be developed into a million apartments by the end of the year, leaving Geraldine with just a month left of trade. While she’ll be keeping her online store, the real thing is a sight to behold. Do yourself a favour and check it out before it’s too late.


Shop 2, 162-172 Church Street Mall, Parramatta


Tues, Wed, Fri 11am-6pm
Thu 11am-7pm
Sat 10am-3pm

Related links


REVIEW: Happy as Larry Pizza Truck

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015.

Sydney’s food truck scene is actually getting good! Who saw that coming? There’s Mister Gee’s serving up very decent burgers, Yang’s and their impossibly large selection of Malaysian snacks, and now we have Happy as Larry, a pizza truck responsible for pizzas that you’d place up there with Sydney’s best.

Size wise, Happy as Larry puts all other Sydney food trucks to shame. If there was ever a food truck monster derby, you’d put all your money on the Happy-as-Larry-mobile. It’s huge, big enough to house a genuine woodfired oven and still provide enough room for the 6ish staff to dance around in.

Two of those staff members might look a little familiar – the two chefs used to work at Newtown’s Gigi Pizzeria and know their way around a Napoletana approved pizza. You’ll find a handful of traditional pies on the menu (margherita, marinara, mushroom) and then a handful of wildcards, like the lasagne pizza, topped with beef ragu and parmesan. They’re all served on that perfect charred ‘n’ chewy base, that fills your stomach up with delicious carbs while miraculously always leaving room for “just one more” hot slice.

You might find Happy as Larry at a music festival in the future, the only good food option at an otherwise uninspiring event. But you should try your hardest to seek them out – lately they’ve been setting up shop at a carpark on Bexley on Saturday nights (479 Forest Rd), where crowds are encouraged to pull up a milkcrate and smash an entire Nutella calzone by themselves.

Where Around. Follow them on Instagram to find them.

How much From $14

Contact Facebook

Related links Website

REVIEW: Old Mate on Crown

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015.

The Old Mate on Crown is less a cafe than it is an example of a perfect co-worker. I don’t know how they are at paperwork, but they’re in the break room every single day of the week, working wonders with that sandwich press and feeding the entire office with a smile on their face as they list the fresh produce between the perfectly buttered slices of Bread and Butter Project sourdough.

They lugged their juice maker to work and give you a free shot of vege juice with your coffee, which they proudly boast is from Toby’s Estate, a definite step up from the Nescafe, the only thing in the company freezer. Old Mate even drove out to Hurstville this morning and picked up some delicious cinnamon scrolls from Oregano Bakery.

Sure, they dominate the stereo with old Oasis albums you wish you never knew existed, but Old Mate’s unpretentious dedication to being a team player keeps everybody happy and they truly deserve those multiple “employee of the month” placards above their desk. The next time you wish you had a co-worker whose toasted sambos taste as cute as the chalk writing describing them on the menu, you know where to go.

328 Crown St, Surry Hills

Mon-Sun, 7am-3:30am

REVIEW: Grumpy Donuts

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015.

Here’s a novel idea: start a company that makes donuts. Everybody loves donuts, even crap ones. Except the donuts this new company makes aren’t crap, they’re amazing. Beautiful works of saturated fat art, every colour of the unhealthy rainbow. Some are topped with chips, others sugar-coated cereal or crushed cookies. The best one is topped with candied bacon.

These donuts don’t have fancy, pretentious names. The donut covered in caramel and potato chips isn’t called fucking ‘Reginald’ or something, it’s called ‘Caramel and Potato Chips’. You know what you’re getting, and when you get one, you wish you got two.

These donuts come in a box with a sticker on them that says ‘GRUMPY DONUTS’ above a picture of a fairly grumpy donut cartoon. How could a donut be grumpy when it’s covered in potato chips?

So we’ve got a company that sells donuts that might be grumpy by name but are definitely delicious in taste. Incredible business model so far. Let’s go buy a box of these awesome donuts! Oh, what’s that? There’s no Grumpy Donuts shop? A handful of these donuts are only available on Fridays at Orto Trading Co. and The Wedge Espresso? Oh, don’t worry, you can order them from the Grumpy Donuts website, except you can’t actually do that right now because orders are currently closed? Perfect. I could say that a better name for this company is ‘Cocktease Donuts’, but that would imply that the donuts don’t have a hole in their middle, and save for the very delicious rectangular Maple Bacon Bar, they absolutely do.

If you can get your hands on a Grumpy Donut, do so. They’re worth the challenge.

REVIEW: Ngon Vietnamese Street Food

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015

There are three food courts in Chinatown, each of them worth visiting repeatedly, exploring every restaurant and familiarising yourself with as many of the dishes on offer as possible. It’s pretty hard to go wrong, but if you wanna ensure rightness, here is a simple Chinatown food court hierarchy to use as a guide: Sussex Centre > Eating World > Dixon House. Disagree? Fight me. 9pm tonight outside the Paddy’s Markets. Loser has to eat at the Westfield food court for a month. Enjoy your Snag Stand.

The most recent addition to Sussex Centre’s stalls, already home to 10/10 eateries like Happy Chef and Ikkyu, is Ngon Vietnamese Street Food, a clean neon Vietnamese affair that’s next door to another clean neon Vietnamese affair. On the menu are some 40 lunch options, a grab bag of someone who’s recently visited Vietnam listing as many of the great meals they had while they were there in 30 seconds. While there’s a lot of familiarity on the menu (bowls of vermicelli, banh mi, rice paper rolls), there’s also a Hanoi specialty on there, one I’ve not seen on a Sydney Viet menu before: bun cha hanoi.

Bun cha is a collection of bowls – one filled with noodles, one with herbs, another some sauce – but the star of the bowl show is one filled with grilled patties of ground pork, swimming in a warm and sweet broth. You mix some cold noodles into the broth, throw a few herbs in, add some chili, eat it all together and make a huge mess. It’s super fun and super delicious, and Ngon’s take on the dish is great value but lacking in the flavour department. The broth is sweet and strange, but the pork patties are lacking the taste of charcoal that they’re cooked over traditionally, Ngon opting to grill them over gas instead. A pile of grilled pork would improve with that same charcoal kick, and the usual varied collection of Vietnamese herbs is a few mint leaves and grated carrot. Still, it’s a fun lunch, and hopefully the start of more Vietnamese joints adding the dish to the menu.

Shop F6, Sussex Centre Food Court, 401 Sussex St, Haymarket

Mon-Sun, 12pm-8pm

How much

I made my friend eat the level 7 spicy tom yum noodles at Do Dee Paidang

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015.

Everyone’s got that one mate who likes it hot. The one who empties the entire container of complimentary chillies into their bowl of pho and asks every staff member at a Mexican Restaurant “no seriously, what’s the spiciest hot sauce you’ve got?”. My one mate is Owie. I once emptied an entire bottle of cayenne pepper onto a sandwich I made him and he didn’t even notice the heat. I took him to Chairman Mao in Kensington, ordered the dishes that would put me in a coma and all I got was an acknowledgement, a raised eyebrow as he told me “yeah, it’s pretty spicy” before eating all the food on the table.

Do Dee Paidang, a small Thai noodle joint in Chinatown, has quickly reached a cult status for its small bowls of tom yum, which are filled with an aromatic broth, chewy rice noodles, various meats and fried egg noodles. The soups are graded from 0 – 7 on the heat scale, with each number representing the number of dried chilli scoops added to your broth. 0 is called ‘Do Dee Nursery’. Add one scoop of chilli and it’s already hot enough to warrant the name ‘Do Dee Monster’. I made it to level 3, and that bowl of ‘Do Dee Lava’ almost destroyed me. I could taste the chilli in my ears.

Level 7, containing seven scoops of dried chillies, is affectionately called ‘Do Dee Super Nova’. There was no fucking way I was going to eat a bowl of noodles named after a dead star, but I knew just the asshole who I could convince to eat it for me.

I talked it up a bit and as we looked at the menu Owie had a little bit of fear in him. “Maybe I should try a level 5 first?” he asked me. Level 5? What did I look like? Concrete Playground? This is Two-motherfucking-Thousand, motherfucker! I ordered two bowls of soup, immediately blowing the food budget offered by publications such as ours. I ordered Owie that level 7 Super Nova and got a Do Dee Nursery on the side, so Owie could try the soup in its unadulterated state (not because I’m a huge pussy).

The first spoonfuls of every spice level of tom yum are fantastic, a great mix of textures and taste. Event the first few spoonfuls of the Super Nova are ok, the other flavours allowed to exist before the chilli works its magic on your tastebuds. After 20 seconds Owie gives me that nod of acknowledgment he gave me at Chairman Mao. “Yeah, it’s pretty spicy”, but he keeps slurping away, stopping at the halfway mark to wipe the beads of sweat from his brow before taking his jacket off on what is supposedly the coldest day in Sydney’s last two decades.

I get my phone ready to record his failure but he persists, and within a minute he’s eaten all but a small pool of broth. “Drink it!” I yell, pushing the boundaries of our friendship. He does, leaving a mostly empty bowl, save for a few flecks of bright red fire powder. I give Owie a round of applause, the kind you only hear from white guys in Thai restaurants, and he stares into space. “That’s gonna burn tomorrow morning” he tells me, and I realise what a perfect epitaph that would be.

9/37 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket

Mon-Sun 11am-1am

How much
$6.90 a bowl

02 8065 3827