The Incinerator, Willoughby

I’m glad they have finally made use of the ‘incinerator’ in my neighbourhood (really just an abandoned tin shed which I hadn’t even noticed for most of my childhood). The place is always packed and bustling whether it be a 9AM early coffee or a leisurely late lunch at 2PM! Make sure you check out the photos on the website – what they have done with this place is absolutely amazing!

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Cappuccino ($3.80)

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Mocha (Can’t remember…. Around $4.00?)

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Incinerator Sandwich: peppered scotch fillet, cheddar, dijon and pickles ($15.00)

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Pulled pork brioche bun, pineapple chutney, spring onions, crackle ($18.00)

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Hand cut chips, rosemary sale ($9.00)

 The Food Zoo experience: The pulled pork brioche bun was my favourite and I have been back weekly if not twice a week for the coffee. The beef sandwich was served with what seemed like Smith’s potato chips from the packet which was so random. Overall, good relaxed venue for any occasion. The food is a little expensive but it’s nice that I don’t have to trek to Surry Hills and the likes for some consistently delicious coffee! And a tip from me; be wary of the nightmarish Saturday netball traffic during Winter!

The Incinerator
2 Small Street
Willoughby 2068

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A La Façon de Shimizu, Willoughby

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I somehow came across this little gem about one and a half years ago. It is situated right on the main road, yet the banner draws little attention and unless you were looking for it, would probably walk right by without noticing.
It is a fusion of Japanese and European cuisine cooked to perfection. This little shop has a chic decore with a warm glow about it, and the Japanese waiter greets you readily as you enter the door.

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You are given a jug of tap water which has been purified by bamboo charcol, and even manages to remove the taste of ‘tap’ from the water.

null Sour-dough bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
You get free sour dough bread after your orders have been placed; it comes warm, with a crunchy crust with firm yet spongey dough. It is not overly sour like many other sour doughs that I’ve been served at other restaurants. This hits the spot, and you really have to try it to believe how good it really is. It’s also good if you have whiney bfs who cant seem to have an empty stomach for anything more than 1 minute.

null Scallops & Kiwifruit Carppaccio, $17
Sliced fresh Scallops and kiwi fruit served with grapefruit dressing.

nullFresh Salmon Tartare, $17
Fresh salmon and avocado tartare with dill, caper and olive. Served with wasabi-mayonnaise and bread.

Grilled Lamb cutlet with Miso Sauce, $27
Lamb cutlet marinated with garlic and herb-oil. Served with Shimizu’s original miso sauce. I thought that the miso sauce had a very strong taste, and the lamb very fatty, but it went perfectly with the buckwheat salad which really helped to balance the strong flavours of the rest of the dish.

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Beef Asparagus Roll, $27
Asparagus and carrot rolled with thinly sliced scotch fillet, grilled with teriyaki sauce. When this long dish comes out of the kitchen it always manages to hush some of the chatter in the restaurant.

null Home made chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (served warm), $8
But there was no ice cream T__T It was sad, but I made do. I love this cake, and always regret it if I leave the restaurant without having ordered it. It’s spongey and moist and not too sweet. Or maybe because its such a good portion that I don’t mind that it’s a bit sweet.

nullCreme brulee, $9
I love how Shimizu presents their desserts :) mostly coz I love blueberries, and its always nice to be surprised by little pieces of fruit when all I expected was the dessert I ordered :) I managed to shovel in way more than my fair share of dessert. Both of them were so good that I couldn’t help myself. So lucky that I shared my lamb earlier pre-emptively so he would be full, and I would get more dessert

I would say if you’re in the area, definitely give Shimizu a try. They have also a $35 banquet menu, for their anniversary, as well as blackboard specials (if you’re lucky the snapper salsa will be on the board; its SO good).

A La Façon de Shimizu
537 Willoughby Road
Willoughby NSW 2068
T: (02) 9958 8785
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La Botte Da Ercole, Willoughby

Alright, so I’m not really much of a writer (which is probably a good thing that I like to take photos). From now on, the focus will probably be on substance and content – straight to the point with some photos here and there (which is what life should be about!)

A few study buddies and I went to La Botte Da Ercole on a late Sunday night after working on our assignment – ah the “joys” of studying. Anyway, this little restaurant is quite close to where I live – I pass it all the time but it’s so small and cosy and you wouldn’t usually notice it if it weren’t always full on a Friday/Saturday night.

It feels like there’s a lot more than ten to twenty tables in the entire restaurant as the back wall is just one big mirror. You practically have to tip-toe around all the tables to get to your seat but once in, you’re nice and snug (heaven forbid if you need to use the bathroom during the meal!) There is an open kitchen area where pizzas and ovens are prepared which is pretty cool But a bad idea when you’re starving and keep hoping the next dish is yours!


Garlic Bread

I love my garlic bread! (Actually, I love anything with garlic *guilty*) So apart from being a bit hard to chew, the flavor was complete and there isn’t much I have to complain about (can’t say the same for garlic breath afterwards though).


Bruschetta

Overall I thought the meal was quite heavy as you can tell from the bruschetta – I don’t think I’ve ever had a cheese topping variation (or maybe I just haven’t tried enough bruschettas). But definitely something different and what’s even better, it was served with a garlic bread base!

Garlic Prawns – prawns, mushrooms, garlic & chilli

This dish wasn’t chilli at all (which really suits me as I don’t eat chilli – clearly not asian enough either) and I loved the abundance of garlic and mushrooms. The prawns were fleshy which was great – just mouthfuls and mouthfuls of flavor! This dish is served with some dipping bread which is essential otherwise the dish becomes too salty!


Tortellini Ai Funghi – Round pasta with veal filling, mushrooms, shallots & cream

The tortellini was a welcome change compared to the other, more oily, dishes. The tortellini was small and delicate and with a little – but right – amount of filling so that the dish was well balanced.


Penne Pesto – Basil, pine nuts, cream & parmesan cheese

The combination was good but definitely way too oily! The four of us struggled to finish this dish. Maybe I’ll try to Bolognese penne next time…

Ercole’s special – Tomato, cheese, ham, cabanossi, onion, capsicum & mushrooms

All my favourite ingredients combined into one! What more could I ask for! The base was nice and thin and the crust was puffy and crispy. I don’t normally eat pizza crust but I thought it wasn’t too bad.

Crème Caramel

No matter how full I am after dinner, there is always always always always room for dessert! I always thought small Italian restaurants limited their desserts to gelato – easy to prepare and serve. So I was quite impressed when the waitress introduced several home-made desserts. The crème caramel wasn’t pretty standard and the taste was a bit unique for my liking so I focused on the remaining desserts!


Vanilla Panna Cotta

I preferred the vanilla panna cotta over the crème caramel and when the others struggled to finish the desserts, I was more than happy to offer my assistance. Afterall, it’s what they teach you in school and what they want you to have at work: good: good team work skills (and the ability to step up… But let’s leave that for another time..)!


Mango Gelato

Delicious, mango gelato with white chocolate coating. However, diners beware! The honey is not enough to stick the gelato to the plate! My eager attack at the gelato almost landed it on the table! This was definitely my favourite dish of the entire night!

Perfect place for a casual night out and I would recommend making reservations!

La Botte Da Ercole
608 Willoughby Rd,
Willoughby
(02) 9958 6785

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