Cafe Jolly, Leichhardt

Rather than trying my favourite Italian restaurant Portofino, we decided to give Café Jolly’s a go which is just few shops next to it. Everytime when I walk pass, it is always packed full of people. This place was famous for its fast service and piping hot food, however some feedback I read was that people didn’t like the main to be coming halfway through the entrée, make sure you let the waiter know if you prefer to have you meals one course after the next.



Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Average Price
Entrée: $3.5 – $12.50
Main: $15.50 – $24.50
Dessert: N/A
Degustation: N/A
Corkage: BYO wine only, fully licensed
Cakeage: $1
Ease of finding a car park: Hard
Ease of finding the restaurant: Easy
Brightness of restaurant: Bright
Noise Level: Normal
Waiting time for foods: 10 mins – 15 mins
Booking time require: 1-2 Days
Child friendly/High Chair: Yes



Garlic Bread, $3.50

The bread was simple by amazing, crunchy crust on the outside and a soft chewy inside.


Garden Salad, $8


Salt & Pepper Calamari, $12.50

Calamari for me was a disappointment, it was rubbery and hard to chew. I’d prefer they cut it into smaller pieces.


Veal Bomb – Crumbed veal & chicken fillet pocketed with fresh ricotta & spinach, in a wine cream pepper sauce with wedges & vegetables, $24.50

I like this dish very much, the veal still has a slight pink in the middle and the creamy sauce was like match made in heaven, especially if you soak up the broccoli with the sauce.


Penne Pollo – Chicken pieces, pesto, mushroom, white wine, in a tomato sauce with a touch of cream, $15.50

Pasta was al dente with lots of fresh herbs however the chicken was a bit dry.


Spaghetti Marinara – King prawns, calamari, fish fillets, mussels, garlic in white wine and Napolitana sauce, $16.90

The spaghetti marinara was served pretty quickly after the entrée arrived, pasta has more seafood than pasta which I thought was fantastic!

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158 Norton Street, Leichhardt
opening hrs: Mon – Fri: 10:30 to 15:30, 17:00 to 23:00 Sat – Sun: 8:30-0:00

Web: N/A

Getting There:

Parking: Macauley Street/Carlisle Street

Map picture

Jolly Cafe on Urbanspoon


Sapore Della Vigna, Leichhardt

Food: 7.5/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Service: 9/10
Value: 8/10

Average Price
Entrée: $4 – $15
Main: $20 – $30
Dessert: $10.90 – $12.90
Degustation: N/A
Corkage: $2.5 p/p
Cakeage: $10

Ease of finding a car park: Normal
Ease of finding the restaurant: Easy
Brightness of restaurant: Normal
Noise Level: Noisy
Waiting time for foods: 15 mins – 20 mins
Booking time require: 1-2 Days
Child friendly/High Chair: Yes

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It has been a while since I have been to the Italian Forum in Leichhardt, usually I would go to restaurants located on Norton Street such as Portofino. Turn out it was a treasure find. It was a Friday night and we managed to find a parking spot in less than 5 minutes! There is a two level parking underneath the Forum which you can enjoy a 2 hours free parking.

sapore 1

Sapore Della Vigna has been there for over 12 years, family owned by Kathy and her husband. The place has been renovated and extended ever since taken over by Kathy. Its vast space can not only accommodate large bookings but also small groups for all occasions such as birthday party, engagement, business parties with seating inside or outside.
We were greeted and welcomed by the friendly staff and were asked where we would like to seat. I choose inside as it was quite a chill night and love the idea of sitting under the heaters.

sapore 2

Staff kindly change our wine to soft drinks

The Food Mornings voucher entitles us a mixed pasta platter for two which includes choice of 3 pasta dishes ($3.30 extra for each seafood pasta dish, exclude risotto and lasagne) and a bottle of wine. The menu has a vast range of selections from entree, pasta, salads and sides and as a result, we couldn’t make up our mind. The friendly staff came over and gave us some recommendation which end up it was my favourite. We opted for Penne Al Pollo – Pan fried chicken, sun-dried tomato & pine nuts in a napolitana and cream sauce $21.90, Linguini Marinara – Pasta with a selection of fresh local seafood cooked in a tomato, garlic, and white wine sauce $24.90, Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli – with a pesto cream sauce & topped with pine nuts $18.90 (staff’s recommendation). 

An Italian dinner is not complete without some nice Bruschetta. We order one of those as a starter. It was so delicious and top with huge amount of fresh tomato, basil, garlic and a sweet vinaigrette dressing. What I love the most was the bread is toasted and warm when it was served.


Brushetta with tomato and basil – 2 per serve, $7.90

When the pasta arrived it’s presented on a silver platter with three generous serving of each pasta that we ordered. At first we dived into the vegetarian pasta which was packed with heaps of flavour and heaps of creamy sauce. (I was thinking a vegetarian pasta must be bland and tasteless but I am so wrong!) There was blended spinach and herbs piece inside the sauce and the ravioli was cooked perfectly. Secondly, I tried the chicken penne. Chicken meat was moist and tender and the pine nut was crunchy and paired well with the sauce. Lastly, we tasted the Linguini Marinara. I was feeling full already at this point of the meal but still polished half of the Linguini in my stomach. The seafood was fresh and the sauce is delicious.

sapore 3

sapore 4

From left to right : Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli – with a pesto cream sauce & topped with pine nuts $18.90, Linguini Marinara – Pasta with a selection of fresh local seafood cooked in a tomato, garlic, and white wine sauce $24.90,Penne Al Pollo – Pan fried chicken, sun-dried tomato & pine nuts in a napolitana and cream sauce $21.90,

Conclusion: I had a pleasant dining experience in Sapore. The atmosphere was buzzing, love to see people, talking and laughing, and that’s exactly what Sapore offers. It is a great place to meet up with friends or for a family gathering. Highly recommended!! Check out here for a great deal from . This Mixed Pasta Platter for Two deal is on sale from 27/6 to 2/7 for a limited time.


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The Italian Forum, 23 Norton St, Leichhardt
opening hrs: Mon – Thur: 10:00 to 23:00, Fri: 10:00 to midnight, Sat – Sun: 8:00 to midnight

Getting There:

Parking: Forum underground parking. Entrance on Norton St 
By train: No Train station near by

Map picture

Sapore on Urbanspoon

Sergeants Mess, Chowder Bay

Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 7/10

Average Price
Entrée: $15 – $25
Main: $30 – $50
Dessert: $13 – 20
Degustation: 2 course $110, 3 course $135
Corkage: N/A
Cakeage: N/A

Ease of finding a car park: Easy
Ease of finding the restaurant: Normal
Brightness of restaurant: Bright
Noise Level: Quiet
Waiting time for foods: 15 mins – 20 mins
Booking time require: 1 week – 5 week
Child friendly/High Chair: No


Ho Ho Ho! It’s this time of the year again – when you see me eating continuously everyday and celebrating the festive day with work colleagues and friends to different restaurants. My company have organised a lovely day out for us in Sergeants Mess in Chowder Bay for this Christmas. The restaurant is located on Chowder Bay road in the middle head Peninsula below Georges Heights, Mosman. It is owned and operated by Manuel Spinola, of the tea room Gunners Barracks and Dunbar House Watsons Bay.




I must say this place is absolutely beautiful and natural because it is surrounded by National Park and waters. Prior to the sit down menu we were offer with canapés and drink. I can’t help but to keep taking pictures of the water view and the harbour.


Sear king fish sashimi with seaweed in vinaigrette dressing

Fresh king fish lightly seared on the outside. The Vinaigrette dressing and seaweeds brought a subtle, clean and flesh flavours that enhanced the sweetness of the fish.


Mini Lamb wellington

Not long after the best canapés of the night was served, super juicy and succulent lamb wellington wrap with buttery pastry. I even request the waiter to bring out more hehe


finally here comes the alcohol


Tuna and sultana crackers

The ordinary cracker suddenly became extraordinary with the hint of sweetness from sultana


Vegetarian menu: Spiced chickpeas crepe, with brocollini and almonds

I got best seat of the day because I sat next to a girl who is vegetarian so I get to take pics of what she was eating as well as sitting opposite of another colleagues who ordered exactly the opposite as I did in an alternate serving menu.


Vegetarian menu: Pan fried Gnocchi with tomato, eggplant and basil

Gnocchi looks very chewy but my colleague said it was lack of seasoning and wasn’t as good as expected.


Vegetarian menu: Strawberry & raspberry tart with raspberry sorbet

This dessert looks like an art with fresh strawberries and a refreshing sorbet to welcome the summer


Prawn Tortellini, grilled octopus, tomato and lemon dressing

This was the highlight of the night I reckon, Tortellini was visually attractive to start with. Pasta skin is cook to perfect with flavours bursting into my mouth after the first bite. Octopus was grill to a smoky finish and pair well with the tangy lemon dressing. I wish this was a main course size rather than an entrée.


Red wine, tomato & Olive braised rabbit, potato gnocchi

Rabbit looks like it was perfectly cook with lots of fresh herbs.


Char grilled scotch fillet, eschalot & green beans, béarnaise sauce

I love scotch fillet. The best out of all parts in a beef, this one was slightly undercooked still having lots of red in the middle. Looking at another table someone’s has an overcooked steak even though we weren’t given a choice of how we want our steak to be. Weird thing is my steak wasn’t cook on the top so I strongly believe it was cook in a whole then slice into piece afterward which wasn’t fitting into my liking.


Pan fried pork fillet, celeriac puree, fennel, apple & sage salad

On the other hand, the pork maybe a better option with a silky smooth puree.


Blueberry financier with vanilla ice cream

Love the shape of the financier, looks like an Egyptian pyramid.


Chocolate mousse cake with frangelico & raspberry

This is not for the faint hearted, chocolate mousse was so rich that my heart almost clotted for a second. But then the raspberry was overly sour so I was like being toss around heaven and hell.


Say cheese!


Have a lovely Christmas and happy new year guys and eat your way through to New year!


Conclusion: Canapés and entrée was impressive but disappointed me a little bit in the main and dessert. Lovely ambience with great water view. Perfect for wedding or group functions.


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Chowder Bay Rd, Chowder Bay
opening hrs: by appointments  

Getting There:

Parking: parking outside of restaurant
By Water taxi: From circular quay to chowder bay wharf   

Map picture

My labour day long weekend, Central Coast



Well the long weekend is over, and we survived the day light saving for a lost of an hour. Now its time for the lazy me to post about what I’ve done during those 3 precious days. We have absconded city limits and head up the north to Central Coast, we were originally going to fit in a few recreational activities that the extra day affords but due to the stupid weather AGAIN we stayed inside my friend house most of the time and cooked.


Thanks to Esther for lending out her luxury home, especially her kitchen where 4 people can fit in at once to cook different things. OK readers, here are more pics for the curious one.




After we offloaded our bags and luggage, we drove out to the biggest Westfield in town. I was amazed by the size of this shopping centre it is double the size of QVB in Sydney. But I felt like a foreigner because we were the only Asians in the mall…


Mad Mex in Central Coast


Cool lights made out of Corona bottle

Wanted to try some Central Coast local restaurant but could only see franchise that Sydney also has. So, we opted for Mad Mex. Some background info here, Mad Mex serves gourmet Baja style Mexican food that’s healthy, hearty and the only thing it’s heavy on is flavour. The first store opened in Sydney and expanded to Melbourne and Brisbane.



Chicken Burrito – soft flour tortilla with black beans, rice, cheese, lettuce & sour cream.


Yellow corn crispy tacos – crispy yellow taco with black beans, cheese, lettuce & sour cream


Beef quesadilla – grilled and sliced tortilla with cheese filling and served with salsa & sour cream

On the way back home for some relaxing DVD and indoor games, we saw this sign…


How can we resist not to get one, occasionally we will see 99cents/kg watermelon in Woolworth but what’s more exciting than getting a whole! Although it wasn’t the seedless one but skin was really thin and extremely juicy & sweet..awww! I love watermelon!!






We got back home, cut our watermelon and put them in fridge for cooling. What other indoor activities can we play now? Esther suddenly took out her Mah Jong table and I think it is time to teach our two ABC boys to learn how to play this Chinese ancient game. Mah Jong is a traditional Chinese tile game with many variations. An ancient game widely play by Chinese and Japanese. More info here.


For dinner, we decided to go for a quick and easy steam boat. For the stock I have use chicken stock along with some Chinese herbs and corn.



On Sunday we drove to The Entrance, since the Entrance has now been internationally recognised as “The Pelican Capital of Australia” and we want to be part of it. Before feeding the Pelican we decided to feed ourselves first with a nice lunch. We stumbled cross MOJO’s cafe which is just behind where the Pelican Pavilion foreshore is. The staffs here are local residents, they are really nice and friendly.



Spicy Chicken Turkish – Lightly spiced chicken, roasted red capsicum, avocado & cheese, $10.90


Mojo club burger & Fries, $16.90


Fish & Chips – Beer battered or grilled fish fillets served with fries, salad and homemade tartare sauce, $16.90


Seafood platter for one – Lightly battered fish, grilled fish, fresh prawn, mussels, calamari, salt & pepper squid, smoked salmon, fries & salad, $28.90


Hot Chocolate

I am really happy with the food here, portion are generous and tasty. The seafood platter was HUGE and enough to share between two people. All ingredients are fresh and made to order.



Carrot cake by Rain, extra sultana and walnuts


Vegetables soup with parsley


Chicken bake pasta with parmesan cheese


Fresh garlic breads


oops… guess who cleaned up the mess?

More cooking continue after we got home, Rain made a carrot cake, I made a vegetables soup and pasta baked chicken, JC baked some fresh garlic breads. It was the first time I made a pasta bake chicken, if you are a cheese lover I think you will like it. I will post the recipe in another post. I had such a relaxing and good time in Central Coast, when is the next long weekend?

Porto Fino, Leichhardt

Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 7/10

Average Price
Entrée: $10-$20
Main: $20-$30
Dessert: $14.90
Degustation: N/A
Corkage: $3 P/P
Cakeage: $3 P/P

Ease of finding a car park: Hard
Ease of finding the restaurant: Easy
Brightness of restaurant: Dark
Noise Level: Noisy
Waiting time for foods: 15 mins
Booking time require: 3 Days – 1 Week
Child friendly/High Chair: Yes



In thinking of a place for some good Italian foods, we will always think of the suburb Leichhardt. But so many Italian restaurants in Leichhardt, which one is the best? I would strongly recommend Porto Fino on Norton Street. After tasting so many Italian restaurants Porto Fino is truly the one win my heart and the one made me keep coming back. This little family restaurant specialised in modern Italian cuisine with friendly staffs and lots of options on the menu. When my gf called me out for a catch up we initially (as always) wanted to try something new, but end up back here, we just can’t get enough!


Whitebait fritters with chilli, garlic, Spanish onions, and roasted butternut pumpkin, served with fresh mescalin leaves and garlic aioli, E$19.90 M$24.90

The good thing about Porto Fino is, they always have a chef’s suggestions menu. If you are feeling indecisive with this seemingly endless menu of delicious dishes, just randomly pick one from the Chef’s suggestions menu! This was how we ended up with the Whitebait fritters. This was the first time I tried this dish and it didn’t disappoint me at all. Inside the little fritters was packed with flavours, chilli, garlic, pumpkin and onions. It arrived hot and crispy, the garlic aioli was so smooth and creamy that I almost lick the sauce plate clean.


Linguini Con Gamberoni – Sauteed prawns with julienne of sundried tomato, olive cheeks, shallots, garlic, chilli and parmesan $21.90

For the main, we choose the prawn linguini. This was simply divine, the freshly made linguini was slightly resistance in the center when the pasta is chewed and the portions was very generous. The only downside was the sauce was a bit too alcoholish. My guess was, the sauce wasn’t cook long enough for the alcohol content in the wine to evaporate.


Torta Di Cioccolata – Moist chocolate and almond torte served with white chocolate gelato, $14.90

You cannot leave without trying the dessert in here! The menu dessert was so long that we couldn’t decide what to order. The dessert menu had about 12 items to choose from. To name a few: Passionfruit panna cotta, crème brulee, gelato pyramid, Portofino tiramisu, torta di cioccolata etc. The friendly waitress suggested us to order the warm moist chocolate and almond torte as this would be a perfect dessert to warm us in the cold weather. The presentation was very impressive, chocolate torta was rich (dark chocolate) and moist. Try to have a little bit of gelato, cake, orange zest and the sauce in your every spoonful of torte because the combination is just so perfect.


Pizza chef looking at the camera… say cheese ^_^

Conclusion: One of my all time favourite spots. Good food and service you can rely on. Only fault is the noise, making it a little tricky to dine with group.


166 Norton Street, Leichhardt
opening hrs: Mon – Sun: 18:00 – Late 

Getting There:

Parking: Side street like Macauley Street or Carlisle Street
By: Train: No Train station nearby 
By Bus:

portofino bus map

Map picture

Portofino on Urbanspoon

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