Chatswood

Finding my inner Flower Child at Westfield Chatswood

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The first thing you’ll notice about Flower Child Café is the ambience and the decor as everything is so florally. I just couldn’t help but smile as it just looks so peaceful. And what a stunning place to eat at with their brekkie, brunch or lunch menu options available all day.

Just on Anderson Street in Chatswood Westfield entrance you’ll easily spot a crowd full of hungry humans waiting around for a table. One thing I’ve noticed about brunch places is that if there’s a line it must be good. And boy I am glad my hungry instincts got this right.

Flower Child Cafe Entrance

As soon as we scored a table we quickly knew what to order and after a short conversation, everything had arrived. What drew me to the Flower Child French Toast ($19) was the lovely garden of fruits which included a scoop of banana mascarpone, freshly sliced banana, crumbs of dark chocoalte, baked peacan pieces, fresh mixed berries and a spread of salted toffee & maple syrup ($19). The toast looked evenly fried on the outside and soft and fluffy inside which made me think this could easily be on my comfort food list.

Flower Child French Toast ($19)

For the benedict fanatics the Eggs Benedict ($19) was quite a cheat day treat with two poached eggs covered in burnt butter hollandaise served with espresso & house made tomato jam with proscuitto. What was fun about this dish was it came fashionably buttered and toasted on a freshly baked croissant. I had a ‘moment’ alone with this because it was hitting all the right notes with the butter and creamy flavours. With the croissant it had the perfect layered crisp and crunch that married so well together with the savoury prosciutto. This is really something you shouldn’t be sharing folks.

Eggs Benedict ($19)

Feeling thirsty for something fruity? Well the freshly squeezed Pineapple Juice ($7) was a summer pleaser as it had a mix of pineapple, pear, apple, mint and a hint of ginger. We were trying to pretend to be healthy…haha.

Pineapple Juice ($7)

Next up the Barramundi Burger ($19) that came with a thick piece of crumbed barramundi schnitzel, red cabbage slaw and was drenched in kewpie mayo sauce on a sesame seed milk bun served with a basket of salty French fries.

Barramundi Burger ($19)

The burger grabbed my full attention as I could easily taste the freshness of that evenly golden crumbed barramundi. It was beyond my expectation and certainly a burger I’d like to order again.

 B…Burrr…BBarramundi Burger

Trust me when I say this burger is worthy for your tastebuds to enjoy. The red cabbage slaw with mayo combined flawlessly with the burger as it had bold cruciferous and peppery flavour.

Side view of the Barramundi Burger

In between meals you might want to give their coffee a try as all their coffee beans come from The Grounds of Alexandria. So we opted for Moccamaster ($4) which was a batch brewed filtered coffee resulting in a heavenly clean sweet taste. You won’t get your usual bitterness but great option for filter coffee starters.

Moccamaster ($4)

And if your heart is set on the traditional brekkie dish then look no further because Breakfast Plate ($21) can sure be a real hearty meal as it includes two poached eggs, grilled chorizo, chunks of avocado, goat’s curd, roasted truss tomato, sprinkles of pomegranate, quinoa salad and on the side sourdough toast. I don’t think you need to eat dinner after this as it was an endless spread of all things nutritional.

Breakfast Plate ($21)

I could happily look at the Acai Bowl ($16) all day as it was just too pretty to eat. This so called bowl but served on a plate contained half sliced strawberries, generous sprinkles of blueberries, a piece of banana, chia seeds, crushed almonds, shredded coconut & the most importantly granola. It was all high in antioxidants and incorporated into this sugar-free and healthy breakfast. Winning for the health junkies out there!

Acai Bowl ($16)

At Flower Child Café on the weekends you’re best off dining in groups of two or four as it’s quite a train long wait. As for service it was surprisingly efficient and hassle free when ordering. Now for the food and beverage it was reasonable for what you pay for and I was quite surprised how the Barramundi Burger tasted, thumbs up.

 

Photos by Vanny Tang

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MINI POT Chatswood Soft Opening- Buffet Hot Pot Deal

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There’s not many places in Sydney where restaurants offer hot pot buffet and doesn’t break the wallet. This winter, MINI HOT POT has just opened up in the heart of Chatswood and it is just perfect timing to visit when Mother Nature is being so damn cold. Instead of standing next to a heater all night to keep myself warm my thoughts turned to ALL YOU CAN EAT HOT POT. The hot pot buffet prices for Monday to Thursday dinner, $26.88 per person or Friday to Sunday $28.88 per person. If you’re a keen bean and can’t wait for dinner then during lunch hour from Wednesday to Sunday $20.88 per person. There’s a fair bit of novelty, so keep in mind to only bring an empty stomach. Besides all you can eat, their buffet is 2 hours limit, so you don’t have to rush stuffing your face with a mixture of foods.

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Ready to take on the ALL YOU CAN EAT hot pot?

Just look how practical it is to have your own electronic stove. What’s even more cool and high-tech is there are 3 buttons for you to adjust the boiling levels (small, medium and large). I seriously wouldn’t mind having one of these at home. Teehee.

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 How hot is the electronic stove? They’re installed into the tables.

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Spacious seating at MINI POT Chatswood

The original chicken soup base comes with the buffet package, but if you wish to challenge your tastebuds or try other soup base flavours then it will cost extra, depending on what you order. The key to a successful pot of chicken soup is adding different ingredients and making sure the chicken is properly seasoned. The chicken gives the soup base its distinctive character. Here at MINI POT, the broth is the soul of the hot pot.

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 Original chicken soup base

Spicy beef soup was fragrant with spiciness but the chopped chili was horrifyingly hot and can only be wanted for the chili lovers. To compare its very own sister restaurant, CQL MINI POT spicy beef soup is better as it contains more herbal elements. Overall, this soup is perfect to order when Mother Nature wants to provide a crazy windy weather outside.

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 Spicy beef soup (additional $2)

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 A variety of fresh greens

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 Continue the veggie madness!

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 Not every day you get to see kelp and black fungus on the menu.

So like, how many frozen scrolls of thinly sliced lamb, beef or pork can you handle? I mean these cook ridiculously fast that you’d question if you ate some or not. It’s super easy to cook and goes so well with any sauce. It seems every single time I try to refill my plate, the meat section seems to never end.

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MEATASAURUS Vanny is here!!! (Lamb, Beef, Pork)

Are you ready to make your own sauce? If you don’t know where to begin, I think it’s vital to at least grab a small bowl of soy sauce. There is no secret to creating an awesome sauce as MINI POT provides friendly advice to create your own mixture. There’s so many sauces to choose from such as peanut butter, black bean, soy sauce, sesame, hoisin and many many more.

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 Create your own sauce at the sauce bar.

My plate was full and it’s so great you have the opportunity to try a bit of everything. Starting from left we have sliced lambfishclamsbean curdquail eggspork blood jelly, handmade noodles and mushroom.

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Round 1 tray

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 Quail eggs and clams are great for hot pot.

If you’re feeling thirsty, they have really traditional Asian drinks that I highly recommend giving a go. The Chinese prune drink ($4) is a very mysterious beverage in many restaurants. It’s not your ordinary prune juice as it provides a tangy flavour to it but it does contain a sweet after taste. For the Wang Lao Ji ($4), it’s one of the super popular drinks in mainland China. It’s a drink that you’ll love forever as it has a unique sweetness with just a mildly characteristic herbal taste.

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 Prune drink and Chinese traditional (Wang Lao Ji) drink ($4 each)

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 Got to pace yourself with buffet hot pot. 

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Must try the handmade noodles, so tasty.

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 Noodles are ready to eat.

Almost reaching halfway through to my hot pot, the owner of MINI POT, Simon greets us with dessert. A massive bowl of tofu pudding with red bean ($6.80) arrives at our table and it’s just so satisfying to see dessert was ready and waiting for me.

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A HUGE bowl of tofu pudding with red bean.

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 Rice cake at the hot food section

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 Spring onion pancakes are ready to eat.

Besides hot pot, noodles is on the menu. You’d be head over heels with the Dry Noodle with Minced Pork ($12.80) as the noodles was a perfect cradle for the porky sauce. This dish radiates with the vibrance of spring with the green bok choy and chopped spring onions. Oh boy it is filling when you’re having it with hot pot as well. Please note: the portion we ordered is not the exact one as we requested a smaller version.

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Dry Noodle with Minced Pork ($12.80)

It’s such a brilliant way to spice up boring tofu with noodles. So the Noodle with Tofu Pudding ($10.80) is remarkably delicious and it will leave you satisfied. It’s a triumph of textures and flavours and a touch of sweetness from the tofu. Please note: the portion we ordered is not the exact one as we requested a smaller version.

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 Noodle with Tofu Pudding ($10.80)

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The tofu pudding is  so silky and smooth.

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Feasting for close to 3 hours is FUN.

At first glance, herbal jelly for some people might scrunch up their nose to eat  this, but the taste is pretty unreal. With a mash up with fresh cut watermelon and bite-sized pieces of herbal jelly it is a great way to end a Chinese hot pot meal.

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AGAINSimon surprises us with a large bowl of fresh cut watermelon with herbal jelly.

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Table for one ? Sure, MINI POT can do that.

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 OH MY GOD! It’s…it’s dessert hour. (Excuse the facial expression) 😀

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Don’t feel like hot pot? Then there’s plenty of seats for À la carte diners.

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 Outdoor and function seating is available at MINI POT.

The service at MINI POT in Chatswood is attentive and friendly. It’s so close to the station that if you’re belly is extremely full and you don’t feel like driving, then training it home is the safer option to go. For dinner, I think $26.88 per person on weekdays or $28.88 per person on weekends is pretty reasonable, so it won’t hurt your wallet too much. I’ve come across some hot pot places and they charge by the plate for the same kind of foods for $5 or more. Don’t forget this buffet package also includes hot food and desserts which is WIN.

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 Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended with a guest thanks to MINI POT Chatswood.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

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iPot Chatswood – A Modern Way of Hot Potting

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Hot pot can be made in a variety of ways, for example the newly opened iPot  minutes away from Chatswood station has taken inspiration from a fusion of traditional Chinese cooking and Australian cuisine. The fun factor about this hot pot experience is custom made electric tables allowing EACH CUSTOMER to boil your own selection of ingredients to their liking. The restaurant has been furnished with comfy leathery red chairs and inbuilt glossy hotplates for… you guessed it HOT POT. What’s different about iPot and ordinary hot pot is their soup bases. You’ll be convinced to try all available options because of its unique components. In other words, it’s WORTH a HOT POT VISIT.

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Oh look at the sauce bar…feeling saucy 😛

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Unlimited supply of sauces for ($4 per head)

Pay extra EXTRA attention to the sauce bar, you can’t miss it! One of the more intriguing option that I came across is the minced beef sauce. The cooked minced beef is marinated with flavours of garlic oil. Feel free to double or triple the sauce if you like it really really SAUCY.

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WOW, Minced Beef Sauce, now that’s interesting.

Do you like a bit of spice in your life? If you can handle ultra hot chilli then Hot and Spicy Soup Pot ($9) is pleading for you to order it. This pot arrives with a mass of dried chilli, black cardanin, fennel seeds, peppercorn and floating dried bay leaves. You must watch the spicy soup bring to a steady bubbly boil because it looks like a potion pot, haha. Heads up, this soup may cause a good tongue paralysis.

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Hot and Spicy Soup Pot ($9)

In addition, staring me right in the face is the Soy Milk Seafood Pot ($12) – Similarly to Masuya but not even close  to taste is a soy milk and miso soup with added SEE-FOOD ingredients hidden like prawnclamscallopmussel, two pieces of crab leg. It looks great and the milky broth is completely a combination of Japanese and Western invention.

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Soy Milk Seafood Pot ($12)

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Found some treasure in my Soy Milk Seafood Pot

It’s also remarkable that iPot serve Smokey Mushroom Pot ($7) – A mixture of savory, smokey broth with a culmination of earthy mushrooms, gojitomatocup mushrooms and Chinese mushrooms. The flavour is a nice balance of sweet and salty but it’s also terrific with a toss of sliced meat being dunked into this flavoursome pot to add additional savory flavour.

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Smokey Mushroom Pot ($7)

Totes up to you which ingredients you’d want to cook. For me, I couldn’t resist the Beef and Lamb Combination ($22) – Dunk those frozen slices of beef or lamb into the pot and watch it slowly swirl and that’s when you know it’s cooked.

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Beef and Lamb Combination ($22)

It’s rare to see Abalone Mushroom ($8) so when we saw this on the menu we HAD TO ORDER IT. Its name is resemblance to the abalone shellfish. When cooked it has a solid, meaty texture. They have a juicy flavour and at times slippery texture with light anise scent.

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Abalone Mushroom ($8)

You may also want to try Dried Bean Curd ($4) – Might sound or look enticing ingredient but it’s texture is very silky and is made from the skin that forms on soymilk. They also have a delicious chewiness if combined with other ingredients like pork fat or mushrooms. Much like the texture of tofu, these bean curd absorb the flavours of whatever you chuck inside your pot.

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Dried Bean Curd ($4)

Serious Asians tend to order the Fresh Chrysanthemum greens ($5) when it’s hot pot hour. If you fancy the natural fragrant smell of chrysanthemum flowers, then consider ordering these greens. When boiled these chrysanthemum greens contain a mildly grassy, herbaceous taste and texture. With the stalks they bring out the sweetness and slightly remain crunchy even when dunked in hot broth.  

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Fresh Chrysanthemum greens ($5)

It’s up to you to order the Handmade Noodles ($5) but I am telling you, this bowl does offer fresh exquisite stringy noodles. It’s very stomach-nourishing with rich flour fragrant, so it’s a YES for me.

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Handmade Noodles ($5)

Some of the more captivating options include Fresh Shrimp Wah ($13)– The trick to preparing the shrimp wah is to not to toss the entire thing in. So when the pot is simmering, it’s best to use a spoon and scoop it into dollops of round balls. It doesn’t have to look that professional, as long as you find it pretty enough to eat.

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Fresh Shrimp Wah ($13)

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Looks round enough…HAHA

Behold the tofu is frozen, yes it’s literally FROZEN! I normally eat tofu when it’s extra silky and soft, but what changed was the the flavour and texture when I witness the Frozen Tofu ($5). If you look closely the water context inside the tofu looks like crystals. This technique does give the tofu a toothsome texture.

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Frozen Tofu ($5)

There are plenty of more adventurous dishes like Mushroom and Pork Mini Wah ($7) – which is a mash up of porkgarlic and mushroom. These juicy little meatballs beautifully go so well with the hot pot. Fantastic flavour when coated with your soup base. You’ll feel good when stuffing your stomach with these- they’re creatively delectable.

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Mushrooms and Pork Mini Wah ($7)

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Did you know…these Mini Wah are handmade.

These pretty Cuttlefish and Oyster Wah ($18) has infused a lot of cuttlefish and oyster flavour. You’d want to continue eating these until it’s all gone. You can’t go wrong with these because they are perfectly prepared with no mess and no fuss.

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Cuttlefish and Oyster Wah ($18)

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Are you aware these oysters are delicious?

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An oyster is hidden in there!!!

We ended up paying $35 per head between 4 people and managed to eat a large froyo afterwards. You’d be fascinated with the sauce bar but be warned that’s additional ($4) per head and they didn’t bother to mention that to us. I personally think they qualify as a unique hot pot with their range of soup base and dishes like Cuttlefish and Oyster WahMushrooms and Pork Mini Wah and Fresh Shrimp Wah. If I didn’t have to think about the cost of each plate then I’d come here every night during winter.

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Photos by Vanny Tang

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