It’s quite clear that Sydneysiders (and food lovers in general) are obsessed with discovering the next culinary craze. While not all culinary hybrids take off, some fusions make you question why it wasn’t a thing sooner. If there’s anything that I love about mash-ups, it’s that you get to enjoy the best of both worlds… just like Hannah Montana did. Trying out a new culinary hybrid has become a tradition for my friends and I. Whether it’s a churro bowl or one of my new personal discoveries – brownie cookie sandwiches – we make the trek to wherever it can be found; sometimes against their will but hey, what are friends for right? In partnership with FUZE TEA who share our love for delicious fusions such as Mango & Chamomile, Raspberry & Hibiscus and Apple & Lemongrass, we present to you – Our guide to Sydney’s best culinary mash-ups and where to get them!
Cronuts – Devon Café
Combining the euphoric joy one may feel from enjoying a buttery, flaky croissant and a fluffy deep fried doughnut, inventor Dominique Ansel introduced the Cronut® in May of 2013 in his small bakery in New York. You know when they say “imitation is the best form of flattery”, well, Ansel has had a clear impact in the global food scene, prompting bakers from around the world to interpret the cronut in their own home country.
I must say; cronuts were one of the first ‘foodie’ things I ever posted on Instagram back in the day. Was it a good photo? No not really but it just goes to show how this single dessert experienced an online viral frenzy across all borders, with it’s exposure and craze spreading like wildfire.
In Australia, it was Adriano Zumbo who first introduced his spin with ‘zonuts’. However, having personally tasted and experienced a cronut from the original creator at his Tokyo branch, you can trust me when I say that Devon’s interpretation is by far one of the more superior ones that Sydney has to offer. What makes Devon’s different from the rest, starts off with the shape; offering up square sized cronuts or ‘Cronnies’ as they are called. Staying true to their roots, a key differentiator in my opinion has to do with their range of flavours – exuberating their Asian heritage, they have released flavours ranging from black sesame, matcha with red bean and pork floss with a sweet mayo, alongside more western flavours such as raspberry, dark chocolate and salted caramel with a crème brulee filling (as seen below).
What I personally love about these cronuts is that you can taste each individual layer of pastry (and not a puddle of oil), but when you take your first bite, there’s a clear crunch where all these layers compress slightly and meld with the flavoured filling providing just enough sweetness and creaminess without it being too sickening. Devon’s cronuts are usually sprinkled over with a generous dose of a flavoured sugar or a biscuit crumb that’s dusted over the top of the cronut like confetti – all these components just work together so well that make it one of the best sweet treats out there.
It’s actually refreshing to see that this particular mash-up is still popular after so long and is constantly changing with new and exciting flavours and interpretations being introduced monthly by different bakers. We’ve seen cronuts with frostings and components that parade over the top and cronuts with syringes filled with syrup stuck in the middle – I still say Devon on Danks remain up there as one of the better variations in Sydney.
Devon on Danks
2 Danks Street, Waterloo, Sydney NSW
Phone:(02) 9698 7795
Web: Devon on Danks
Ramen Burgers – One Tea Lounge
Taking this love for fusion to the next level, One Tea Lounge have truly pioneered the idea of ‘fusion burgers’ on their modern-Asian menu, boasting creations such as the Baoger™ and the Ramen Burger.
First introduced in the US in 2013 by inventor – Keizo Shimamoto, the Original Ramen Burger™ found it’s humble roots being sold at an outdoor flea market in Brooklyn with only 150 being sold at each time. The Ramen burger is what you would expect; a meat patty cooked to a medium-rare and slathered in a ‘secret’ shoyu sauce, dressed with a spiced rocket salad sandwiched between two fried ramen noodle buns and garnished with green onions on top.
Staying in tune with the US’ love for the Ramen Burger, David Yip (owner of One Tea Lounge) brought his own interpretation of the online viral burger to Sydney, making its debut at the Night Noodle Markets in 2013. The burger was an instant crowd favourite with it being named as one of the top dishes at the markets that year.
I remember when I first tried the ramen burger, it was a totally different burger to what it is today; David confirms the difference in flavour and texture was a result of his continued experimentation. There was no recipe when it was first made but this has since become a very refined and well-executed menu item.
One Tea Lounge’s take on the Ramen Burger has a unique flavour profile that gives it it’s own identity and not simply a ‘remake’ of the original. There’s a distinct sweetness in the ramen bun that comes from the sugar component within a special sauce that the ramen is soaked in before it is formed in the bun shape; from here, the ramen bun is then frozen to retain its shape, and shallow-fried to order. The sauce that binds the ramen adds a layer of flavour with both sweet and savoury notes that mingle with the beef patty that is glazed with a teriyaki sauce. There’s a sharp hit of spice at the end of each bite that comes from a sriracha sauce but that is quickly cooled down with the caramelized sweetness from the crusty ramen bun. The juices from the burger dance with the complex flavours of the ‘secret sauce’ while your tongue separates the noodles as you take each bite; all this just adds to a different experience you won’t ever get from any other burger.
One Tea Lounge & Grill
Upper Ground Floor, 73 York Street, Sydney NSW
Phone:(02) 9279 3311
Web: One Tea Lounge & Grill
Cheeseburger spring rolls – Ms Gs
Now, this would have to be one of my favourite recent discoveries – Cheeseburger Spring Rolls at Ms.G’s. I’ve always thought of Executive Chef Dan Hong as a culinary genius but this mash-up cements that as a fact! It’s amazing how fusing together two all-time favourites from opposite ends of the spectrum can conjure up a surprising flavourful experience. As cliché as it is – it really is an ‘East Meets West’ dish; but done right.
From the moment it is placed in front of you, preconceptions form on what you think it will taste like as they deceptively look like ordinary spring rolls from any regular local Asian restaurant. I’ll admit, it’s quite hard to impress me, but it is not until you take your first bite that all those predetermined thoughts are chucked out the window and you are flooded with the warm, comforting and hearty connotations that a burger brings; all encased within a shattering crunchy exterior.
Don’t really want to sound #basic, but if you can imagine an upscale Big Mac from McDonalds in a spring roll wrapper – it’s exactly that. From the intense cheesiness mixed with the sharp tang of pickles and crispness of onions that’s riding on a wave of smoothness from tomato ketchup and the sweet yet sour undertones of mustard; it all works well in adding layers upon layers of flavour on top of the meatiness of minced beef. It is these moments that really make or break culinary hybrids. Wow us enough, and we return for the experience, not just the novelty of the fusion.
155 Victoria Street, Potts Point, Sydney NSW
Phone:(02) 9240 3000
Web: Ms. G’s
Conuts (doughnut ice-cream cone) – Tella Balls Dessert Bar
Not to be mistaken by the cronut, these conuts are a very recent creation, being introduced in February of this year at the Good Food Café and Bakery in Prague. It’s quite clever actually, taking a traditional European dessert of Chimney Cake (or funnel doughnuts) and using it as a new way to enjoy soft serve. Just like most successful mash-ups nowadays, conuts first became a social media sensation before being replicated by other bakers globally.
In Sydney, the creators behind the Tella Balls Dessert Bar were one of the first to introduce their own version but with their own signature spin. The doughnut cone itself has a crunchy exterior with a soft and chewy texture, almost reminiscent of brioche. It is then lined with a generous smearing of Nutella on the inside and filled with a swirl of Nutella soft serve with a dripping of melted chocolate running down the side of the cone. You can’t go wrong with one of God’s gifts he blessed our lives with – not Beyoncé but Nutella. Overall, it is a very delicious dessert as the cold smooth soft serve contrasts the toasted doughnut cone. The rich hazelnut and chocolate notes of the soft serve also pairs well with the cinnamon sugar dusted on the outside of the cone. There’s a certain euphoria you feel from enjoying doughnut and ice cream, and this dessert combines the two.
Tella Balls Dessert Bar
372 New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill, Sydney NSW
Phone:(02) 8384 4500
Web: Tella Balls Dessert Bar
Italian + Asian Fusion – ACME
To be quite honest, I rarely order pasta when dining out as there’s always something more intriguing on the menu. ACME has definitely changed that.
Challenging the status quo of what is expected from a bowl of pasta, Chef Mitch Orr’s take on macaroni is a culinary experience in itself. This particular pasta dish is loosely linked to its Italian heritage but has no sauce and takes an Asian turn in a style I am very well familiar with – Filipino sisig. The first time I tasted sisig, I thought it was the richest, tastiest and spiciest Filipino meat dish to accompany rice. Traditionally it uses the cheaper cuts of meats from the pig’s head, ears, liver and pork belly. Reflective of a traditional sisig, ACME’s macaroni dish too contains pig’s head.
It certainly is a multi-layered pasta bowl that will liven up your taste buds – starting you off with a hit of sourness from calamansi juice and vinegar, it is followed closely by the rich saltiness from soy sauce and then gives off a little kick in the back of the throat with chilli and ending with the soothing creaminess of the egg yolk. If you ever get the chance to dine at ACME, and I highly suggest you do – you’ll thank me later 😉
60 Bayswater Road, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney NSW
Phone:(02) 8068 0932
It’s quite clear that culinary fusion mash-ups are something that Sydney can’t get enough of; who knows what the next big food trend will be. What I’m sure of, is that these aforementioned fusions are here to stay and will be lasting in Sydney’s food scene for more years to come.
This post was made possible thanks to FUZE TEA