[SYDNEY] THE UNIVERSITY OF

Jean Li Viktoria Jean Australia

Beautiful campus on a brilliant part of town, right out of the page in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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“Go on . . . Go out with me, and I’ll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again.”
“I wouldn’t go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid,” said Lily.”

(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))


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xoxo,

Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] BOURKE STREET BAKERY

Tarts and tea at the Bourke Street Bakery on a weekday afternoon. Surry Hills is home to a flourish of yuppie bars and cafes where misfits are the new chic. People no longer go to cafes seeking lattes. Instead, we pay more physical attention to the space we spend time in. Naturally, we want to surround ourselves in a creative, culturally-inspiring, aesthetically pleasing and innovative environment.

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And I found my little indie heaven on Bourke Street where Cass brought me for afternoon tea.20140719-204713-74833569.jpg

Small as it is, the cafe is nothing more than a corner-shop with tables and benches on the outside for patrons. In my opinion, dining alfresco has its definite perks! Great air, good view of the streets and biking hippies.This does not however include the fact that it started drizzling and we had to prop open our umbrellas to continue eating in the rain. Great fun it was.

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Nonetheless I loved how dilapidated the outdoor benches were. Not deliberately so, I suppose. Its concept just seemed so casual like an everyday neighbourhood bakery.20140719-204716-74836001.jpg

Ah… This, my dear friends, is the insanely good GINGER BRULEE TART. It is to-die-for. You may find a rather complex recipe at A Table For Two as adapted from Bourke Street Bakery’s cookbook but don’t expect to replicate the famed goodness! The caramel layer is perfectly burnt to crisp chewiness whilst the inside retains its custard-y moist. Infused (but not overwhelmed) by ginger, the spice added an extra zing toward an unconventional sweetness. No wonder it’s a hit at the cafe!

Bourke Street Bakery Ginger Brulee Tart

ginger brulee tart

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Aside from a fixed menu, the bakery comes up with daily specials. Apparently, I have to try their strawberry meringue tart! Yup, definitely on my to-do list, next trip to Sydney.

Bourke Street Bakery Surry Hills
633 Bourke St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] AUSTRALIA’S BEST-LOVED GELATO

I’ve finally tried Messina, voted the best gelato in Australia by the Good Food Guide!

Our double-scoop picks:
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate: salted caramel gelato with white chocolate chip, and
Tiramisu: egg, marsala and mascarpone gelato with lady finger biscuits soaked in espresso coffee
True to form, the combination tastes much better than it looks i.e. heavenly and as sinful as salted caramel may sound, its worth every damn calorie I will need to burn after scarfing this gelato cup down!20140719-203421-74061765.jpg

This one’s located at The Star, a short walk to and from Darling Harbour, Sydney CBD, Chinatown etc.
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I’m tempted to try everything on display but there’s not enough room  in my tummy after a seafood platter, sashimi and sushi from Sydney Fish Market. This must be a third-world problem – going to a foreign land, only to encounter so much good food in so little time. And then we complain of not having gastronomical variety in our own country. What a sin. I mean, look at these temptations!!20140719-203418-74058151.jpg

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Check out these GREAT FLAVOURS (taken from GelatoMessina, but watch ’em allergic hazards):
ALLERGY CHECKLIST 

– (G) Contains Gluten, (N) Contains Nuts, (E) Contains Egg, (A) Contains Alcohol

Apple Pie (G)(E) – real apple gelato with our own house made apple pie throughout
Banana Split (N) –
 caramel and banana gelato with chopped peanuts and whipped cream
Bounty
 – coconut milk gelato with desiccated coconut and choc chip
Caramelised White Chocolate 
Choc Mint – real fresh mint gelato with chocolate chip
Milk Chocolate with Choc Peanut Fudge (N)
Chocolate Fondant (N) – a rich decadent dark chocolate (contains traces of nuts)
Chocolate Chip – light cocoa gelato with chocolate chips
Coconut & Lychee – coconut milk gelato with lychee fruit
Coffee – made with real espresso coffee (seriously)
Dulce De Leche – an Argentinean caramel made by reducing milk until it becomes a sweet jam.
Gianduia Bianca (N) – white chocolate & hazelnut gelato with hazelnut praline
Gianduia (N) – chocolate & hazelnut
Hazelnut (N) – made with fresh roasted hazelnuts from Cortemilia in Italy
Italian Nougat (N)(E) (A-traces) – honey based gelato with roasted nuts, egg whites and Italian nougat
Pear & Rhubarb – fresh pear gelato with our own poached spiced rhubarb
Pistachio (N) – made with freshly ground roasted pistachios from Bronte in Italy
Poached Figs in Marsala (A)(E) – baby figs poached in Marsala (a fortified Italian cooking wine)
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate – salted caramel gelato with white chocolate chip (our biggest seller!)
Tiramisu (G)(A)(E) – egg, marsala and mascarpone gelato with lady finger biscuits soaked in espresso coffee.
Vanilla (E) – made from fresh Jersey Milk
Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit (G)(N)(E)(A-traces) – pannacotta gelato base.
Yoghurt & Berry – yoghurt gelato with poached raspberry and blueberry coulee
Yoghurt & Caramel – yoghurt gelato with dulce de leche

Sorbets (all dairy free)

Salted Coconut and Mango Salsa
Blood Orange
Chocolate Sorbet
Lemon
Lychee Martini
Mango
Pandan & Coconut – 
Pandan is a green asian leaf used in asian cooking.
Passionfruit
Raspberry
Strawberry

See what I mean? We had such a hard time choosing.

Messina at The Star
80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] DARLING HARBOUR

A weekday morning nonetheless sees throngs of students, tourists and locals alike flocking to the harbourside. Gastronomically, they only have the best! The best raved-about restaurants and eateries on UrbanSpoonAustralian Good Food Site, and TripAdvisor can be found this side of town.

Winter at Darling Harbour: chilly, breezy and picturesque. Named after Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831, the harbour is not only a key attraction on its own, but home to many of Sydney’s major tourist sites – Paddy’s Markets, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and the Australian National Maritime Museum to name a few!

20140719-203847-74327428.jpg 20140719-203846-74326508.jpgAnd on a cold morning we walked (really quickly) from The Star to Darling Harbour! Along the harbour, you’d see pirate ships, navy warships, submarines, fishing boats, and many more floating vessels. One of ’em photos that you must take at least once in your lifetime, featuring Sydney’s alluring CBD coastline:20140719-203848-74328475.jpg 20140719-203845-74325571.jpg 20140719-203850-74330459.jpg 20140719-203849-74329534.jpg 20140719-203851-74331524.jpg

In the vicinity is Sydney’s highly-acclaimed Chinatown. It is not much to say that it’s barely more than a street, with a reputation for very good Vietnamese noodles (as told to me by a Sydney born-and bred-businessman now residing in Singapore) and also Emperor’s Cream Puffs! (as recommended by Cass!) Yummy~ 20140719-204031-74431907.jpg20140719-204030-74430280.jpg 20140719-204031-74431131.jpg

Never a dull moment in Sydney~20140719-203844-74324700.jpg

Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] ADRIANO ZUMBO’S OTHERWORLDLY DELIGHTS

Viktoria Jean Li - Sydney zumbarons

So I caved in to macarons. Or zumbarons to be more accurate.
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But how could you not, after stepping into Adriano Zumbo’s at The Star, Sydney, only to be consumed by sight of an array of beautiful sugary goodness and crazy exotic macaron flavours?
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I’ll allow you to feast your eyes on foodporn ahead.

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Adriano Zumbo at the Star
Shop 1, Cafe Court, The Star/80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont NSW 2009

P.S. THANK YOU CASS FOR BRINGING ME HERE! AND AROUND SYDNEY! I’ve seen so much of Sydney’s CBD in a short time ^^

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] BRUNCH AT SYDNEY FISH MARKET

Australia’s Home of Seafood, the Sydney Fish Market, is apparently the “…largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and the world’s second largest seafood market in terms of variety outside of Japan.” Brunch after touching down in Sydney and meeting up with Cassandra (yay!) was a seafood platter for one (but damnnnn look at the humongous portion) consisting of a cheese-baked oyster, fried-bacon oyster, scallops, barramundi fillet, squids and chips, plus avocado and salmon sushi, and 150g of incredibly fresh sashimi. For the amount we paid, it’s virtually impossible to get a comparable quality anywhere else!

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We had our brunch out in the open, face to face with this breathtaking harbour view. Winter in Sydney is colder than I’d expected! 50°F or so on a July morning, plus the sea-side breeze, is enough to chill one right to his bones. Thankfully nearer to noontime the sun came out to save the day. An insane number of crazy hungry sea-gulls (or whatever insolent bird creatures they may be) kept up their attempts to steal our sashimi. So we literally guarded our food, giving them the evil eye each time one of them hovered a hairline above our heads. Never feed one, for the rest will pounce on you.

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Sashimi which made the birds go wwwwwild. These birds only pick the best to scavenge for.20140717-144158-52918329.jpg

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Everything was so good, and so fresh. It’s comparable to seafood in Japan, for sure!20140717-144155-52915443.jpg

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So here’s what goes on at the other parts of the bustling fish market: platters and platters of yummy seafood and uber fresh fare!20140717-155646-57406211.jpg

SO. BIG.20140717-155644-57404458.jpg

Oddly, the market does not reek of fishy odours like usual fish markets or literal fish markets. The air’s really clean, with a tantalizing fragrance that does not imply death and rot. YAY!

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Aside from seafood fishmongers, Sydney Fish Marker is home to numerous restaurants, cafés, a bakery, gourmet deli, greengrocer, fishing supplies store and a gift shop! So much to do, so little time! And so little stomach space T_T. Definitely coming back for more food with Cassandra. And yay I’ve got a companion! Definitely looking forward to Sydney from now on.

P.S. Meet the more well-behaved harbour-side feathered friend, just dragging his long black beak and doing his own things.20140717-160102-57662957.jpg

Sydney Fish Market
Pyrmont Bridge Rd
Pyrmont NSW Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Harbouring Intentions

Sydney Harbour Bridge Landscape

Sydney Harbour Bridge Bloggers

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Strangers of all levels are friends you’ve never met. At the idea of meeting new people I used to panic and worry about letting them come into my life, and for the past year, despite abundances of travel buddies, there are times I’d choose to explore new places alone. However I’ve come to be a bit less anal and picky of friendships. Fleeting memories with anybody are accumulative. I hold true to viewing life as much too short to make enemies, or to foul up your heart with plotting to manipulate or deceive. Be it in the workplace or out in the streets, surrendering your truest intents clears your path toward disarming the most guarded strangers. In short, hold up those white flags and declare yourself harmless. Lately, I’ve been surprised by amazing things that have happened to me.

Sydney Harbour on a Monday morning: the paths boomed with street artists, food vendors, school-kids on excursions, friendly Australians and camera-bearing, furiously-snapping tourists. City-hopping – the nomad meets metropolitan – has come to be my favourite past-time. We caught a bus from our hotel at Hilton George Street to Opera Quays, and enjoyed a long walk to Opera House, the bridge, and back. From the Circular Quays we boarded a ferry to Dahling Harbour, where the Maritime Museum was booming with people climbing aboard a war-time naval ship. Despite the really short stay in Sydney, we caught the city bug. I love the vibrance, the pulsating energy, the drive that makes people wanna come back.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Sydney Harbour Bridge So Blue

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House 3

Sydney Opera House 2

Finally I have a picture at one of Australia’s most iconic 20th Century architectural masterpieces. A creative brainchild of architect Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House was built by detailed study of its topography and relationship to the harbour plus surrounding land marks. Construction of this grand soaring white roof sails along with its massive red granite platform took 16 years and $AUD 102,000,000. On 20 October 1973, it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

How very humbling, this grand piece of art.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Bennelong Point,
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
+61 2 9250 7111

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafè

Sydney Guylian Cafe

Sydney Guylian Cafe Strawberry Tart

Sydney is home to this restaurant slash patisserie bearing the name of a famed household chocolate brand. Guylian Cafè didn’t disappoint, probably as the tarts we ordered came at a time where we were too hungry to be picky. The glazed strawberries didn’t taste as fresh as I’d imagined. But for a quick spike of blood glucose the dessert certainly worked its sugar-laden miracles.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Circular Quay
Shop 10, Opera Quays
3 Macquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia
Sun to Thurs 8am – 11pm
Fri & Sat 8am – Midnight