Restaurants are back, and where better to celebrate a post-Christmas feed or cheeky drink than at one that feels like you’re in your own backyard.
Hot-spot eateries are enjoying a post-lockdown revival after a long break that put the brakes on being able to enjoy a day out for brunch or an evening for dinner.
Hazelhurst Cafe events manager Lisa Watson said while lockdown was tough on hospitality businesses, it gave them a chance to update their menu for an exciting return.
“We’re always changing it and moving with the timed,” she said.
“COVID-19 threw the business upside down. We did home dinners over lockdown. My husband James has a good food following so it went well but it’s good to have this space back.
“It opens up onto a deck and gardens, and it’s just a great place to escape on the picnic blanket.
“We just love good food. We make what we want to eat.”
Some new mouth watering additions include the baklava, and the stunning Persian Prince Pavlova. Even a “I prefer savoury to sweet” diner would re-think their stance when this one hits the table. It’s gorgeous to look at, and a shame to ruin it with a spoon dig. Nonetheless, no regrets we imagine. Delve into a slice of pink paradise of sour winter fruits with rhubarb, pomegranate and raspberry, blood orange and passionfruit, whipped mascarpone.
But if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, so some classics have stayed, or her customers “wouldn’t let me have it”, she said.
The crispy duck salad remains the cafe’s ever popular signature dish. Nectarine, hazelnuts, witlof, watercress, radicchio, drizzled with vino cotto dressing, you may as well book just for this dish alone.
Also a stayer, the Naked Seafood Sushi. Think crab, prawn, avocado, snow peas, pickled ginger, fried Japanese noodles and ginger dressing. Who says you can’t dig into a bit more seafood after Chrissy?
If it’s a cool drink you’re after, the Frosty Fruit Martini is calling. Sip Absolut Vodka, passionfruit puree, fresh pineapple juice, fresh lime and orange bitter.
You can even order your meal or a hit of caffeine via the Allpress coffee beans, all while remaining seated, thanks to QR codes at the table.
Hazelhurst Cafe was also among the top 50 Sydney cafes listed in Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide 2022.
Also mentioned in the guide under ’10 of Sydney’s Best Pizza Joints’, was pizza restaurant My Mother’s Cousin at Bexley North.
The owners are siblings, brother and sister, Hussein and Amani Rachid and their friend Sal Senan.
They are the former owners of Lebanese bakery Nineteen 43 at Rockdale.
Together they opened the restaurant in early August in the midst of the Sydney lockdown.
“The pizzas are our take on New York style pizza,” Ms Rachid said. “They’re thin, crispy with minimal tops. The dough undertakes a 48 hour fermentation process. This makes it light and airy.”
Expect New York traditional – no pineapple to be found, and finger-llicking is encouraged.
One of the many varieties of pizzas, 13 or 15-inch include the mouth-watering white cheese with garlic confit, smoked scarmoze, pecorino romano, ricotta, caramelised onion, fresh parsley and shallots, washed down with an old school lemonade.
The restaurants is also known for its wings, which are just as popular. There are five different flavours – Korean fried, Phil’s hot sauce, chilli honey with parmigiano, lime and pepper, and original with gravy.
You wouldn’t want to miss out on the dessert. The brother’s mother makes the apple pies from scratch, served with vanilla bean soft serve.
Hazelhurst Cafe is at 782 Kingsway, Gymea, 8536 5755 and My Mother’s Cousin is at 9 Shaw St, Bexley North, 0410 913 335.