Ever wondered what late night dining options there are around Sydney? I’m not talking just your Friday/Saturday nights. That’s pretty easy. I’m talking about the middle of the week, when say you’ve had to stay back real late at the office and you’re looking for something other than the ubiquitous 24 hrs McDonalds on your way home. Perhaps you have a hankering for late night pancakes and you can’t be stuffed making them. Perhaps, like with the food bloggers from Here Comes the Food and vue de cuisinier and myself, you just feel the urge to go out and grab a late night meal with friends, just because we can :)
This isn’t the first time I’ve been out on a late night food run. Previously runs have included hotdogs and pies at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels in Wooloomooloo with Lex and Richard, which was capped of with a slice of Adriano Zumbo’s limited edition Chocolate Mousse Cake, as seen on Masterchef Australia. More recently an outing with Yas to Kasumi for monjayaki (review by Grab Your Fork), which unfortunately wasn’t available at the time that we arrived (not available after 10:30pm, if you’re wondering). This time around, we started off in Surry Hills at a Lebanese restaurant/take away joint called Fatima’s (SMH review here).
I drive past this place to and from work everyday. Every time I’ve driven past this place, even after a really late night at the office, they always seen to be open. I’ve been here a couple of times before but I thought I’d bring the guys along to check out this place.
Ok, you might be thinking to yourself “Lebanese food. Kebab. Dodgy”. It’s not so at this place, or at least that’s how I see it. It’s not the best I’ve ever had but at the hours they’re open (2am daily from what I was told my the guy behind the counter) and the prices they charge, I find they’re a far better option than the other kebab joints in the area.
For instance, almost everything is made fresh to order. Take for instance this freshly grilled lamb shish kebab roll with hommus, tabuleh, chili sauce and garlic sauce. The lamb’s not the best tasting that I’ve ever had but for $6.50 it’s pretty good.
Take the falafel too. These aren’t the premade, reheated in the microwave, soggy and rubbery falafels you’ll often find in a falafel roll. No! These babies are fried to order, giving these delightful balls of chickpeas, sesame seeds, parsley, garlic and other spices a superbly crunchy exterior with a soft, aromatic interior. Probably a little too much garlic for some but I love garlic so it sits fine with me. At 80 cents a pop, this is something I get at least a few of each time I come to this place, regardless of what I end up buying.
The baklava here is likewise nice. Crispy exterior complementing the texture and flavour of the nutty interior. The butter syrup has just the right balance, giving a nice buttery sweetness without going overboard, like most baklava I have to date. I’d not made note of the exact price at the time but they’re around $1 a piece.
If you’re wondering about the weird lighting and crumpled bags, it’s because we ate the food at a nearby bus stop as they were only serving take away at the time we were there (around 12am).
As with most food outings involving a group of food bloggers, going to a single restaurant and then calling it a night is almost unheard of. So we kick on to Pancakes on the Rocks for dessert.
Yes, Pancakes. I know what you might be thinking. I imagine it would be something along the lines of what you would think if I’d suggested that we go to City Extra. Well, you see, it’s been somewhere in the ballpark of 15 years since I last went there. Figuring this and that there weren’t really any other dessert options that came to mind during our weekday evening outing (it was 1am by this stage), we figured why the hell not.
We started off with drinks; (clockwise, from the top left) Lime Ice Cream Soda $3.25, Caramel Swiss Shake $3.95, Marshmallow Cocoa $3.25.
Short Stack $6.95 – served with maple syrup and vanilla ice cream.
The Ultimate $12.95 – crepe filled with cream cheese & sultanas, served with a raspberry coulis, strawberry and vanilla ice cream. I had a bit of this. It wasn’t too bad. Filling might be a bit rich for someone not into cream cheese but I didn’t have an issue with it.
Hot N’ Troppo $10.95 – stack of two buttermilk pancakes served with grilled bananas, walnuts, cream, chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was a bad night or something but these were far from the best pancakes I’ve ever had. Very, very far. The pancakes were dry and tasted unpleasant. It kind of makes me wonder whether the reason I’ve not been back in the past 15 years was because I had the same experience the last time. Can’t for the life of me recall.
The rest of the dish was alright though. Enjoyed eating the grilled bananas with the walnuts and chocolate ice cream.
Ahh, thanks but I think I’ll pass.
I’m sure that there will be more late night food runs to be experienced.If you’re interested in joining in, keep an eye out for a call for a late night supper on Twitter. If you’re not already following me, you can do so at my twitter profile. Otherwise, feel free to organise one of your own :)
Do you know of any good places that opens until late (say, past midnight)? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
One final note, you may have noticed that it’s been a while since my last post. Apologies for that. A lot has been going on again in my personal/work life so posts may be somewhat infrequent. Hopefully I’ll be back to a regular posting schedule sometime in the near future.
294-296 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
Mon-Sat: 9am to 2am
Sun: 9:30am to 2am
Pancakes on the Rocks
4 Hickson Rd, The Rocks
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week.