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The latest excitement in the land of Parramatta is Sweet Street Bakery. Part of the local council's initiative to revamp the area and turn it into more of a foodie destination, the pop-up of Sweet Street brings the shabby chic look from the likes of Surry Hills to an unlikely location beside a strip of discount shops on Church Street.

Incentives such as subsidised rent means world class chefs such as Leanne Beck (of Sweet Infinity fame) are lured to set up exciting new ventures here that otherwise would've stayed in the Eastern Suburbs or the city CBD.

While many restaurants and cafes pay hundreds of thousands to create this charming rustic ambience, Leanne seems to have pulled it off rather effortlessly. She proudly talks of her frugal approach, pointing out bits and pieces that were sourced from Gumtree. 

The result is a refreshing hangout spot and amazingly delicious baked treats at impressively affordable price points.

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - shabby chic decor

One offer are croissants ($4) in chocolate, almond or plain. There's a 9" flourless chocolate cake for $40, the lightest and most fragrant lime cheesecake ($5) you will ever taste, and farm fresh apples and oranges for juicing!

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - chocolate croissants, honeycomb chocolate cake, farm fresh apples and oranges, lime cheesecakes

Lemon meringue tarts, strawberry & custard tarts and blueberry & custard tarts are a steal for just $3 each. Vanilla custard eclairs are $5.50 - a little dearer to reflect the effort required to produce them.

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - fruit tarts, eclairs, banana cakes

There are also marshmallow logs coated in coconut for just $3! Ah, the options!

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - old school marshmallows

The baked goods on offer just keep rolling on - apple pie for $5 per slice, plum & frangipane tart for $35 whole or $4.50 per slice, strawberry friands for $4...

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - friands, pistachio slices, more tarts

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - apple pie tart

Leanne is also bringing back the old fashioned tea cake! These banana tea-cakes are a great addition to any afternoon tea at just $12 each!

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - old fashioned tea cakes

We also try the housemade vanilla bean pannacotta lamington ($4.50 each) which seems to be all the rage at the moment but I'm reserving my judgement 'til I've had the one at Flour & Stone so stay tuned!

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - dessert tasting: lamingtons, pistachio slices, strawberry friands

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - blueberry and custard tarts, marshmallows

If you can look beyond the enchanting display of sweets, Sweet Street also make some mean sausage rolls and pies ($5 each). I sample the chicken and corn pie; the pastry is beautiful and flaky and the meat is chunky and wholesome.

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta - chicken and corn pies

Only a few months old, this French-inspired patisserie's future is promising! There are even plans for it to expand into a hands-on cooking school!

Sweet Street Bakery
Shop 17, 162-172 Church Street, Parramatta, NSW

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Short Sweet Bakery on Urbanspoon

JENIUS dined as a guest of Sweet Street Bakery

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As the Miss Eat-out-a-lot in my family and circle of friends, decisions on where we dine at are usually up to me. You'd think that I'd know my family best, but for some bizarre reason, I thought a family dinner at Bodhi in the Park would be a fun idea! We're a family with larger than life appetites (search up #lamfamilyeats on Instagram), and everybody but me are massive meat eaters. 

Oh wait, my brother was forced to go onto a temporary vegetarian diet for health reasons recently. That's right... So I thought the entire family should also see how tasty meatless food could be! 

Bodhi in the park - ice ginger tea, $6.50

The restaurant is very dimly lit; first signs that it's more of a date night restaurant than a family restaurant.

Starters range from $4.50 to $14.50 and mainly feature dishes from their daytime yumcha operation. We whet our appetites with double orders of edamame beans with rock salt ($4.50), tempura Australian field mushrooms with BBQ sauce ($8.50) and steamed savoury sticky rice flower buns (3 pieces for $8).

The sticky rice buns are an all-time favourite dim sim dish of mine. I love the fragrance of the sticky rice, although this one is a little oily. The batter on the mushrooms aren't tempura style as promised but they're crunchy and still satisfy.

So far, so good. Everything disappears off the plates in seconds and the balance of flavours and textures between the three dishes offers much sought-after variety.

Bodhi in the park - edamame beans, tempura mushrooms, flower buns, curry

Onto main course, we're recommended the Malaysian curry with lychees, asparagus, pineapple, snow peas, cabbage, tofu, tomatoes, bamboo shoots and cashew nuts ($20). Familiar with more punchy Malaysian curries, this one sits on the bland end of the scale.

We're more excited about the Bodhi vegetarian Peking 'duck' (4 pieces of pancake per serve, $23 and $2 extra per 2 pancakes) which is presented just like traditional Peking duck, except with some sort of deep-fried tofu or gluten served as the mock meat. Unfortunately, this falls flat on expectations as the batter is too heavy and overpowers any taste of what was inside.

Bodhi in the park - peking duck pancake

Thankfully it all picks up from here. The Asian stuffed fresh shiitake mushroom and capsicum with a black bean dressing ($21.50) is absolutely gorgeous and the tossed kailan with basil and 'beef' nuggets with mushroom jus ($16.50) is also a hit.

The fried eggplant ($19.50) is another winner; dry roasted peanut spices are sprinkled over fried eggplant parcels which feature a hidden trove of fragrant minced celery, coriander, tofu and mushrooms.

I also love the salt & pepper silky tofu salad ($18.50) served with sesame, wakame, cucumber, baby leaves, fresh mint and yuzu dressing and would happily have a plate of this as lunch every day.

Bodhi in the park - stuffed mushrooms/capsicums, tofu salad, eggplant, kailan with nuggets

There were plenty of hits and misses and some stomachs left slightly hungry. I'm definitely writing this one off as a dinner restaurant my family would visit ever again, but I'll be returning for the outdoor vegetarian yum-cha with or without them! With a reputation of being a leading Vegetarian restaurant for 24 years, I'm not ready to give up on this one yet. Yum cha, here we come!

Bodhi in the Park
Cook & Phillip Park Leisure Complex
4 College Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9360 2523

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Bodhi in the Park on Urbanspoon

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It is packed full of delicious awesomeness! You can expect to find a behind-the-scenes look at JENIUS, plus a re-cap of recent eats and fresh stories, and sometimes we throw in exclusive giveaways!

Here is the latest issue:
Issue#28 December 2012

JENIUS is Jennifer Lam's gourmet logbook covering restaurant reviews, thoughts on trialled kitchen appliances & gadgets, tested and tasted recipes & cookbooks, travel stories and her quest to discover and preserve her family heritage and its cuisine.

Jennifer is a twenty-something Sydneysider living the dream - having switched her successful career in advertising for the life of a Gen-Y entrepreneur. Her current business interests include I Ate My Way Through food tours and The Bamboo Garden boutique digital agency.

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I Ate My Way Through Granville featured in Parramatta Advertiser's article on A Stroll to Lebanon

Jennifer Lam, Editor of JENIUS, a nominee in Cosmopolitan's Fun Fearless Female Women Of The Year Awards 2010 - Blogger Category

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