Australia – Franklin noms @ Vivo cafe, Meet Fresh

Posted by on July 26, 2012

We haven’t really planned anything for the last day, as we anticipated a degree of fatigue build up and not wanting to push ourselves too hard in the face of a working day tomorrow, we resolve to just wonder around the CBD and just grind the time away until the designated time to catch the airport shuttle.

After we checked out of the hotel, we wondered along George street for a good place to get some breakfast. We thought about Ding Tai Fung but we only realized the branch off George Street doesn’t open until 10… then we saw this cafe on the ground floor:

Vivo cafe – shopfront

Wifey remembered reading something good about a Vivo cafe in Sydney and thought this was the place, so we immediately sat down and ordered something as we actually haven’t eaten anything since waking up!

Scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon

Wifey ordered the above and… it wasn’t anything special. The scrambled eggs were nicely done, but what you see in the photos was what we got… average looking ingredients sitting in a plate together, but don’t quite fit together at the same time.

Bacon and egg omlette

The same with my omlette as well, sadly. The cheesy taste was nice, but the lackluster looking pieces of bread really didn’t help my appetite at all.

mocha and soy latte

Washing down the dry bread with Vivo’s coffee tasted… OK, actually. A bit stronger than the uber brews we had on the first day, but nothing special. It seemed to be the theme for whatever we ordered from this cafe! But this was also the cheapest sit-down meal we’ve had in Sydney, not as cheap as Bowl bar Oiden mind you, but cheap enough to us during our short stay in Sydney.

We also bought something from this Japanese bakery just off George street that we’ve been intrigued about every since we walked past it on the first day. I didn’t take a photo of it but the bread we tried from them was actually really good, so it’s getting a special mention! It’s called Fuji Pan japanese bakery and we saw a lot of interesting flavors that Asian bakeries in Auckland didn’t do… wish I had taken some photos now! If anyone has tried this bakery please let me know what you think?

After the big breakfast, we resolved to walk for at least half an hour in order to digest all the bread we’ve just ingested. We didn’t really see anything interesting except for the fact that we must have walked past 4-5 places featuring rotating sushi. After walking until we felt some room has been made, we decided to stop by one particular shop… which I could not find the name for, sadly. A plea to those in Sydney – please let me know if any of the food pictures remind you of the sushi place’s name!!!

Sirloin sushi roll

This was something special that I’ve not seen at other Kaiten / rotating sushi places in Auckland. They’ve done the sirloin just right, medium well with fat juices flowing over the rice. The sushi rice was just OK, not as soft as say Hiyashi’s but at least not hard tasting like overnight rice. Combined with the onion and lettuce this was like a steak + sushi experience rolled into one! Sadly I had ordered this after roughly 10 other plates of sushi and couldn’t make room for more… otherwise I would definitely have kept ordering!

Chawanmushi / steamed egg custard

This was an average steamed egg custard; the best wifey has experienced was at Katsura in Auckland’s Renedevouz hotel. Though this particular dish was not lacking in the ingredients, the egg could’ve been firmer and probably a stronger stock would’ve improved the taste… but we weren’t expecting the best, and wifey was happy to have stumbled on some decent chawanmushi at the end of our trip unexpectedly!

Spicy tuna roll

Though there weren’t any special tastes, the tuna was fresh and the seaweed not soggy. The chilli / five-species powder didn’t really add any kick to the tuna roll for me.

Baked oyster with cheese

This was not as oily as it sounded or looked, as the upper portion of the oyster was a kind of baked creamy salad with cheese. As it had been making its way around the conveyour belt, the oyster within was a bit warm rather than piping hot, which would’ve made the oyster delicious…

Eel nigiri

We were pleasantly surprised when we took a plate of the eel nigiri, as we didn’t realize how many pieces of eel was actually wrapped per nigiri – 2 fat pieces of eels glazed with kabayaki sauce. The eels tasted fairly fresh, as there was barely any fish scent that usually accumulates when the fish has been around for a while. I personally think that there could’ve been a bit more rice to go with the huge portion of eel, as the kabayaki sauce is fairly strong and having more rice would help balance it out. Definitely value for money.

Flame seared salmon nigiri / Aburi salmon

The aburi salmon nigiri was nice, and I managed to gather enough self-control to take a photo before eating the last one. I didn’t think the roe added anything except a crunchy texture to the nigiri, and the sauce was a bit on the salty side. However the part of the salmon used was a bit fatty which I liked, and again significantly larger than the rice sitting underneath it. I probably wouldn’t mind trying their donburi next time, if they have any on the menu!


The cup of pudding we grabbed off the conveyor belt looked and tasted pretty much like those that friends have made using ready-mix ingredients from the Japanese foods section in supermarkets… it was nice, and refreshing, but nothing new. Some pudding is better than no pudding, though!

Apart from the food pictured above, we also ate a few other plates of nigiri, seaweed, salmon & avocado roll sushi, repeats of the eel sushi, and a miso soup each to help finish the meal… given that this was on top of the big breakast we just had at Vivo cafe a few hours ago, we ended up taking a longer-than-expected breather at the sushi place before feeling safe enough to start walking the food off.

In shop picture of Meet Fresh

It wasn’t long before we wandered into another food shop though… we did a quick tour around the CBD and walked toward the viaduct as there was a cafe I had earmarked to visit on King street called Mecca [link to their website here]; unfortunately the drizzle picked up, and we opted to walk back to our hotel instead to grind the hours away until the shuttle arrived…at least that was the plan, until we walked past a shop we’ve been wanting to try (seems to be a lot of places like that around when you’re in an unfamiliar city!) called Meet Fresh. The signs outside the shop says the sweet dishes they serve hails straight from Taiwan, which plays a big part in our curiosity due to the lack of such shops in Auckland…

Siganture herbal jelly

I went ahead and ordered their hot Signature herbal jelly which had Mini Taro Ball+Honey Beans+Pearls , while wifey also ordered a hot Herbal Jelly 4, which was Taro+Red Beans+Pearls. The taste was also as good as the ones we tried in Taiwan, with the herbal jelly tasting slightly minty/herby, with a tinge of bitterness to it. The texture was slightly runnier than jelly given that we had ordered the hot version, and not watery at all like some other places we’ve tried in the past. This is another place we will definitely visit again when in Sydney!

After filling our bellies to the brim once more (you can only do this so many times in a day with proper training), we hopped on the shuttle and began the short flight home while thinking of our lovely friends and the nice food that we experienced… we will meet again!

Read my previous posts about our Australia trip!
Australia – Franklin’s noms @ Bel Mondo
Australia – Franklin’s noms @ Ding Tai Fung & visiting the QVB
Australia – Franklin’s noms @ Le monde cafe; Bowl Bar Oiden
Australia trip – Sightseeing Sydney

Restaurant Details:

VIVO Cafe World Square on Urbanspoon

Price : Cheapish by Sydney standards, with huge portions. The taste isn’t great in terms of the food or coffee, but very useful in a pinch when you’re famished, on foot, and can think of no better way to spend your time than to finish a huge portion of breakfast. This is one of several VIVO cafes operating in the CBD, and the food/coffee experiences may differ!

Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon

Price : Again cheapish by Sydney standards, with what I thought was really authentic herbal jelly taste that I had experienced when we travelled back to Taiwan. It makes me jealous how there’s a shop in Sydney but none in Auckland… although their price range is slightly higher than what we’d expect to something similar, say, bubble tea for example. The ingredients seemed fresh and the store was clean despite a white color scheme that gets dirty quite easily. We would definitely recommend any of our friends to try this place out at least once, especially in the summer time.

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