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Meet the Chef

Known for adding his colourful flair to the menu at Mosman’s The Mews, Chef Ryan Cheng Qui now calls the kitchen at Marina Square’s Leaf Café & Co his home.

He’s delivered a stellar shake-up of the existing menu with inventive dishes like breakfast gnocchi or lighter than air Matcha French toast. We sent Chef Ryan a few questions to get the low-down on his foodie ideas.

Q. How did you get started as a chef?
A. I love food, so I wanted to make it myself. That passion for food made me a chef.

Q. What about food inspires you?
A. I love using fresh and interesting ingredients. I get to play and be creative with them and then share those flavours with loved ones, friends and customers.

Q. What did you add to the new menu?
A. Breakfast Eton mess, miso mushie, breakfast gnocchi, roasted pork scotch fillet, salmon Wellington.

Chef Ryan’s love for food shines through in his new, inventive menu. Classic flavour pairings and clever new twists bring his amazing dishes to life.

Q. Which Australian ingredients do you love cooking with?
A. Eggplant, beef, salmon, potato and so many more. I love locally sourced ingredients. They’re great for flavour and support local producers.

Q. What would you love to add to the menu in the future?
A. It all depends on the season, but it’s important that we use locally sourced products in our food. I love to know where all of my ingredients come from and how they’re produced – it helps me maintain quality and flavour in all of my dishes.

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, which food items would you look for?
A. I’ve never thought about it! I guess I would think about how to survive first. Then I’d start with water and fruit, until I could find more interesting flavours in my new surroundings.

Ryan’s love of food is clear. We love what he is doing with fresh flavours and inventive dining at Marina Square. Especially the new seasonal truffle menu, available for a limited time.

Now that you know a little more about the man behind the menu, don’t forget to taste it. Dine at Leaf Café & Co Wentworth Point next time you visit Marina Square.

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The secret Floating Forest

A piece of history just a stone’s throw from Marina Square.

While there are fascinating locations all over the city, one of the best places to see Sydney’s rich industrial heritage is the Parramatta River. It’s no surprise that one of the most interesting relics of the past is just offshore from Wentworth Point.

If you look carefully along the shore south of Marina Square, you’ll see it: the SS Ayrfield. But it might not seem like a boat at first, because the first thing to catch the eye is a beautiful tree growing through the hull. It’s a majestic collision of Sydney’s industrial history and its natural world.

The SS Ayrfield was built in the United Kingdom in 1911. Originally called the SS Corrimal, it was a collier (a steam-powered coal transport ship) weighing 1,140 tonnes and ran between Sydney and Newcastle.

In World War II it was purchased by the Commonwealth of Australia and used as a supply transport ship to assist American troops in the Pacific. After the war, it returned to its previous role as a collier under the Miller Steamship Company, often travelling to the company’s terminal in Blackwattle Bay. In 1972 it was finally decommissioned at age 61.

The old ship was taken to Homebush Bay for breaking up, but in the middle of the process work ceased at the shipwrecking site. The vessel – like several others nearby – was abandoned in its half-demolished state.

And then nature took over.

107-years old, the Ayrfield now resembles a floating forest. It was rediscovered in the bay in the last ten years, overgrown with huge mangrove trees.  The site is popular with photographers and tourists, but it can still be overlooked by many. Round out your day at Marina Square with a visit to the look-out point.

How to find it

Homebush Bay is about 30 minutes from downtown Sydney by car, but there are also bus and train routes. Don’t overlook the Darling Harbour ferry as an option to get there either.

The site is a half-hour walk from Rhodes Station, or 15-20 minutes from Marina Square. Once you get to the Olympic Park Archery Centre, it’s a stroll across the road to the waterfront. The ship can be seen most clearly from the walkway there.