The Rocks and Circular Quay Restaurants, Sydney

4 out of 5 stars 84 Reviews

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    Portobello Caffe: $20 Aussie Breakfast with Fabulous Views

    by aussiedoug Updated Jan 19, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Brekkie remains with view!

    Click on my attached photo to enlarge it & you'll see what I mean when I say that the view IS the ambience!

    I had a late-ish breakfast there this morning & it was a genuine pleasure to sit outdoors ovelooking the waters of Circular Quay & Sydney Harbour while looking at the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge slightly to my left with our other tourist icon, the Opera House about 50m away slightly on my left. To enjoy this on a lovely warm morning with a lovely mild breeze cooling me down just nicely & there's not a lot more you can ask for.

    Favorite Dish: The title above alludes to what I had. The "Aussie Breakfast" is $20 and for your $20 (Australian) you get the following:

    2 fried eggs,
    4 rashers of bacon,
    2 halves of tomato,
    3 slices of wood fired bread - toasted with butter,
    juice of your choice (apple for me)
    & either espresso coffee or tea. I actually had a mocha & I was not charged any extra for it even though a mocha is more expensive than an expresso on their menu.

    Now I have to be perfectly honest with you. I wouldn't rave about the food. I much prefer either poached or scramble eggs, but neither was a choice either as part of the "Aussie Breakfast" or as a stand alone dish. The coffee was not too bad, but certainly not great. Having said that I am rather fussy when it comes to my tucker (aussiespeak for food) & maybe even more so when it comes to my coffee. I am sure that many people would enjoy that Brekkie much more than I did so I will look forward to any VTers who try this place telling me their honest opinions. We are all individuals after all & see things differently.

    You have to order & pay,first & then are given a number after which you find a table, sit down & put your number up on your table. So, if you are 2 or more then, 1 person order & pay while the other/s ges/get the prime position closest to the water. That is if you are a couple. All the table of 4 are back one row from the water's edge. I was lucky as I was looking like I'd be sitting at a 4 tabel, but a lady left while I was procrastinating & I was able to grab that table. Again I say, click on this photo to see, not the remains of my brekkies (lol), but just part of the lovely view I enjoyed.

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    Latte Bros Cafe: Gr8 spot for lunch after walking the Bridge

    by aussiedoug Updated Nov 17, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nurses Walk & Latte Bros to the right

    After visiting the Bridge Pylon Lookout I needed to have lunch before heading back out of the city.

    When you are in the Rocks you are met with a bit of a plethora of choices & quite frankly it's hard to know in advance what will be a tourist trap with rip off prices or what will be reasonable value with reasonable food.

    Well I got the latter with Latte Bros' Cafe. Being a lovely spring day it was very enjoyable sitting out on their little verandah overlooking Nurses Walk (there is some historical info behind that name, but that can wait for a future must see tip I think & no I didn't see any nurses. lol!) as it was in the shade, but still warm enough.

    The food was quite satisfactory & met my needs of something light enough, but still substantial enough with a fruit juice then followed by my usual Mocha on Soy Milk.

    Latte Bros Cafe was a finalist in the 2003 Metropolitan Excellent Coffeeshop Awards & I wonder how they'll go in this year's awards.

    They are open for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea & also offer devonshire teas thoughout the day. They have a take away (take out for you Americans) service as well. Also, one of the good things is that they are BYO so you can bring your favourite bottle of Vin Blanc/Vino Bianco or Vin Rouge/Vino Rossi without breaking the bank paying outrageous mark-ups in as you do in licensed restaurants.

    Favorite Dish: What I selected on the day for lunch was just what I needed & I was pleased with both the quality & quantity.

    I had a very tasty Tuna, asparagus & cottege cheese wrap in crisp tortilla bread served with a green side salad & little cherry tomatoes.

    I thought the Apple Juice I had with it was a bit expensive at $3.80, but when it arrived it was a large one & then I thought it wasn't too bad value after all.

    My coffee was quite good too. Mind you I think I'm going to have a hard time finding coffee to match that at Cozzi Cafe in Coogee so I have to be careful not too be too hard on these other cafes.

    All in all a gr8 little, good value spot in the Rocks for lunch. I would be happy to go back again.

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    Gum Nut Tea Garden: Snugglepot & Cuddlepie Eat Here

    by aussiedoug Updated Jan 3, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View from my table

    This historic sandstone cottage, with the main entrance listed as the address below, combines enjoyable food with a modern edge, a leafy courtyard garden in which you can almost forget you are in a bustling city.

    Speaking of which, click on my attached photo to enlarge it. That was my view from my table of choice at the Gumnut Tea Garden. Not bad considering it's in the very busy Rocks part of the city. Very relaxing spot to enjoy breakfast or lunch.

    Now a little explanation re' the title of this tip. Snugglepot & Cuddlepie were the central characters in May Gibbs who, through her books, aimed to engender in children her own love of nature. These two were the Gumnut Babies who had battles against "The Bad Banksia Men".

    Favorite Dish: Have only been here the once having breakfast before beginning a busy morning's explorations of the city. If you've read a few of my "brekkie" tips I'm sure you have guessed that I had eggs of some description.

    And, yes you are correct. On this occasion it was 2 poached eggs with 2 slices of wholemeal toast & of course accompanied with a Mocha coffee. The eggs were good with lovely rich orange coloured yolks. There's nothing I dislike more (when eting eggs that is. lol!) than to be presented with pale yellow yolked eggs. YUK. So, very pleased with these eggs. Coffee was quite good too.

    Must go back & give it a try for lunch to give you a more indepth guide.

    If you are staying in The Rocks then definitely give it a try for either breakfast or lunch.

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    La Renaissance: Great Desserts

    by cjg1 Updated Jul 22, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Liz enjoying her creme brulee (October 15, 2007)
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    Now this is a place I honestly can’t believe I hadn’t been to before until our 2007 trip. A simple little pastry shop with a shared court yard in the back that is actually quite spacious you will find yourself enjoying life quite nicely when you visit.

    As you enter this narrow little shop you see the display case and attendants on the left. And this is where you’re fun begins. They have such a great variety of extremely tasty treats I am sure you’ll find something you’ll love. Cakes, pies, pastry, macaroons, cookies and assorted sweets are all displayed in the case just waiting to be tasted. They also have a nice variety of warm and cold beverages to accompany your dessert,

    This place has been a must for our trips to Sydney and we have enjoyed several of their fabulous desserts during our stays.

    Favorite Dish: The desserts here are excellent but I do have my favorites: Larme de Gaugin and the Fraisier. The Gaugin cake is so colorful it just draws me in every time. The cake is tear shaped with a light berry mousse on top of an almond sponge cake topped with mixed berries. The Fraiser cake is a tasty vanilla sponge cake soaked with strawberry liquor, a creamy mouse and strawberries are in between the layers of cake. I live the freshness of the strawberries and the creamy mousse.

    My wife enjoys their merignues, creme brulee and creme caramel. The creme brulee is very creamy and quite nice. The merignue is not to my liking being too sweet. The creme caramel was nice; almost flan like in consistency.

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    Lowenbrau Keller: German restaurant at Circular Quay

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jun 23, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Enjoying my Spatan

    After walking around the Rocks we needed some refreshments, more like a beer so we decided to stop here. According to many sources The Löwenbräu Keller is Sydney's best known, most authentic German restaurant so expect to find German dishes and beers.

    As we were having dinner in another location, we decided to skip on the food and have a few glasses of Spatan, a nice crisp German beer.

    There are some family style benches and tables located outside of the restaurant. We decided we wanted to enjoy some people watching with our beers and sat outside.

    They offer Bavarian cooking with traditional dishes and beers in a typical Bavarian atmosphere.

    Favorite Dish: We each had a Spatan which was on the pricey side. Note that because of its popularity the prices are on the overpriced side.

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    • Beer Tasting

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    The Rocks and Circular Quay Restaurants: Great pizza and pasta at Zia Pina

    by 850prc Updated Jul 21, 2005

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    Sara's a satisfied Zia Pina customer

    If you get hungry while your roaming the Rocks, I'd suggest checking out Zia Pina. Quite a few famous people have, judging from the photos on the wall. I remember seeing Joe Montana and Jerry Seinfeld, to name two.

    Zia Pina is a cramped little pizza and spaghetti joint right smack dab on George Street. They also serve gelato and nice, cold beer.

    Like most pizza we found in Australia, Zia Pina's didn't lean towards tomato sauce. Instead, it featured a healthy layer of mozarella cheese and fresh toppings. The crust was thin, and gently seasoned in that pleasing way of Italy.

    Favorite Dish: Well, two things...

    The pizza was very very good. It really "hit the spot", as we were getting kind of hungry at the time.

    And, the nice schooner of beer was refreshing, too. At this place, I tried another Aussie brew, Victoria Bitters, aka VB. It was good, although I later decided that James Boag Tasmanian Brew was my favorite suds in Australia.

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    Pancakes on the Rocks: Something a lil different

    by dmirebella Written May 27, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are undecided on what to have - I mean, if your taste buds want something sweet AND savoury - head down to the Rocks and try out this restaurant .

    Its not all posh and stuff - it has a very casual atmosphere and its not that expensive either.

    Favorite Dish: 1 - Tandoori pizza
    2 - Pancakes with strawberry+maple syrup
    3 - Margarita's

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    Le Renaissance patisserie Francaise: Une Petite Francaise dans le Rocks

    by aussiedoug Updated Dec 19, 2004

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    Larme de Gaugin - Tres bon!

    I could easily have been back in Paris sitting out the back in the courtyard enjoying the view of old bricks & sandstone, but with a twist of Sydney as some of the highrise buildings poked above the old skyline enclosing this courtyard. And then there was the greenery that gave this spot added ambience a sense of relaxing & enjoying your food.

    So now I must move on to that very topic.

    Favorite Dish: Had a "just right" lunch after having visited the Museum of Contemporary Art this morning.

    So what did I have:

    Chicken Chasseur Pie with mixed leaf salad. The pie was very tasty & I say this as definitely not being a "pie type of guy". lol! The mixed leaf salad that accompanied it was very good, substantial in both quantity & quality with a light French mustard cream salad dressing. Often when you get a salad on the plate with your meal they aren't that good, but this one was very good (am I repeating myself? lol! sorry!)

    But then I saw a young lady coming out with a rather yummy looking piece of cake so I thought I might as well have a little dessert too with my mocha coffee. So, I went back in & after extensive perusal of the selection settled upon the Larme de Gaugin, a
    tear-drop shaped cake; crowned by a light creamy mixed berry mousse which is also through the sponge mould & is decorated with mixed berries, today, a half strawberry, a raspberry (Aah the framboise I fell in Love with in Paris, Oct 03) & a blueberry. It was absolutely delicious, light & with such delicate flavour & texture. Check the accompanying photo!

    Now you know how good this must have been when I haven't even mentioned the coffee yet! lol! Running out of characters space so suffice to say it was good too. Not matching Cozzi Cafe in Coogee or the Cafe Calima de Clombia of Obelisk Cafe & Beanbah Espresso, but quite good.

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    Pancakes on the Rocks: Pancakes on the Rocks

    by cjg1 Updated Mar 26, 2010

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    Strawberry Patch Pancakes
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    Pancakes on the Rocks is one of those love it or hate it places. It’s a simple enough place that could pass as a diner in most places. But food is quite good here. Granted I’ve only tried the pancakes. Although on the menu I just can’t see ordering lunch and dinner food at a place call Pancakes on the Rocks. The menu here has a large selection of specialty pancakes as well as regular pancakes. They also have omlettes, burgers, sandwiches, milk shakes and other entrees. I think if you come here Pancakes should be the choice.....

    We first visited Pancakes on the Rocks during our October 2007 trip. We loved both times we ate here and couldn't wait to return during our 2010 trip. The place is quite large with two levels of seating. The service here has always been excellent and the pancakes are out of this world good. Liz and I are big breakfast people and love good pancakes. It is always hard to decide which pancakes to order but I have my favorites: The Strawberry Patch, The Bananarama and the Black Forest Pancakes. Liz enjoys the Cinnamon Sugar Apple Struessel and the plain stack of pancakes. They make a good hot choclate and milkshake as well.

    I think if you are a breakfast or pancake fan this is a must when you visit Sydney.

    Favorite Dish: We have been here several times during our 2007 and 2010 trips. I love their Strawberry Patch. It is two buttermilk pancakes covered in strawberries, cream and vanilla ice cream. The Bananarama is two buttermilk pancakes with grilled bananas around it topped with the cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The Black Forest Pancakes are two chcolate pancakes with cherries in a brandy sauce. Cream, chocolate ice cream and chocolate chips are on top of the stack. Wow, they are all so incredible I have a hard time deciding which is my favorite.

    My wife love sthe Cinnamon Sugar Apple Streussel pancakes. The Cinnamon Sugar Apple Struessel pancakes are two buttermilk pancakes covered in cinnamon sugar with apples around it topped in the cream and ice cream.

    The times we were out of here for under $30, which is not bad for a sit down breakfast in Sydney. Especially one of this quality.

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    Lowenbrau Keller: Lowenbrau Keller

    by cjg1 Updated Jun 16, 2010

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    Liz & I (March 2010)
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    This is one of the few places I have been to every time I come to town. Yes, it is a big "tourist" spot but even locals are drawn here for food and drinks. I love the atmosphere and the liters of Spaten. Located right next to the Rocks Sydney Visitor’s Center on Argyle Street it’s just a place I always find myself for at least a few beers per trip.

    I must admit it doesn’t get to be much more than one or two though as its only a liter and they charge $19. You can get the same amount of beer just down the street for $12 to $14. And that adds up quick. So I go and enjoy one or two and then move on.

    The nice thing here is that they do have a large our-door seating area with bench tables and also individual tables and then inside a couple large rooms. So the atmosphere will be one where you can easily relax. In fact I would say this is one of my favorites to hit when in Sydney.

    Favorite Dish: The beer is always good. I enjoy a nice liter of Spaten while Liz has pretzels with her beer. The pretzels here are quite nice; warm and soft with the right amount of salt.

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    • Beer Tasting

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    The Opera Bar: Opera Bar: any closer by the harbour and ur in it!

    by amyhenderson Updated May 4, 2004

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    picture from www.operabar.com.au

    The eastern side of Circular Quay has been developed quite a bit in the past years. Opera Bar is one of the elegant drink & dine spots in this row of restaurants and bars.

    Opera Bar is the most northern of all bars & restaurants and therefore, you have no other such establishments blocking any harbour or Opera House views.

    You have the option to sit inside or outside. I would recommend sitting outside either on a balmy Summers evening under the stars or even during a sunny Winters day by the sparkling water. The harbour views and atmosphere are a real treat.

    A perfect pre-theatre dining option, a lazy Sunday lunch or if you prefer, a romantic, cosy option inside with comfy cushions.

    Check out their website for music performances. But the jazz on Sunday afternoons/evenings is a regular, and its great!

    Favorite Dish: Modern Australian cuisine. Whats that you ask? Grilled serloin steak in a red wine jus on a mustard mash... or perhaps you prefer the Tasmanian Salmon on a bed of rocket salad, with a side of (popular Sydney snack) wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream?

    Service is swift & friendly. Bag clips located under table to protect against bag-snatchers (very touristy area), good people-watching spot & a great place to really enjoy the Sydney-ness of it all!

    Between AU$10-25 for a main

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    • Food and Dining
    • Theater Travel

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    La Renaissance: Heavenly Desserts

    by LadyRVG Updated Dec 17, 2013

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    Raspeberry Sponge Cake
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    La Renaissance is a heavenly bakery/cafe that is nestled in the Rocks. It specializes in French desserts and pastry. I am a lover of sweets; especially dessets so this is my idea of heaven.

    Upon entering; the display case is full of tantalizing pastry, cakes and desserts in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes. Some of the pastry is so artfully decorated it seemed a sin to eat them and not frame them. There is a large selection of individual desserts and treats as well as full sized cakes and pies. They also make the most incredible Macarons that rival those found in Paris. They come in a rainbow of assorted flavors; my favorites are the salted caramel and the Rose. They're sold individually and can be boxed up for take home or as gifts.

    The shop itself is quite small with a simple counter and large display case. In the back is a nice courtyard with tables to sit and enjoy your treats. Chris and I enjoyed many a dessert while relaxing in this lovely little courtyard.

    If you are a lover of sweet treats and desserts this is the place to forget the calorie count and indulge in something sinful yet heavenly.

    Favorite Dish: I am an admitted Crème Brulee addict. Several times during our trips we have come here and I indulged in their excellent Crème Brulee. It is served in a small round Ramekin with the perfect amount of carmelized sugar on top. The custard was perfectly cooked and creamy smooth. Chris has enjoyed the Meringue and The Raspberry Sponge Cake.

    The macarons are incredible and we often stop here for some to take home or to nibble during our day. The Salted caramel and rose are my favorites.

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    Pancakes on the Rocks: Yummy Pancakes!

    by LadyRVG Updated Jul 21, 2009

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    Cinnamon Sugar Apple Struessel Pancakes!
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    Before we even got to Sydney I knew I had to come here. I had hear rave reviews about the pancakes from my friend Barbara who had just visited six months prior. Pancakes in the Rocks is tucked away in the Rocks but not difficult to find. The restaurant itself is large with two levels of seating. The menu is full of all types of pancakes and breakfast items. The list of pancakes alone is outstanding and there is something for every palate. The pancakes here are incredible and I could eat here morning, noon and night. We ate here twice during our trip; once for my Birthday Breakfast. The service here is on the spot and the staff is very friendly. Pankcakes in the Rocks is a definite must for people who enjoy a good breakfast and love Pancakes.

    Favorite Dish: Our first visit here I ordered the Cinnamon Sugar Apple Streussel Pancakes. Two fluffy butermilk pancakes are dusted with cinnamon sugar, topped with a sweet cream, vanilla ice cream and cinnamon apples. Real maple syrup is served in a container on the side. The pancakes are delicious; perfect and fluffy. The cinnamon sugar with the sweet cream and ice cream was a delicious treat that went perfectly with the warm cinnamon apples. Chris orderd the Strawberry Patch which was two buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberry sauce, sliced strawberry, sweet cream and vanilla ice cream. Needless to say ; Chris was in heaven with his breakfast.

    Our second visit here was for my Birthday Breakfast. I always enjoy a good breakfast in my birthday and pancakes are my favorite. I decided to have the regualr oancakes. They were two buttermilk pancakes topped with powdered sugar, sweetcream and vanilla ice cream. They were incredibly good. I had a yummy hot chocolate as well that was so rich and tasty. Chris decided to have the Banarama. It was two pancakes topped with sweet cream, ice cream, butterscotch sauce and cooked bananas. He went "Bananas" over his breakfast and finshed the whole plate.

    The food here is incredibly good and I like that they serve "real" Maple Syrup; not the sticky immitation stuff that looks like glue.

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    Firefly Espresso and Wine Bar: Firefly: Don't miss the Salt & Pepper Kingfish!

    by amyhenderson Written Mar 17, 2004

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    Firefly, the big YUM factor

    MMmmmm.... I love it here. It's small but perfectly formed, good food and a good attitude to service. The drinks list has been carefully compiled; there are cocktail staples as well as specials.

    It was one of the first places opened at Walsh Bay, but its now established & popular. It attacts many theatre-goers as the theatre is just across the road.

    Open: Mon-Fri noon-11pm, Sat and Sun 8am-11pm
    Crowd: Pre- and post-theatre
    Vibe: Relaxed and social
    Highs: The service, food and drinks
    Lows: Can't think of any
    Drinks: Hamelin chardonnay $11, Wild Turkey julep $18 ,42 Below martini $10 .

    Favorite Dish: I love the salt and pepper kingfish rolled in prosciutto, olives and parsley and the divine crispy potatoes with herbs and sea salt.

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    Lowenbrau Keller: That's a Mighty Big Beer

    by LadyRVG Updated May 17, 2012

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    Chris and I having a fun time (2010)
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    The Löwenbräu Keller is Sydney's is a popular Bavarian restaurant in Sydney. The inside of the restaurant has a beer hall atmosphere with waitresses and waiters in traditional Bavarian attire. The big drawn here of course is the beer and in very large quantities I may add. The food menus has some typical entrees such as sausage, pretzels, snitzel and bkack forest cake. The beer selection ranges from light crisp beers to dark amber colored beer. The beer here is a bit more expensive than the average Sydney pub but it's mainly due to this place being a "tourist" draw. So if you don't mide a it of a crowd and paying a bit more for a beer, check out the Lowenbrau Keller.

    This place seems to always be hopping with activity. Every time Chris and I come here the inside and outside was full of people. We usually prefer nice table in the bar area but have sat outside during cooler weather. I usually order one of their smaller beers along with some of their warm pretzels. Our last visit here in March 2012 was with our friend Gavin. It was his first time to Lowenbrau and was very happy to enjoy one of their "Big" beers. It was a fun time sitting outdoors drinking and having a snack.

    Favorite Dish: I'm not a big beer drinker but I do enjoy having at least one beer here. The beer is very cold and crisp; perfect for combating the usually warm Sydney weather. The pretzels hereare very good; soft and warm with just the right amount of salt.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Singles

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