Sunday, January 24, 2010

Undiscovered places...

Okay, this place I went to today with my bestie David, I'd love to tell you what it's called...but I really can't.

We went to pick up a TV somewhere in Coburg this morning that he bought on eBay and since it was 10am in the morning and he hadn't eaten yet (I wake up at like 7, so I always eat something around then before I do anything...) we decided to go see if we could find anything cute on Sydney Rd to munch on.

And cute did we find!

This little place was quite busy inside, and is on Victoria St (I think), just off Sydney Rd in Brunswick.

We walked in and it was that funky, grungy, warehouse type of feel about it, but still warm and cosy. There was a big square communal table out front and some smaller tables a bit further in to comfortably squeeze in 2-4 people.

No lil menus in here, just great big chalkboards with everything written on them.

So David orders the french toast, which he commented a couple of times didn't really look like french toast and just looked more like....egg. But it was quite rich and very very sweet. Look at all that syrup! But the dollop of yoghurt mixed with the pistachios gave it a lovely texture and cut the sweetness back a bit.

And I, with my love of eggs, got the poached eggs with capsicum pesto, spinach and dukkah. OMGOSH dukkah. Delicious. I love splitting eggs open and having the yolk run all over everything.

And what can I say. I love brightly coloured dishes, the red capsicum is just so seductive to look at!

Good food, wonderful friendly staff, who were constantly doing bum jiggles and dancing all over the place. Gives the place a nice vibe y'know? So all in all, a place I'd definetly love to come back again, there were some great shops in the area that are closed on Sundays too...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Estelle....not so much.

So one Sunday, my mother decides we should go out for lunch.

And so...comes half an hour of deciding where we CAN go on a Sunday! I mean, don't get me wrong, there are a million and one places in Melbourne to eat...but on a Sunday...I think everyone is out in the masses, filling up all the best cafes.

Or the ones I like in the city are all closed.

Hmm. A bit of a dilemma.

Then I remember reading in M magazine the week before, the write up on cafes in Northcote, so we decide to head up that way to try something new.

I decide on The Estelle, since they had the biggest write up in M and it's opened by the same people who own/run (I forget which) Lily Blacks, a cafe my ex-co-workers used to frequent and love quite often.

So upon arrival, I thought the place was absolutely charming. It had that kitsch, retro feel to it and the people who worked there fit the energy as well. I thought it was all quite adorable, the men in their ray-ban style glasses, fitted singlets, floor length long white aprons...that's it, it made me think of a cute little diner in the Grease era.

So my mother and I settled ourselves down by the bar, as all the other tables were taken at the time.

And...we settled ourselves down for a while.

And that's where this place started to lose me.

It took a while for the waiter to give us the menus, which were quite cute as they were slipped into old children's picture books.

But of course, once we had made our decision of what to order, it took a while to get their attention to take our order....

Of mushroom ragout and zucchini carpaccio. And y'know what? They even forgot our drink orders completely! (Although i did really like my organic grapefruit juice once I got it...)

So whilst the food was tasty, there was nothing extraordinary about it and I think impatience had gotten to myself and my mom. Although the service was friendly it was quite impersonal which really made quite the difference.

Somewhere I really don't see myself going back.

243 High St
Northcote, 3070

Hardware Societe - The Eptiome of the perfect cafe

Yes I'm serious.

I know every other Melbourne food blogger is too, but I am SO in love with Hardware Societe.

And no I promise it's not just because of the yellow tea cosy. (Even though I did actually squeal when I received my chamomile tea)

So I have made two visits in the past two weeks and I am planning on bringing a few more friends to this gorgeous cafe next week.

On my first trip with my best friend David, we giggled and ooh-ed and aah-ed at the interior was. I later discussed on my second visit with my mother that I did love the space so much because...there was so many yellow decorative features. (Yes I am a huge sucker for yellow), but the place just feels light and airy and very welcoming.

I arrived for lunch on a Friday afternoon at about 12:15pm and by 12:40, the place was full with people waiting for tables! So again people, get in early!

I opted for a chorizo, asparagus, chickpea and artichoke salad. The combination was just amazing, the artichokes were so creamy and delicious! I don't usually have them, so it surprised me just how much I enjoyed them!

David had the lamb meatballs with pinenuts, spinach and tomatoes. Oh I also, adore tomatoes, it was so savory...beautifully done.

I very much regret that we did not get dessert that day as I had spied a DELICIOUS looking trifle in their fridge, but we were both quite full and David had to get back to work. The next time I went...the trifle was not there.

But never to fear, it was 10am this second time I arrived at Hardware Societe, so trifle wasn't really something I desired for a brunch.

Instead my mother and I shared the continental breakfast, with vanilla yoghurt, a croissant and usually minted pineapple, but since they ran out we got compote peach, figs and plums instead.

Which also came with some great jams mind you. I love yoghurt. This one was very, very, very tart on it's own, but mix it with the fruit and it was sweet and easy to eat. And once I started doing that, it was very hard to stop.

I did not eat the croissant, but my mother marvelled at how it was warm and quite fluffy. Warm bread delights her. As it does me. Something I picked up from her I suppose.

And to finish off our late morning brunch, we had two of the home made macaroons. A lemon and passionfruit one and a white chocolate with berries.

I loved the texture of both, but found the lemon and passionfruit to be lacking in flavour a little, I wouldn't have minded a little bit more of a punch. The white chocolate with berries was divine though, not too sweet and a subtly rich.

And of course another pot of tea.

I think one reason I do enjoy Hardware Societe so much compared to other cafes, is that the food is not just your stock standard and the spanish twist really gives it a unique perspective. It's more exciting for the tastebuds no?

I'm certainly looking forward one day to come back and try the eggs or a more solid main...the salmon dish I saw another table have the first trip I was there looked good and solid....

Oh and to appease you all even more, starting February they're going to be open on Saturdays! Hoorah!

120 Hardware St, Melbourne
03 9078 5992

Up in the Clouds - Cumulus Inc

I think I open every post with this line.

Oh god I've been so slack.

I tend to fall in and out with blogging I find, but now that the festive season is mostly open (Australia day looms around the corner...) and I've had a bit of emotional turbulence settled, I will certainly strive to keep this up to date with all my eating escapades.

I'm going to post a few entries to re-cap on a few places I've been to over the past month for you all to enjoy!

So a couple days before Christmas, a very impromptu dinner was scheduled with two of my best guy friends, my lovely mother and an ex-co-worker who is an absolute sweetheart.

We decided to go to Cumulus Inc, as I had not taken my two besties there and...well, I figured mum would like it.

The last time I had been here was easily a year and a half ago now and I had enjoyed it then, and I certainly still enjoyed it now.

Oh let me introduce you to one of my besties, Ben. I've made him another author of this blog, as he frequents Sydney more than I do (not that I ever do...) and I would love for him to partake in sharing the gastronomical joys of the tourist trap city (I kid...somewhat) but I think we're going to both be quite similar in our laziness to this. But anyway. So Ben and I arrived first.

Cumulus Inc. do a GREAT negroni. Ben loves them, I'm not so fond of them, but this one was so bitter. So I did enjoy a good couple sips of that.

Cumulus Inc. is one of those "We don't do booking" places, which have popped up around in Melbourne over the past year. This doesn't bother me as I usually am an early person and enjoy having my meals earlier rather than later. Although it did surprise me as to how fast it filled up once 6pm hit. So if you can guys, get a friend who enjoys reading to reserve y'all a table at 5:30.

That's the gluten free bread. Doesn't it look delicious?! It was so nutty and had such a lovely texture to it. It was totally better than everyone else's bread. And hey, who doesn't love warm bread in general?!

I really do enjoy ordering tapas. And although my guy friends tend to complain that they're such small serves and you really don't get enough to fill up on, I think Cumulus Inc. tend to do a pretty good serving size...

We started with the crispy school prawns, sauteed with chilli and garlic. I remember having these last time I was there and I'm glad they weren't taken off the menu. I love having things to nibble on and these just fit that need perfectly.

The Kitchen Charcuterie Selection. If i had posted this earlier I probably could remember what all the meats were but I unfortunately really can't. Except for the chicken pate. That was yummmy.

A special off the menu! Grilled Zucchini flowers with tomatoes, sheep cheese, pine nuts and a moroccan spice....the name escapes me again. I did enjoy these a lot those, the spice used gave this beautiful warm sensation at the back of your throat after you gobbled these goodies down.

Tuna tartare with pea and mint salad. I remember seeing this the last time I ate at Cumulus Inc. with my friend and we were both ogling at how beautiful the colours had to make sure I had it this time. Lovely and refreshing.

Asparagus with egg and breadcrumbs

12 hour cooked pork strap. Omgosh. Delicious. That's all.

And to finish...we ordered, not one, but two rum baba's.

Why is rum baba so good at Cumulus Inc?

Because you get this lovely looking cake, with an amazing cream...

And you get a whole bottle of Havana Club rum to pour over at will.


So all in all, a lovely night in Cumulus Inc. and a restaurant I would love to visit again, although I'm also dying to try out Cutler & Co....

45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne 3000
9650 1445