Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pidapipo - Windsor

Y’all know I love gelato. 

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Y’all also probably know by now that I’m also quite fond of Pidapipo’s gelati’s, particularly their pistachio and now fortunately, their gelato is even easier to find with the Windsor store that opened a couple of months ago now. 

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Sure, we already know her gelato is great; but the more important thing to note here is that founder Lisa Valmorbida has made sure she’s got a much bigger kitchen at this second site, highlighted by neon green ‘LABARATORIO’. 

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Here she and her gelato chefs (what a great title) get to explore and expand their flavour range and also make a lot of components in house, such as biscuits, crumbles and much more.

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But even more exciting than that, is the introduction of her ‘Gelato Cakes’ which are exactly what they sound like. I had the great pleasure to be in the kitchen back in April as she gave us a demo of how her Raspberry and Rose Bombe Alaska was made. 

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A bit of soft Italian meringue, with zesty raspberry and just a gentle floral touch of rose and it all comes together as absolute deliciousness. It’s only recently been made available to order by phone, email or just by dong it the old fashioned way and walking on into store.

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I’ve been meaning to go back and order the Pumpkin Pie and Banoffee Pie one of these days…even if it is winter; when did a bit of cold stop anyone from eating gelato? 

85 Chapel Street
Windsor 3181

Pidapipo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Saint Lucia

Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant 

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When Melbourne’s nice, it’s real nice. But the second it finds a bit of a rain and a gust of wind…it ain’t so much. As winter starts making itself more and more known, the nights are frostier, wetter and terribly uninviting. You can’t blame Melbournians for not wanting to leave the house.

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However, one very wet and cold night I still found myself heading out to Saint Lucia, and I couldn’t ask for a better shelter from the storm. 

Bar? Restaurant? More like house. More like living room even, where Bean, the family dog, comes over to say hi (literally!) 

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Saint Lucia is beautifully bohemian, a discerning mix of summery greens and rattan furniture, romantically lit with dimmed lights and well loved candles; inspired by owners, and husband and wife, Charlie and Steph’s travels around the world…but in particular the Caribbean, Cuba and Southern America.

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Settled in with a glass of red wine (Melbourne’s wintery weather doesn’t always inspire the mood for mojito or other delightful rum based cocktail…but maybe another time), the menu of nibbles is small enough you can almost get a bit of everything, but too big that you can’t and have to make some tough decisions!

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Smokey roasted cauliflower with creole remoulade sauce for $6 is an amazing value and absolutely delicious nibble to start a meal. What’s not to love about the sweetness of the cauliflower mixed with a bit of savoury smokiness? Very, very moreish.

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Also very moreish, are the fried plantains with paprika salt. Shaped like a banana, plantains are much more savoury, and are fried to crunchy perfection and served with a chipotle mayo that’s got some serious punch and kick. Even though it was cold outside, the heat’s on in Saint Lucia!

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When it comes to the bigger eats, I’m torn between all of the proteins. Although fried chicken calls out my name, we instead opt for the smoked caramelised beef brisket with house barbecue sauce, which has a lovely unexpected heat and a lovely texture, not too dry and not too fatty, and the low and slow maple chilli pork ribs, smoked for 4 hours of hickory and apple wood, which I just savour pulling off the bone. I adore the pickles served with the pork ribs which are punchy and bright, perfectly cutting through the richness of the meat. 

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Not gonna lie though, I was most excited for dessert (as I usually tend to be). The ‘milk + cookies’ dessert takes the Dominique Ansel ‘cookie shot’ to the next level. 

Hazelnut dark chocolate chip cookie ‘cup’, lined with dark chocolate, and filled to the brim with peanut butter mousse and dulce leche. Um. Yes. 

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The cookie cup is far bigger than I expect it to be, and is definitely best shared between two people. The cookie is a bit hard to break into, but the flavours and combination of cold peanut butter mousse and cookie are simply to die for. 

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We also make ours ‘R rated’ with a bit of rum mousse as well. Lush.

Saint Lucia is a stunningly intimate space, in an area that’s becoming super trendy and too cool for school, it’s nice to have a little refuge where you can feel like you can kick back and really just chill out. With delicious Carribean food. Please have plantain chips become a thing Melbourne. Please. 

78 Chapel Street
Windsor 3181

Saint Lucia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Lakeside Mill

It’s exciting seeing Melbourne develop. Past the confines of the city grid and inner city circle; but spreading far and wide into the suburbs. With Brad’s parents living out in Gembrook, it makes for a convenient base to visit the Eastern suburbs. 

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The Lakeside Mill is one such exciting development; and currently possibly the only reason I would make my way over Pakenham (although if anyone else has any other recommendations I’m happy to be proven wrong)! 

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Coffee window, cafe, cocktail bar and locally inspired degustation dinner destination all come together in a shiny new development with brass details, earthy woods and dark accents. Unexpected, but definitely not unwelcome to the area. 

With chef Jake Kellie (ex-Estelle Bistro) at the helm, the day menu reads whimsical but familiar, scattered with plenty of locally sourced goodies. It’s definitely a much more approachable menu than what he was doing at Estelle Bistro previously; which he did mention was the challenge with the area - how to push the boundaries but still tick off the expectations for the area? 

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I’m surprised how gluten free friendly the menu is (who the heck does gluten free banana bread by choice? I’m impressed), and am tickled with how interesting, yet delicious the menu reads as well. 

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But before food, coffee, and chai of course, and both are treated with care. My spiced wet chai is creamy, spicy with a lovely deep tea flavour. I’m tempted to have two. 

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I’m always eyeing off waffles dishes on menus, but they’re usually full of gluten (obviously) and of the sweet variety; which I usually can’t justify for breakfast. However, at the Lakeside Mill the waffles are savoury and gluten free. How does a girl say no?

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Topped with beetroot, quinoa, wattleseed and goats cheese, the waffles are a delightful medley of textures and flavours. Crunchy wattleseed, intensely creamy goats cheese and such sweet beetroot all marry together perfectly. The waffles are light, fluffy and airy too. 

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Brad opted for the pasta (which is also gluten free surprisingly) with tomato fondue, mozzarella, basil crumb and olives. I loved the balance in this, hearty in it’s rich abundance and variation in flavour, but not heavy at all. Zesty yet sweet tomatoes mingling with light and vibrant mozzarella. Hitting the flavour palates in all the right places. 

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And because we were technically getting lunch and not brunch at this hour, I couldn’t resist a side of hand cut kipfler potato chips with rosemary salt and aioli. Loved the rustic feel of the chips, with the skins still on, golden on the outside but lovely and fluffy on the inside. 

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Although the day time menu is very approachable and pleasant, by night Jake Kellie flexes the creative muscle with dishes that make use of the best ingredients from the surrounding regions at an astonishingly affordable price of $80 for 5 courses and nibbles. Hanging out to come back!

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But in the mean time, I’d be more than happy to pop by again for brunch; in a time where I find myself getting a bit bored of generic brunch fair, the Lakeside Mill is definitely one of my recent favourite brunch/lunch ventures which is both innovative but comforting and homely at the same time. 

1/38 Lakeside Boulevard
VIC 3810

The Lakeside Mill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato