Sunday, October 25, 2015


It’s almost startling to think about how long Brad and I have been together. 

Five years ago at 344 Rathdowne Street in Carlton North, I remember we go for dinner at Black Ruby, a restaurant that specialised in gluten free food, where we sat in the window and got lost in a fit of giggles over a bottle of wine. 

So it’s kind of fascinating to revisit a date spot, that I have surprisingly vivid memories of (for being a random date night), and see it transformed into something else. 

Masons Cafe and Footsore is a refreshing addition to the quiet end of Carlton in Rathdowne Village. What I remember as a dark and slightly boozy place, is now bright, airy and so refreshing. 

It’s a spot in the village to grab something to eat a home later, have a quick coffee, or sit down and chill out for a while with their cheery yellow teapots and warm and rich looking coffees. 

I believe Brad enjoyed a special, taking all our favourite things, scrambled eggs and bacon, happily sandwiched in a burger. Simple, well done, and deliciously hearty. 

My pumpkin and thyme bad beans with tilted spinach on top of a thick slice of gluten free bread was pure comfort on a cool and breezy morning. I loved the sweetness of the pumpkin with the baked beans, and the fluffiness in texture it brought as well. The touch of sesame seeds over the top added a beautiful earthiness to the sweetness. 

Easy, laid back, and comforting. With all the hype around cafes these days, sometimes it’s just nice to get back to basics. 

344 Rathdowne Street
Carlton North

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sweet Salt - Bomba Goes to Spain - Son in Law

Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest at the following venues 

296 High Street

Sweet Salt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

When you get an invite from a fish and chip shop claiming to have made the perfect f*cking chip…you make sure you’re attending. 

Located on High Street in Northcote, conveniently across the road from the Northcote Social Club (so easy enough to stumble to after a few too many beers), it’s not at all what you expect.

Beautiful, slick and airy interior fit-out, not too dissimilar from what you might find in a cafe, with the usual blue and white palette, but a surprise hit of pink as well. 

Talking to the owners, I learn everything is made in house, from the dimmies to the infamous chips. After being frustrated with middle men supplying half decent potatoes, they took matters into their own hands and source directly what they need, and then craft a damn good potato chip. 

Hard to say if it’s the perfect f*cking chip, but as a potato loving girl, I’ve got to say they were damn good. Absolutely golden, crisp (not too crunchy) and with that actual warm potato flavour, not just starch. Potato cakes totally killed it as well. 

Can’t go wrong with freshly shucked oysters, and I totally died over the plate of meaty snapper cheeks (which I don’t think are regularly on the menu, but oh my god they should be). I was also majorly impressed with their house-made steamed dimmies, one version made with spanner crab that I loved, and one version made with barramundi which Brad preferred. Regardless, they were actually full of flavour and tasted like seafood! 

Freshly made Taiyaki, a Japanese style dessert, with red bean in the middle, is also most definitely worth waiting for. I’ve heard that they’re planning to introduce more Taiyaki flavours, so looking forward to returning again soon!

Bomba Goes to Spain Lunch
103 Lonsdale Street

Bomba Downstairs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Jesse Gerne’s got a real good thing going. Once a year (if not twice), he and a handful of his staff from Bomba and Anada make their way to Spain on a smorgasbord of an adventure. Seriously, his stories make you jealous, at times squeamish (how about some bull’s testicles at 8am in the morning?) but most of all, mouth watering.

He returns from these adventure around Spain, and highlights the different areas in Spain visited, with a variety of lunches. 

This year, I had the pleasure of having a gastronomical tour through Andalusia, where the boy’s ate cuttlefish vagina’s (the direct translation into English!), at a bar run by a pair of deaf and mute brothers and drank enough sherry for a fleet (or at least that’s what it sounded like)! 

These lunches are usually $65 per person, and although it says it’s four courses, you get so much more than that!

From briny Wapengo oysters with sweet nettle vinaigrette, to just the most meaty and delicious Sardinas fritas (sardine fritters) with lemon. Sardines are totally underrated just for the record.

Thin slivers of pickled pork belly leave you licking your lips for more, while the montadito of huevos revueltos with morcilla proves you can totally have scrambled eggs for lunch on perfectly charred bread. 

Make sure you pull up your iPhone camera and get some selfie action going on to check your teeth after the cuttlefish and pipies in generous amounts of squid ink, and sigh with happiness over the Rabo de toro; ‘Fighting Bull’s Tail’ in oloroso and celeriac puree. If you’ve had their pork jowl in Pedro Ximenez, it has similarities to that for me. 

After a lazy 3 hours of eating, and convincing myself I have space for Pedro Ximenez ice-cream, torrija, sheep’s milk yoghurt and poached pear, Bomba’s ‘Goes to Spain’ lunches prove to be an enjoyable, filling and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Keep your eyes peeled for the next one!

56 Johnston Street

Son In Law Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Even though I do work in a business where we deal with a lot of hospitality operators, I don’t often talk about work. I’ve been quite fortunate that I can keep work and the blog separate, for the most part, but there are times like these when I’m quite happy to bring them together.

The crew who once operated Ayatana came to BrandWorks for a new brand, and a little help with the interiors. Tony, Petch and Joyce were amazing to work with, and it’s been simply thrilling to see their restaurant come to life. All the colour makes me so happy!

Son in Law is the newest Thai addition to Johnston Street, living where Bayte used to be, whipping up Thai favourites such as pad thai and their namesake, Son in Law eggs, but also throwing a little fusion into the mix with sliders and tacos…because why not? I attended the launch, but also visited for dinner with the BrandWorks team, where we ate and loved everything. 

Highlights included the sweet crunchy tamarind salad, those son in law eggs, the crispy barramundi fillets and crispy soft shell crab with tight prawns in a traditional Thai green curry. We ate in true family style…and man we were stuffed! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bawa Cafe

Although I’m not about chasing hype, it’s always nice to unexpectedly get onto something good, before the rest of Melbourne discovers it two days later (and not have to wait for a table). I was simply looking for a cafe option in Hawthorn, as Brad and I needed to make sure we were properly fuelled up before heading into the races…and fortunately discovered Bawa Cafe!

The name is taken from Geoffrey Bawa, who was a Sri Lankan architect, one of the most influential Asian architects of his generation, who popularised ‘tropical modernism’, a style that integrates buildings and landscape together. 

And my goodness, the guys behind Bawa (the resume includes Dukes, Barry, Square and Compass, Three Bags Full) have definitely taken this style to heart. Airy and lofty, and just so refreshing to walk into, where soft moss leather furnishings blend into plants dripping from the ceilings and hanging out over the window. It’s a gorgeous space. 

Make sure to get a table on the elevated space up next to the window, and then don’t be too surprised when the guys open it up. The big windows slide apart so that you can take in the sights, enjoy the sun and breeze. With all the plants around the windows, you might almost feel you’re not quite in Hawthorn after all… 

Chai Boy chai’s are velvety smooth and comforting, could have been a little stronger though. For coffee drinkers, the beans are Dukes, and Brad enjoys his latte. 

The food menu reads an absolute treat; it’s so hard to settle for just one dish, definitely a place to bring a group along so you can try as much as you can! I also love the vegetarian slant on the majority of the menu, with the option to make it a little meatier if you would like. 

My cauliflower hash with peaks of ricotta (which I just have to giggle over because they just look so comedic), with beetroot relish and pickled tomatoes, is just divine, and much more filling that it looks! The cauliflower hash itself is simply moreish, with a nice charred savouriness, to balance out against the sweetness of the beetroot and tomatoes, which also provide a little zing and zest. I love seeing all the colourful tomatoes, after a smorgasbord of tomato salads and what not over the years, I feel like they’ve been dropping off a bit, and it’s great to see them again. Perfect for the season. 

Brad gets the chilli scrambled eggs, with pickled mushrooms, kaiserfleish and generously grated reggiano on top of toast. What a visual spectacle, one of the best looking scrambled eggs I ever saw! Although they didn’t really have as much of a kick as suggested, the eggs were beautifully folded, and I loved the cheesiness, with the tartness of the pickled mushrooms coming through. Brad wasn’t totally convinced on the mushrooms, but I quite liked them. 

So get in quick. These guys have only been open for a little over a week, and although we waltzed in and got a table straight away…it’s not going to stay that way for long. 

248 Burwood Road

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