Archive for the ‘Brunch’ Category

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Decided to meet up in St Kilda with Katie and Mum who had been out doing some baby stuff shopping. Katie had suggested Fitzrovia on Fitzroy street and I said I’d meet them there. I didn’t realise how much of a walk it would be so by the time I’d finished what turned out to be a 4km walk I was pretty hungry! Thankfully they had some quality refreshments on the menu which helped to quench my thirst. Originally I had planned to get some form of breakfast option, but when I saw the steak sandwich on the menu I changed my mind. I’m sometimes sceptical of the non-minced cousin of the hamburger. I find at times that they’re just too difficult to eat, you feel like you should be able to pick it up and eat it like a burger, but you end up knife and forking it halfway through. The bread is often too thick, the steak too chewy and the whole thing just devolves into this annoying farce. On this occasion though, the waiter did some serious selling on the steak sandwich – claiming it was the best in the southern hemisphere. With credentials like that I’d be stupid not to try it! Katie ordered the doorstop bacon sandwich, which we’d seen come past, and Mum got the Mussels which was another recommendation from our friendly waiter.

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Ok, so we were impressed when our plates arrived – all of the meals were pretty big – the steak sandwich, which was cut in half, could have left one half behind in the kitchen and still been a fair sized meal. Katie’s doorstop sandwich could easily have been used in the way the name implies, and Mum’s Mussels dish was also very generous. My Steak sandwich was pretty special, it came out on char-grilled sourdough, thick cut, with that smell of the grill. The bread made it for me, thick cut but soft and pliant, a nice smokey char on the outside adding to the flavour profile of the sandwich in a really good way. Next you get the caramelized onions – they added that sweet/savoury depth of flavour – really rounding out the sandwich. The fired egg, added a yolky richness that was cut nicely by the rocket and the beetroot. Oh yes – The beetroot remoulade, even though my feelings towards beetroot aren’t particularly positive in a general sense, it worked here. Finally the steak itself – 200g of scotch fillet, perfectly cooked to medium rare – tender and easy to eat. No major problems with the eatability of this steak sandwich.

Both Katie and Mum really enjoyed their meals as well,all three of us waddled out feeling quite satisfied with ourselves. Thankfully I had a life back home so I could enjoy the feeling of being pleasantly full.

Definitely a place I wouldn’t mind going back to.

Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

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I’ve been to Tully’s a few times to pick up some fresh produce and visit the deli, and they always have a really good selection and great quality fresh food. When Katie suggested we try brunch at the cafe next door I figured that at the very least they’d have good ingredients to start with so brunch here must be half decent.

It was a very windy Sunday morning so Katie and I elected to sit inside – the seating was quite squashy and I would imagine it would be really cramped if the place was busy – thankfully we were there pretty early so it wasn’t full. Both Katie and I were pretty hungry so we wasted no time in ordering breakfast. Katie ordered the eggs (scrambled) and bacon option, which also comes with sautéed spinach & tomatoes on sourdough bread $14.95. I ordered the Farmhouse Breakfast which comes with poached eggs fagioli (borlotti beans), sautéed mushrooms, pure pork bambino sausage, sautéed spinach, tomatoes, and ciabatta toast – $18.95.

The food was clearly good quality as you would expect when you are starting with top quality fresh ingredients – For example the spinach was exceptionally good – only just wilted, it allowed the star if the show, baby spinach leaves to shine though. The roasted tomato was so flavoursome and the mushrooms were lovely.  However, although the ingredients were clearly top quality, the dishes themselves needed a bit more attention to detail. Katie’s coffee seemed like it was rushed and the top of her latte, was just a mess. I know I’m no coffee drinker, but I’m always impressed with the patterns on the foam – this one was just a mess of ugly bubbles (Apparently this has no effect on the flavour).  My poached eggs… well they didn’t seem like poached eggs – they seemed like my Nana had made them in her special poaching mold, which really steams the eggs which gives a different texture than poaching them. The bread wasn’t buttered, and no butter was provided which I find a little bit annoying, although the bread itself was amazingly good. Whilst the breakfast was enjoyable, the end result just didn’t deliver on the potential, a bit hit and miss for me.

Apple Espresso @ Tully's on Urbanspoon

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Another lovely Spring day in Elwood – the leaves are starting to come out and the sun is starting to shine more frequently – Saturday in particular started off pleasantly – a nice day for a walk I thought, and a perfect day to head down to Ormond Rd. and find a café for brunch.

It’s not a long walk from my place to the Ormond Rd shops, so off Katie and I went – 15 minutes later we were seated inside at Wild Café. I’d walked past Wild Café countless times, but I’d never been in, it’s not the most popular of the café’s on Ormond Rd. and that always makes you a little wary about going in – is there something that people know that I don’t one tends to wonder. That and the ambiance doesn’t seem all that enticing, I’m not a fan of the layout. Anyway, since we were both hungry, we made the decision to give the place a go, Katie was getting cranky and I was getting there myself. Katie sat down and ordered some tea and coffee while I finished off some errands – but the time I got back the drinks were on the table and the only thing left to do was make a decision on the food. Easier that it seems. The Menu at Wild is confusing – I hate the layout, it took me way too long to figure out what I was looking at. Sure it looks pretty, but for those who have only just gotten out of bed or just aren’t too sharp to begin with it’s a little bit hard to read… Might just be me? Eventually I figured out that they do offer breakfast and so we made our orders. I went for the standard big breakfast (Not sure what they call it here), with Scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, bacon, tomato’s and mushrooms. I had to check with Katie first because she has this weird pregnancy aversion to mushrooms. She was ok with me ordering them, I just wasn’t allowed to mentioned them or acknowledge their presence in anyway for fear of making her sick at the table. Katie ordered the beans and baked eggs dish – although I was worried that the eggs would not be cooked through. I read somewhere that if you eat uncooked eggs when pregnant then, well I can’t remember, but I ‘m sure it’s bad… Possibly fatal. Thankfully, Katie and unborn baby survived. Here’s a tip – do not Google anything about pregnancy if you are a mother or father to be. Basically you will start to look at everything as being a potential threat to the life of both the mother and your unborn child. I’m sure this feeling of paranoia will only get worse once baby is born. Katie thankfully much less crazy than I am. Our child has a chance, small though it is, of being at least 50% normal…

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Ok, so back to the eggs – Katie’s baked eggs came with a nice flavoursome chili style baked bean and tomato ragù, a side of bacon and some house baked bread. The bread was a bit “cakey”, but otherwise she enjoyed her meal. My meal was ok, the eggs were cooked the way I like them, creamy, buttery, on a nice grainy sourdough that I’m sure had a drizzle of fruity olive oil and not butter – nice touch actually. The sausages were overcooked and a little burnt on one side so they were disappointing and the bacon was ok – again just not crispy enough for me – there were parts of my bacon that were just warmed, not fried. I don’t get it. At least it was the full rasher and not just the short cut. The highlight for me was the sautéed mushrooms. They came out late, on a separate plate – but they were worth it, a mix of mushrooms, including some Enoki and Shimeji and your standard Portobello and Button – all sautéed lightly in some butter, these were great on toast. As far a brunch places go this is certainly not the best option on Ormond Rd. however, it was enjoyable, so if you don’t feel like battling the crowds at some of the other places, Wild café is worth a shot.

Wild Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Mum had offered to come up from Mornington and take Katie and I our for lunch in celebration of Katie’s recent graduation from her Masters of Design degree from Swinburne. Katie chose Chez Dré on the basis that they offer a pretty well regarded range of French “petits gateaux” (I don’t even know what that means…) and Macaroons (Which I can take or leave to be honest) – much to my dismay they don’t offer a burger, but then we had had our burger fix on Friday night so I shouldn’t really whinge. Ok, look it’s not all about me, but luckily they do brunch and not just sweets. Chez Dré is a French café and patisserie located in South Melbourne not far from the bustling South Melbourne Markets. This of course makes trying to find a park on a Sunday a bit of a head ache, but as they say, good things are worth the wait… They don’t take bookings on weekends, and the places was very busy but Katie managed to snag a table reasonable quickly and we were seated and ordering in no time. Katie and I order the “grand petit dejeuner”, I’m going to guess that it means big breakfast, but of course it sounds way better in French.

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For $21.50 you get toulouse sausage, ‘istra’ bacon, avocado, slow roasted tomato, herb potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, tomato relish and poached eggs on sourdough toast. It’s quite a lot of food so a good choice if you are hungry.

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Mum ordered the Duck Sandwich $23.50, which is a confit pulled duck sandwich with onion jam, red cabbage (Lightly pickled), grated apple & truffle mayonnaise. First things first – since Katie’s been pregnant she can’t look at a mushroom – which works for me since I’m like a hobbit when it comes to mushrooms! Normally I’d expect one or two mushrooms on a big breakfast plate, but not here – One serving of the lovely Portobello mushrooms is about 4, so I got  double – Winning! They had a great flavour – beautifully cooked with a nice hint of thyme. Just lovely on the sourdough toast. I swapped her the avocado (Never been a fan – apart from guacamole…). The Toulouse sausage was great, but cold by the time I found it – just so much food (And too much talking)! The one let down for me was the bacon – not really cooked – with lovely bacon like that it should be crispy, not soft – disappointing. Mum’s Duck sandwich was a talking point – a huge mound of confit duck, with a lightly pickled red cabbage, caramelised onion  and amazing seeded mustard and truffled mayo on sourdough – just stunning. Mum couldn’t get through it all, so we all had a bite. Of course after all that eating we had to try out the petits gateaux.

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I had the Caramel-Mandarin dome, which according to the menu was a “vanilla brûleé, mandarin jelly, pain de genes, valrhona ‘caramelia’ mousse” all of this for $9.50. Now I might not full appreciate what all of those things mean, but I do know that it tasted pretty damn good. Katie ordered the praline, apple & popcorn and Mum ordered the lemon – hazelnut tart. We couldn’t finish them all, not for want of trying, but in the end they were simply too big! There’s a reason this place is so popular – if you are looking for an amazing brunch with a French twist, I strongly recommend heading down.

Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

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Ok, so I’ve been pretty lazy with my blog posts recently. What can I say, I’ve been busy. That’s not to suggest that I haven’t been out and about sampling some of Melbourne’s lovely culinary offerings – I’ve just been to busy to post anything. So here goes – a Brunch post! Elwood Food and Wine has become a semi regular Breakfast brunch place for Katie and I – I mean it’s so easy to get to – about a 10 minute walk…  So on Saturday morning Katie and I decided to head off to some midday brunch action before making our way to the G for the Tigers vs. Giants clash. Pretty much every time we come here I get the same thing – boring I know, but they do it all so well I can’t help myself. Eggs (Either poached or scrambled – depends on my mood), toast, mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon and their amazing baked beans. Since I don’t drink coffee – lets all be honest here, it tastes like something that’s been scrubbed off a burnt oven pan, distilled and then added to hot water – why? Anyway, what was I saying? Ah yes, since I don’t drink that black bilge water, I generally order a nicely civilised pot of English breakfast or if I’m feeling adventurous, perhaps an Earl Grey. Saturday morning was no different. I love the fact that they have moved back to tea pots instead of those weird and complicated glasses with the infuser thingy that I just dripped everywhere – how is one supposed to look civilised whilst spilling ones tea everywhere?? I love the ritual of pouring tea from a tea pot, and I also love the little touch of the tiny teddy biscuit on the side.

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On to the breakfast itself – now I generally don’t grade a breakfast based on the eggs, it’s pointless really – they really shouldn’t be too much variation in poached eggs. Although if they stuff this up then it’s unlikely that I’d be going back anytime soon. What I do look at are those “differentiating factors”. For me it’s the bacon, the toast and the baked beans. I hate places the serve short cut middle bacon with all the fat removed – what’s the point, you may as well serve ham! If I wanted to be healthy I wouldn’t order bacon…  The bacon should include the streaky section and it should be cooked, not warmed and soggy. I also hate think cut sour dough toast – you can’t cut it – the crust is like concrete! You can’t eat it without cutting up the inside of your mouth, and although it looks lovely, it’s completely impractical. On both points, Elwood Food and Wine scores well, they serve the whole slice of bacon, nicely cooked. And their toast is thin cut sour dough bread, which still has the lovely rustic flavour but is also practical to eat. Finally we move onto the baked beans – I’m a baked bean lover. If you serve me canned beans for breakfast (and I’m not at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere – in this case I understand) I’m not going to be pleased. Elwood Food and Wine do an outstanding baked bean (Ok, generally more than one outstanding bean, if fact I’d go so far as to say all of their beans that are baked are outstanding…) – house made with a fresh light sauce accompanying the beans which are cooked al dente. They also give you quite a generous serve so you wont be hungry afterwards. Price wise this place is fairly similar to most places around Elwood – not exactly cheap, but reasonable and good quality – you can’t go wrong here. I highly recommend if you are in the area and feel like a nice brunch in a nice location.

Elwood Food and Wine on Urbanspoon

wpid-20140702_000952.jpgWondering around Key West on our way to Duval street last night, Katie and I walked passed this little French cafe. The Menu looked promising for breakfast so we promised ourselves that we would come back the next day for breakfast. After a late night both of us were looking forward to a nice breakfast, and so off we went on the short stroll around the corner to Frenchie’s Cafe. The place was pretty busy so we sat out the back in the little courtyard, although it was pretty hot, the place was well shaded, had a fan directed on us and was surrounded by potted palms so it felt very comfortable. We ordered our breakfasts and sat sipping our tea and coffee while we waited. I ordered a Croque Madame and Katie ordered a baguette and a croissant. The sound of french accents from inside the kitchen was encouraging and lent an authentic air to the experience. The Croque Madam was impressive when it came out, all gratinated cheesey goodness and a lovely sunny-side up egg perfectly cooked, perched on top. The béchamel sauce was creamy and delicious, the ham was good, lightly smoked, the Swiss cheese (I assume Gruyère but it they didn’t specify) lent a lovely nutty cheesiness, and the homebaked bread was terrific. This was just what I needed – I could tell Katie had major plate envy. We’ll probably go back tomorrow for breakfast it was so good!

Frenchie's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tiffany's

Katie and I have made a happy habit of doing Breakfast/Bruch in the Bayside area of Melbourne most Saturdays over the last 6 or so months. There are so many options around us that initially we just had no idea where to go, and so we started exploring the area along the beach from Elwood to Port Melbourne. We are so lucky to live in an area with so many choices and most of them really good. The best part is that Breakfast/Brunch is usually a fairly cheap option for dining out, unlike Dinner which is usually around $100 for two, we find that our Breakfasts are usually less than half that and just a much fun. For the first 6 months of our adventuring, we tried to find a differently place each weekend, traveling as far afield as Williamstown, and all the way down to Mentone – generally however, we try to stay around 5 to 10 minutes from Elwood where we live. Funnily enough, one of our favourites to date is a small café located just around the corner from us called Tiffany’s. We have been in the area since 2007 and not once had explored the Tennyson street shops for Breakfast, so a couple of months ago – whilst feeling rather lazy – we decided to just walk around the corner and try “that café”. I’m glad we did, because since then it’s become one of our favourite places for Breakfast. My criteria when critiquing a breakfast is based on the fact that I almost always get the same thing the first time – the “Big Breakfast”. As such, I look at a number of factors to differentiate one café from another and these factors include,  the bacon, the tea and the baked beans. You might wonder why I don’t talk about the eggs – well, my assumption is that everyone can do eggs, so unless they are really bad or exceptionally good, they don’t come up on my radar. It’s the other things that for me set the Breakfast part. And this is where Tiffany’s scores the points. They do really good baked beans, they have amazing bacon – not the crappy short cut bacon which is more like ham, but the fatty, salty, smoked rasher bacon, cooked crispy that we all love. And finally, because Tiffany’s is also a deli, with an amazing selection of cheeses, they also do this delicious sweet potato rosti  which has some tangy goat cheese mixed in, and god knows what other delicious ingredients – It makes for a really tasty rosti, unlike any I’ve had before – anyway, it’s amazing. So for me, it’s here that Tiffany’s sets themselves above the pack.

Tiffany's2As a result, Katie and I have been straying closer to home more recently when it comes to our Breakfast adventures. unfortunately the downside for me is that it just doesn’t feel as exciting walking 50meters around the corner, I’d almost prefer it if Tiffany’s was 10 minutes away… I’m weird like that.

Tiffanys On Tennyson on Urbanspoon