Monday, 14 December 2015

Eden's Backyard, Carlton



















If Instagramming photos of food is your thing, then you will be in heaven (or Eden in this case...) at Eden’s Backyard. I was invited to sample the menu at this newly open cafe, which is located north of the Melbourne Museum. Eden’s Backyard is away from the hustle and bustle and the Astroturf and hanging ferns create a lush oasis from the surrounding housing estates. The menu has a Malaysian influence which makes it more interesting than your average café fare. Warning! When you show your friends the photos of your gorgeously plated food from Eden’s Backyard, they may drool with desire and become very envious... It’s okay though. Just tell them to catch the 96 tram up from the city with their iPhones and DSLR’s handy... 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Juno and May, Camberwell




Italy 1 in Camberwell is one of my favourite restaurants for date nights... Delicious Italian food served in a dark and moody atmosphere is just the ticket for a splendid romantic evening. So when I found out that an ex-head chef of Italy 1, Henry Honner, had opened up an eatery over the road, I absolutely had to check it out. Juno and May is named after Honner’s two dairy cows from his childhood that were used to acquire a TV... The eatery is open for lunch and dinner. During the day expect some brunch items as well as pizzas and burgers. At night, there are of course some tempting pasta dishes but don’t expect just Italian food... Melbourne designer, Samantha Eades, helped to transform the interior creating a modern space that is comfortable too. There were a lot of mothers and daughters catching up for lunch when we visited and it is definitely the perfect place to gossip and relax. If you are planning a function soon, then you should consider Juno and May’s upstairs function space, ‘The Stalls’, which has a private bar. Check out their website for more details...

Monday, 30 November 2015

Street Organics, Malvern


We all have that friend that has chosen to go vegan or paleo at the moment which can make it difficult when deciding on where to have lunch... Well, Street Organics in Malvern could be the answer. I had received some more vouchers from Zomato which included Street Organics. They cater for those on paleo, vegan, FODMAP and/or gluten-free diets. Now this may not be relevant to you... but the food is really delightful so everyone is happy! They also have some meat dishes for those that are feeling carnivorous. Afterwards, you can browse products to take home and make your own healthy, organic meals. They also do raw vegan high teas ($69 per person) upstairs, which is fun and healthy at the same time!  

Monday, 23 November 2015

Bluff Town, Sandringham













When I have a bayside house-sitting job, I love hanging out in Sandringham as it feels like a small beachside town rather than a suburb of Melbourne. Now I have a really cool café to go to for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, etc. This year Bluff Town opened in Sandringham. If you like The Resident in Ashburton, then you will really love Bluff Town... The food at Bluff Town is fabulous and the Spring Menu has some very tempting items. The Bluff Town Lunchbox is a novel idea where you receive a bun filled with goodies, a salad, and a sweet for just $15. A narrow, corner site is where you will find Bluff Town which stretches back to some very inviting booths. The concrete elements of the interior are softened by pale timber, greenery, and interesting artwork.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Upcoming Event: Paris to Provence


Bonjour my lovely readers! This weekend Paris to Provence returns to the magnificent Como House and Gardens for its 6th year... Well, I might be a bit biased as I volunteer at Como every week! Anyway, Paris to Provence is Melbourne’s ultimate French festival where over three days the National Trust's iconic Como House is turned into a lively French village. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Ruby T's, Canterbury


Ruby T’s reminds me of being back in England. I love a good old fashioned tearoom... a cosy retreat that’s full of doilies, teapots, ribbon sandwiches, scones and cream cakes. Well, I don’t need to book a plane ticket for Merseyside... I just need to jump in the car and drive over to Canterbury! Ruby T's is named after owner Pam’s grandmother. Ruby’s recipes have been passed down to Pam and are recreated at Ruby T’s. The last time I visited Ruby T’s, it was located further down Maling Road. The new place is much bigger but at the same time both comfortable and intimate.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Second Home, Eltham


How often are you seated in a café in the suburbs when a libations trolley swings past offering you some cocktails? This is obviously why Melburnians are queuing up at the recently opened Second Home in Eltham. You may have had a steak and fries (or steak frites...) at Entrecôte by now... Well, serial restaurateur Jason M Jones is spinning his magic yet again with Second Home which is part cafe, part art gallery. When we were there they were showcasing some beautiful snow photography on the walls... The building was designed by architect, Alistair Knox, in the 70s. A central olive tree stands watch over the space which is bathed in natural light. White table cloths add a touch of luxury and couches around a fireplace will be cosy in the winter. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Weekend Away - Ballarat Part 4


This year the Archibald Prize is being exhibited in Victoria at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. If you have not been to see it already, the exhibition is on until the 15th November... Tickets are $13.00 for adults and I suggest you pre-purchase your tickets to avoid disappointment. We enjoyed our time viewing the paintings and seeing how much talent Australia has to offer in the art scene.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Weekend Away - Ballarat Part 3


For dinner that night, we descended the grand staircase to the ground floor where we found the Craig’s Royal Hotel Restaurant. It was so much easier than finding a restaurant around town! No driving meant that there was no fighting over who would be the designated driver... The restaurant was beautiful! We were seated at our candlelit table by the very lovely and attentive staff. The service was indeed fantastic all night. 

Le Café Village, Canterbury


When I found out that there was a new café in Maling Road... I zoomed down to check it out. Le Café Village is located in what was once the gift shop down the end of the road, next to Bohemia CakesThe café was quiet but probably people are unaware that it exists yet... It has a wood panelled interior and some cosy chairs in the front window where you can read the paper. The menu is extremely good value for money. All day breakfasts, crepes, sandwiches and pastries make up the menu and it is great to find a place that offers light lunches. Time will tell if Le Café Village can compete with the many eateries along Maling Road, but they are off to a good start.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Hutch & Co., Lilydale




Lilydale is suddenly becoming the foodie capital of the outer east. Inner city cafés are opening up all over the place where you can get your single origin coffee and your Instagram drool-worthy eats. First you had The Lilydale General tucked away in the industrial area and then Round Bird Can’t Fly appeared on Main Street. Now they have some serious competition... Hutch & Co has a very enticing menu that should please your inner hipster. Compared to the other two cafés, their menu has more interesting options and causes less damage on the hip pocket. The space is a lot bigger than Round Bird and if you want somewhere more private the back room is a great option. Mesh partitions the interior into cosier rooms whilst pale timber, low hanging lighting and greenery soften the industrial look.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Kuala Lumpur Restaurant, Carnegie


I received some restaurant vouchers from Zomato a while ago and one of those vouchers was for the Kuala Lumpur Restaurant in Carnegie. In case you don’t already know, Urbanspoon was taken over by Zomato and has a range of new features for Melbourne foodies... Anyway, Koornang Road has an abundance of Asian eateries but the Kuala Lumpur Restaurant has been around for nearly a couple of decades. They must be serving some decent Malaysian fare to survive so much competition! You can see for yourself by popping into the Kuala Lumpur Restaurant for a Malaysian feast next time you are in the area...

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Farm Cafe, Abbotsford


My great-great-grandmother worked in the Abbotsford Convent kitchen for the nuns briefly at the end of her life. Of course, that was quite some time ago... Now, there are artists’ studios and eateries where you can grab some baked goods, some lentils... Well, if you stroll (or cycle) just down the bike path you will find the Collingwood Children’s Farm and The Farm Cafe. Locals, cyclists and families all congregate at The Farm Cafe for some mighty good fare. You don’t have to visit the farm to be able to go to the café, just enter via the bike path... The café is open air but undercover. We were there on a very warm and windy day where I eventually gave up trying to keep my hat on... It can get busy on the weekend but they give you a beeper that alerts you when your table is ready. After your lunch, you can visit the farm, cycle off along the picturesque bike paths, or laze around on the lawns of the grand Convent.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Weatherson Foods, Canterbury


Weatherson Foods in Maling Road is the perfect place to take your grandparents. Customers are treated like royalty at Weatherson’s and it has a lovely, homely vibe. I take my grandparents out once a week to do their errands like their shopping, visiting the library, and attending health appointments. This of course leads to a lunch out where we can take a break and catch up on the gossip of the week. I’ve taken them to Weatherson’s before but not for a long time so I thought we should make a return visit. They have another cafe in Kew too. Weatherson’s also have prepared meals to take home for you and your family when you don’t have time to cook them a healthy dinner.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Aunt Billies Cafe, Blackburn


Hallelujah! I’ve found the happy place! A glorious place full of sunbeams, delicious food, and good company... Aunt Billies Cafe in Blackburn is attached to the front of the One Community Church in Surrey Road. Yellow accents make the interior very bright and joyous. Yellow flowers, light fittings, awnings, and even the coffee machine! It makes a great alternative to the regular, dreary interiors that cafés often favour. It is a wonderful place to take your family and get a boost of happiness. Also, if you have a big appetite, the servings at Aunt Billies are enormous!

Weekend Away - Ballarat Part 2


We sat down for some afternoon tea at Larder in Daylesford. The breakfast/lunch menu looked very tempting so I am keen to return for a meal next time I’m in Daylesford for a romantic weekend away... After such a massive toastie lunch, we didn’t feel like a cake so we just ordered some Slow Tea Co. teas ($3.70) which are based right here in Daylesford. My travelling companion picked the ‘English Breakfast’ whilst I chose the ‘Green Tea & Jasmine’. My tea was so aromatic and flavoursome... the perfume of jasmine was intoxicating. The service was also excellent at Larder.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

CRU, Kew


A balmy summer’s night in the courtyard at CRU... Sipping a glass of prosecco with your tall, dark and handsome boyfriend... Sounds like the perfect night to me! Well, this is something you can do too... After your drinks, you can follow that up with dinner at CRU. But if breakfast or lunch is what you prefer then CRU does that too. On this occasion, it was a lovely sunny day so we thought we would have lunch in the courtyard out the back. If the weather is not so warm, then you can find a spot inside for a coffee and a chat. CRU would also be a great place to have your next party. Christmas is just around the corner...







WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Blueberry and Ricotta Hotcakes – vanilla and lavender ice-cream, salted caramel honeycomb ($16.00)
·        Crab Sliders – crispy soft shell crab, wombok slaw, lime mayo on brioche bun x 2 ($19.00)
·        Chicken Slaw Salad – Vietnamese herbs, bean shoots, carrot, salted chilli praline ($20.00) *gluten-free
·        Panna Cotta – toasted granola, whole nuts and grains, buffalo yoghurt, raspberry compote ($12.00) *gluten-free


WHAT WE ATE...
I was debating between the Hotcakes and the Shakshuka but was craving something savoury so the Shakshuka won. The ‘Shakshuka – two eggs in San Marzano tomato sugo, sweet capsicum, basil, chilli, grilled sourdough ($16.00)’ tasted delicious with the rich tomato sugo, the freshness from the basil, and the smokiness of the charred bread. However, I was expecting the tomatoes to be baked in the sugo but instead there were a couple of fried eggs with solid yolks. That was disappointing as dipping your bread into the runny baked eggs is the best part. Also, there was no heat from the chilli whatsoever...

Shakshuka




My dining companion picked the ‘Mushroom Bruschetta – king browns, shimeji, pine and enoki mushrooms, ricotta, truffle oil on olive sourdough ($16.00)’. This was a most enjoyable dish with a generous amount of mushrooms. The piquancy of the olives in the sourdough added an extra dimension to the creaminess of the ricotta.

Mushroom Bruschetta

WHAT WE DRANK...
If you are after a refreshing, cool drink then the ‘Phlavours of Pho Juice – lemon, Vietnamese mint, apple, pineapple, cucumber and fennel ($8.00)’ might be just your thing. My latte ($3.80) was lovely.  

Lattes

SERVICE...
Service was efficient and helpful and the fact that you can also pay in the courtyard is very handy indeed. 




Address: 916 Glenferrie Road, Kew, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9818 4366




Trading Hours:
Mon: 7.00am - 4.30pm
Tues - Fri: 7.00am - late
Sat: 8.00am - late
Sun: 8.00am - 4.30pm

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



P.S. Other eateries nearby are Percy’s Aeroplane, Adeney Milk Bar and Ora...



Friday, 16 October 2015

Weekend Away - Ballarat Part 1

Craig's Royal Hotel

Last weekend, we enjoyed a night of elegance staying at Craig’s Royal Hotel in Ballarat and visited the Art Gallery of Ballarat to see the Archibald Prize 2015.


We arrived in Trentham at noon so thought we would try the Trentham Collective for lunch. It is located smack in the middle of this pretty town, inside the old bank building. The menu is made up of mostly burgers and toasties. I decided to have ‘The Chook Upstairs Toastie with tender chicken, avocado, Barfold garlic infused oil, egg mayonnaise and lime ($14.00)’. This was indeed a big toastie! The golden, crunchy bread encased the oozing filling that tasted fabulous. The garlic oil was not overpowering.

The Chook Upstairs Toastie

My travelling companion chose the ‘Trentham Toastie with Bundarra Berkshire’s smoked ham, cheese, organic tomato, organic onion, housemade relish and mustard ($14.00)’.

Trentham Toastie



We also ordered a couple of lattes made with Brewhouse Coffee Roasters from Bendigo.

Latte




Address: 37A High Street, Trentham, VIC

Phone: 0497 253 252





Trading Hours:
Mon: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Tue –Thur: 8.00am – 4.00pm
Sat – Sun: 9.00am – 4.00pm

Trentham Collective Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



After Trentham, we stretched our legs in Daylesford. I collect all things Art Nouveau and Art Deco so I was very excited when I found this amazing shop in Daylesford. Art Deco has furniture, lighting, posters, decorative arts, jewellery, and vintage clothing but I was drawn to a gorgeous green necklace. I tried to take my eyes away from the necklace but it had me under its spell... We were lucky enough to have a tour of their clothing collection. There was a rare flapper dress with beautiful beading detail. Also, a delicate dress that was made for the movies as inside was a Paramount Studios stamp and the name Harriette Haddon, a movie actress from the 30’s and 40’s. Vintage lovers should check this shop out next time you are in Daylesford...
  


Address: 3/27 Vincent Street, Daylesford, VIC

Phone: 0407 321 865


  


Weekend Away – Ballarat Part 2 coming soon...


Friday, 9 October 2015

Alleycat Cafe, Canterbury


If I’m looking for a serene place to chat with friends over a coffee in Maling Road I usually stop by the Alleycat Cafe in Theatre Place. The food and coffee are delicious and the prices are very reasonable. Sitting out in Theatre Place under the trees is very tranquil and a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. On the weekend, you can feel like a Parisian and enjoy some freshly prepared crepes and the kids will enjoy watching them being created... as well as consuming them! The Alleycat Cafe also hosts events and gluten free food can be provided if required.







WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Alleycat Tart with breakfast egg, bacon, mushroom, and onion tart in a pot ($8.90)
·        Brie and Tomato Croissant ($7.50)
·        Salted caramel crepe ($7.00)
·        White chocolate with raspberry coulis crepe ($9.90)


WHAT WE ATE...
I thought I would try out their crepes today. I decided to have the ‘Strawberry, cream and meringue crumble crepe served with St. David Dairy Cream ($9.90)’. Yum, yum, and yum! The juicy, rosy strawberries, crisp meringue and luscious cream created a scrumptious concoction. I think that this is my new favourite Alleycat dish now...

Crepe


My dining companion picked the ‘Spinach and pine nut quiche ($7.90)’. I have this quiche quite often and it is very tasty. The pastry is flaky and the filling has the right amount of sharp cheese and a generous serving of pine nuts.

Quiche


WHAT WE DRANK...
My latte ($3.80) using Padre Coffee’s Daddy’s Girl Blend and St David Dairy was delightful.

Latte



Cappuccino

SERVICE...
The service is friendly but can be a bit all over the place. Sometimes you get table service and other times you order at the counter. Sometimes we have received the wrong meal or been overcharged and undercharged. If they could just manage to make the service refined and consistent, then this cafe would be perfect. Menus and water when seated would also be ideal. 




Address: 8 Theatre Place, Canterbury, VIC

Phone: 0417 002 403




Trading Hours:
Mon – Sun: 9.00am – 5.00pm

Alleycat Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


P.S. Other eateries nearby are Bohemia Cakes, The Maling Room, Bambaleros, and BetweenUs...


Monday, 5 October 2015

Dumpling Kitchen, Blackburn South


Whenever I have a yearning for dumplings, I head straight to the Dumpling Kitchen in Blackburn. I’ve experienced a lot of dumplings around Melbourne but this place can’t be beaten for quality, cleanliness and price. Plus, taste... Ms Shi creates magnificent dumplings and is an experienced cook from Northern China. The Dumpling Kitchen is a perfect place to catch up with friends or family and the kids will love trying the different dumplings. Also, all the dumplings are free of MSG. After your dumpling feast, you should probably pick up some frozen dumplings to take home with you... You just never know when another case of extreme dumpling desire will hit you...








WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Pan Fried Taro Pancake ($5.50)
·        Spring Onion Pancake ($5.50)
·        Xiao Long Bao ($9.80) x 10
·        Seafood Fried Noodles with XO Sauce ($12.00)
·        Salt and Pepper Bean Curd ($12.80)


WHAT WE ATE...
On this occasion, we ordered a couple of plates of dumplings. First to arrive was the ‘Pan Fried Vegetarian Dumplings ($9.50) x 18’. I always order these as I absolutely adore these dumplings! I’ve eaten vegetarian dumplings at fine dining Chinese restaurants in the past but they have been nowhere near as good as these. See all the different ingredients inside? The dumpling skins are also the ideal texture and thickness.   




Next up were the ‘Prawn and Pork Won Tons in Spicy Sauce ($9.50) x 12’. I haven’t had these before but they will definitely be added to my favourites list at the Dumpling Kitchen. They were just so silky! The spicy sauce had just the right amount of heat. I must stop thinking about them as I may have to pop over to the Dumpling Kitchen right now...





WHAT WE DRANK...
The restaurant is BYO. We enjoyed some complimentary tea.



SERVICE...
The service was very attentive and food was quick to arrive so we were able to sate our dumpling cravings not long after ordering. 



Address: 144A Canterbury Road, Blackburn South, VIC

Phone: 03 8838 0553



Trading Hours:
Tues – Sun: 11.00am – 3.00pm, 5.00pm – 9.00pm

Dumpling Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


P.S. Other eateries nearby are Charlotte’s Corner and Gourmet Girl...




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