Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Bakers Wife, Camberwell


Nutella, jam and custard oozing out of sugar coated balls of desire... Yes, I am talking about doughnuts and The Bakers Wife has them in spades. As well as tarts and muffins and anything else that your sweet heart lusts for. The Bakers Wife is named after owner and baker Beejan Degani’s wife Dora who is indeed the baker’s wife. All their baked goods are made fresh on the premises which you can either enjoy there with a cup of coffee or take them home. Why go home though when you have an open fire to cosy up to right here... The interior is massive but when we dined there it was absolutely packed with happy patrons. A central communal table is crowned by hanging greenery and the exposed brick walls are enhanced by wonderful murals by artist Mimby Jones Robinson.






WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        The Eggsparagus – Asparagus, hash brown, poached eggs, hollandaise and truffle oil ($18.50) *gluten free
·        The Barramundi Roll – Crumbed barramundi fillet, brioche bun, fennel, apple and celery slaw, fried capers, dill aioli and chips ($19.00)
·        The Lamb – Crisp spiced lamb shoulder, pumpkin hummus, fried chickpeas, beetroot relish, paprika yoghurt, cucumber and mint salad ($22.50) *gluten free
·        The Bubble and Squeak – Bubble and squeak croquette, Italian sausage, roast tomato, fried egg, sourdough, house relish and house BBQ sauce ($21.50)
·        French Toast, ricotta, and maple syrup ($6.50) *kids menu


WHAT WE ATE...
I chose a sandwich as they looked very tempting in the glass cabinet. The ‘Poached chicken, avocado, cheese and herb mayo ($11.00)’ was absolutely marvellous! The chicken was moist and the herb mayo was scrumptious. The bread was so fresh!

Chicken and Avocado Sandwich

My dining companion also opted for a sandwich. The ‘Poached chicken Waldorf , citrus, walnuts, celery and herb mayo ($11.00)’ was also delightful. The filling was tangy and crunchy.

Chicken Waldorf Sandwich

We bought a couple of danishes ($4.50) to take home for afternoon tea. We ordered an apricot and a cherry one but upon eating the cherry danish it appeared to be in fact a raspberry danish. The apricot danish was my favourite out of the two. The plump apricot was resting on a bed of silky and luscious custard. The pastry was nice and flaky. I’m definitely buying at least a dozen of the apricot danishes next time... Maybe some custard doughnuts as well...

Apricot and Raspberry Danishes

WHAT WE DRANK...
A glass of fresh juice ($8.00) may counteract the sugar from the pastries or maybe a pot of lemongrass tea ($4.00)... My latte ($3.80) made with Allpress Coffee tasted beautiful but was a tad cold.

Latte

SERVICE...
The service at the Bakers Wife was fantastic even though the place was bustling with people eating in and purchasing take-away goodies.  





Address: 414-418 Burke Road, Camberwell, VIC

Phone: 03 9809 1133




Trading Hours:
Tues – Fri: 7. 00am – 3.00pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 3.00pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are the Hidden Café and Bella Sistas Espresso...


Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Station House


Again, I pulled out my Entertainment Book and found a voucher for The Station House in Blackburn. I’ve found some great eateries so far with the Entertainment Book that I may not have found otherwise. Hopefully, The Station House would also be a hidden gem. The space is quite large and stretches right back. The interior doesn’t really have a consistent theme but I feel it is somewhere you could spend as long as you please enjoying a cup of coffee. The menu has the option for gluten free bread to be substituted for an extra $1.00 which is great for those with a gluten intolerance.  






WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Pancake Stack with fresh strawberries, vanilla ice-cream and maple syrup ($17.00)
·        Chicken Ragu with freshly made papparadelle – chicken bites slow cooked in a pesto and butter sauce tossed through delicious house-made pasta ($18.00)
·        Salmon Omelette with organic sourdough toast with smoked salmon, fresh dill, capers ($17.00)
·        Wintery bowl of warm oats with cranberries, apple, raisins and maple syrup ($12.00) 


WHAT WE ATE...
The menu is quite expensive for what is on offer compared with other cafés. For example, the ‘Pancakes’ (listed above) had rather simple toppings for $17.00 whereas you would expect something fancier for that price. I decided to have the ‘Gardenia Burger: field mushroom, spinach, jalapeño mayo served with seasoned chunky chips ($16.00)’. I was expecting a whole field mushroom as it was a burger but instead my burger was filled with sautéed mushrooms which made it difficult to eat. The jalapeño mayo was missing in action initially but the waitress was more than happy to find some for me when I asked. I’m afraid it was very watery and the burger overall was lacking in flavour. The roll was very nice and I did receive a massive amount of chips.

Gardenia Burger

My dining companion opted for the ‘Seasonal Mushroom Bruschetta: mushrooms sautéed in garlic, parsley and lemon served on organic sourdough toast topped with a free range poached egg and feta with lemon and ginger dressing ($16.00)’. Again, this differed from the menu. No sign of the lemon and ginger dressing and instead the bruschetta was covered in a balsamic dressing. The poached egg was overcooked, the bread was hard and the feta was in short supply. However, maybe they were just having a bad day in the kitchen on this occasion.

Mushroom Bruschetta

WHAT WE DRANK...
If the weather wasn’t freezing I would have had a Peroni ($7.00) with my burger and chips. Maybe an Iced Chai with cream ($6.50)... My latte ($3.70) made with Coffee Supreme took a long time to arrive but was very nice.

Latte

SERVICE...
The service was friendly and relaxed. 


Address: 110 South Parade, Blackburn, VIC

Phone: 03 9894 0041




Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Sat – Sun: 9.00am – 4.00pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Nuts About Coffee, Urban Zinc and Gourmet Girl...


Monday, 20 July 2015

Two Seeds


High Street in Ashburton has quite a few inviting cafés to try. On this occasion, we thought we would give Two Seeds a whirl. Two Seeds uses free range eggs from Kinross Farm and supports local businesses like Top Shelf Fruits and Asburton Meats. Many items on the menu are cooked to order using quality ingredients but if you are in a hurry there are sandwiches, baguettes, and wraps available in the display cabinet. The café is set over two levels with a white interior and a delightful collection of vintage plates displayed on one of the walls.  




WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Baked Eggs with Moroccan meatballs, goats cheese, wilted spinach with La Madre toast ($17.00)
·        Pumpkin and Fetta Tartlet with rocket salad and lemon dressing ($12.00)
·        Corn Fritters with poached eggs, fried haloumi, coriander salsa and house-made sweet chilli drizzle ($15.00)
·        Thai-rific Calamari Salad with green papaya, green bean, tomato, mixed herbs, roasted sliced almonds and house-made dressing ($15.00)
·        House-made Chicken Fingers with small serve of fries ($7.00) *kids menu


WHAT WE ATE...
I decided to have something from their daily specials: ‘Lasagne bolognaise with béchamel served with mashed potato ($13.90)’. The steaming hot lasagne arrived on top of the mashed potato. I thought this was an odd combination but it tasted delicious. Plus, I do love my carbs. The lasagne was rich and gorgeous and I was very full afterwards! The accompanying side salad of rocket and slivers of red onion was also tasty.

Lasagne Bolognaise

My dining companion also decided to have a lasagne from the special’s board: ‘Pumpkin, oregano and ricotta lasagne served with mashed potato ($13.90)’. This lasagne was also fantastic and very luscious.

Pumpkin Lasagne

WHAT WE DRANK...
Two Seeds have a huge range of Harney & Sons Fine Teas ($3.80) with flavours such as Cinnamon Sunset, African Autumn, and Pomegranate Oolong to choose from. A Peppermint Hot Chocolate ($4.30) might be more your thing... My latte ($3.80) was lovely.

Latte

SERVICE...
The service was very friendly and we felt very welcomed. 



Address: 186 High Street, Ashburton, VIC

Phone: 03 9885 1364




Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 6.00am – 4.30pm
Sat – Sun: 7.00am – 4.30pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Golden Child, Zouz Cafe, Little Chloe and Terminus Lane...


Golden Child


There once was a quiet strip of shops next to Burwood Station... Then, two brilliant cafés opened up at either end and thus this once quiet strip of shops is now bustling with people. We were undecided which one to go to that day but when we arrived, Baba Sus had queues out the door so our decision was relatively easy. From the people behind Little Ox, Golden Child has an Italian-Chinese fusion menu. The interior is a mixture of white walls, exposed brick and pale timber with eye-catching bottles of native foliage on each table.



WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Black pudding and crumbed egg, spinach, artichoke, red wine jelly with sourdough ($19.00)
·        Mushroom arancini with Bononcini, confit garlic aioli, sumac and truffle oil, served with a rocket salad ($19.00)
·        Grilled barramundi with Thai green curry, bamboo shoots, lychees, fried shallots and rice noodles ($22.00)
·        Baby beetroot salad with grilled baby leeks, candy walnuts, vegan cream cheese and fresh spinach ($18.00)


WHAT WE ATE...
I thought I would go for a sweet option and picked the ‘Pumpkin bread with Shiraz pear, ginger crumb, cinnamon meringue and vanilla Anglaise mousse ($12.00)’. I was expecting a petite serve as it was only $12. However, an elaborate work of art appeared before me. How can a dish that is so gorgeous be so inexpensive? As for the flavour, that was outstanding too. The pear was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of give as I slid my spoon through its blushing flesh. The ginger crumb, walnuts, cinnamon meringue and clouds of mousse added a delight to the golden pumpkin bread. Golden Child definitely has a talented chef...

Pumpkin Bread

My dining companion chose the ‘Chicken roti wrap with Rice-bubble batter, Asian slaw, chilli, spring onions, avocado puree ($16.00)’. Again, this was a wonderful dish. From the first glance the wrap appears quite simple... Don’t be fooled by its deceptiveness. Inside is an explosion of complex flavours and textures. I had a taste and I was seriously impressed.
The highly desired fifth taste of umami flooded my tastebuds... 

Chicken Roti Wrap

WHAT WE DRANK...
You can have a ‘Golden Child Fresh Tea – fresh ginger, lemon, honey and mint ($5.00)’ or perhaps a Cherry Ripe or Salted Caramel Milkshake ($5.00 small, $8.00 large). My latte ($3.80) was fabulous! Fantastic food and coffee? I think I have found Nirvana!

Latte

SERVICE...
Yes, the service was great too! 



Address: 1-3 Bardolph Street, Glen Iris, VIC

Phone: 03 9889 6969



Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 3.00pm


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P.S. Other eateries nearby are The Hidden Cafe, Zouz Cafe and Bella Sistas Espresso...




Thursday, 9 July 2015

Zouz Cafe















Burwood Village has evolved substantially since it was my local shops. Well, I was only a baby then... Fast forward nearly thirty years and Burwood Village is now a collection of eateries, gorgeous boutiques and gift shops filled with luxurious wares. Digging out my Entertainment book again, I spied a voucher for Zouz Cafe. The interior of the cafe is really quite big with very comfy chairs. Out the front, there is even more seating in an enclosed outdoor area which would be lovely when the weather warms up. Zouz Cafe is a great place to take your family and seems to be very popular with grandparents. I must take mine here to see how Burwood Village has changed... Zouz Cafe also caters for functions for up to 130 people with 1, 2 and 3 course menus available as well as finger food and cocktail packages.



WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Banana Bread – lightly toasted and topped with mascarpone cheese, coulis, berries and pistachio nuts ($12.00)
·        Vietnamese Prawn and Calamari Salad – grilled chilli and lime prawns and calamari served on a Vietnamese mint and noodle salad with Asian inspired mayonnaise ($19.50)
·        Mushroom Stack – toasted seven grain bread topped with avocado smash, olive tapenade, feta, sautéed oregano mushrooms and topped with grilled bacon ($14.50)
·        Steak Sandwich – char-grilled steak served on a toasted focaccia with mustard aioli, rocket, tomato and grilled onion sided with homemade chips and watercress balsamic salad ($17.00)
·        Spaghetti Napoli ($9.50) *kid’s menu


WHAT WE ATE...
I picked the ‘Zouz Eggs – toasted focaccia topped with bacon, poached eggs, crushed avocado and hollandaise sauce ($15.50)’. The combination of bacon, avocado and eggs smothered in lashings of scrumptious hollandaise sauce was wonderful. They definitely were not stingy on the avocado and the hollandaise sauce was tangy and very rich and buttery.

Zouz Eggs

My dining companion chose the ‘Corned Beef on Rye – Honey mustard corned beef served on fresh rye bread with beetroot spread and rocket sided by gherkins and a fennel caper salad ($13.90)’. This was also an excellent dish and extremely good value for money! The rye bread was superb and the beetroot spread was a fabulous addition. The fennel caper salad was also great. I am going to have to try this next time...

Corned Beef on Rye

WHAT WE DRANK...
Many patrons were enjoying a glass of wine with their lunch. Perhaps they were sipping a glass of ‘Stumpy Gully Estate Pinot Noir ($7.50)’ or a ‘Monichino Pinot Grigio ($7.50)’. My
Latte ($3.60) was pretty good but was just a touch cold.

Latte

SERVICE...
Our waitress was very nice and we had no problem with the service.



Address: 1420 Toorak Road, Camberwell, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9889 0998



Trading Hours:
Mon – Tues: 7.00am – 5.00pm
Wed – Thurs: 7.00am – 9.30pm
Fri – Sat: 7.00am - 10.30pm
Sun: 8.00am – 5.00pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Bella Sistas Espresso and the Hidden Cafe...



Sunday, 5 July 2015

Barclays Cafe


When I am in Heathmont I usually end up at the Village Food Store for a coffee. However, I heard that Barclays Cafe had recently become under new management. We thought we would give it a try. We were seated out the back in the heated courtyard as the inside was full. There was an immense selection of tempting cakes displayed in the glass cabinet which I will have to try on a return visit for afternoon tea. Barclays Cafe also has some upcoming events including a High Tea on July 7th and Christmas in July on July 17th. Check out their website for further details...





WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Egg Sombrero House-made potato & leek hash brown topped with tomato relish, baby spinach, Barclay’s chilli beans & a poached egg. ($14.00) *Gluten Free
·        Green Eggs & Ham - Scrambled eggs with basil pesto, double smoked ham, parmesan & rocket, served on grilled Turkish bread. ($16.00)
·        Gourmet Lamb Burger - Premium lamb patty in a brioche bun with house made beetroot relish, caramelised onion, baby cos & tasty cheese with sweet potato chips & herb mayo. ($18.00)
·        Pulled Pork Wrap - Slow braised pork shoulder, carrot, Chinese cabbage, coriander, spring onion & chilli ($15.50)


WHAT WE ATE...
I chose the ‘Pizza - garlic prawns, basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, feta and rocket ($15.00)’. The pizza base was pita bread which I found to be a bit dry and crunchy. For $15.00 I would have assumed that they would make their own pizza bases... Cocoa Moon in Warrandyte has superior pizzas served in a café environment. The topping was alright but could have been elevated by a drizzle of olive oil over the rocket.  

Pizza

My dining companion decided to have the ‘Zucchini Bacon Slice - house made zucchini and bacon slice with tomato relish and garden salad ($14.50)’. Although the zucchini slice tasted good, the dish consisted mostly of salad. The tomato relish improved the slice which sometimes can be a bit bland.

Zucchini and Bacon Slice

WHAT WE DRANK...
Items from the drinks list include a glass of ‘Mr Wolf Pinot Gris ($8.00)’ and a ‘Choc-Macadamia milkshake ($4.50)’. My latte ($4.00) made with Jasper Fairtrade Organic coffee was good but did have a lot of foam. You expect a fantastic coffee when they are charging $4.00. The coffee is much better up the road at the Village Food Store. Next time I might try a ‘Christmas Tea’ by High Tea with Harriet ($3.70).

Latte

SERVICE...
The service was very friendly but there was a long wait for food. This may be due to the fact that it is quite a large venue and was very busy. 



Address: 196 Canterbury Road, Heathmont, VIC

Phone: 03 9738 2366



Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 6.30am – 4.30pm
Sat – Sun: 7.30am – 4.30pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Chapter Too and the Vanilla Pod...


Friday, 3 July 2015

The Peddler Cafe, Nunawading


I visited the Peddler Café when it first opened and a latte set me back $4.20 and I don’t remember it being anything special. A magnificent view of the Dandenongs from the café may be the reason for the high coffee prices... or perhaps the monopoly the Peddler has. Anyway, I thought it was time to give it another crack. Good news! The coffee prices have dropped with a latte now costing $4.00. The interior was cosy with comfortable retro chairs, green walls and a black ceiling. Not sure about the mishmash of amateur art covering the walls but I guess it gave a homely feel. The Peddler Café is a much needed place in the area to catch up with friends over some fantastic food. The service and coffee need a bit of improvement though...



WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Pancake Stack,  white chocolate and ginger crumble, berries, cream, maple syrup ($15.50)
·        BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders, brioche, pickled red onion, mustard mayo, potato salad ($17.50)
·        Campfire (Baked) Eggs, chorizo, bacon, butter beans, chilli, parmesan, Napoli ($18.90)
·        Soft Shell Crab Burger, wasabi mayo, coriander slaw in a ciabatta bun ($18.90)
·        Grilled chicken dippers with mayonnaise, lettuce and toast ($7.90) *kid’s menu


WHAT WE ATE...
I decided to have the ‘Zucchini Fritters, ricotta, smoked salmon, sour cream, herb salad ($18.50)’. This was brilliant and very filling. The charred fritters were creamy inside and matched perfectly with the smoked salmon and sour cream. The beautifully dressed salad offset the richness of the meal.

Zucchini Fritters

My dining companion opted for something from the Chef’s Specials. The ‘Prosciutto wrapped asparagus – poached eggs, truffle pecorino cheese, salsa verde ($17.50)’ was also a thoroughly enjoyable dish. The asparagus was fresh and the truffled pecorino added a lavish touch. 

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus with oozing yolks

WHAT WE DRANK...
Some ‘Well Being Tea ($4.90)’ or ‘Hot water with lemon ($2.00)’ may appeal to the health conscious. My latte ($4.00) tasted slightly burnt and my dining companion found there to be quite a lot of froth compared to actual coffee. This was also evident on other tables.

Latte

SERVICE...
I found the service to be a bit lacking. We were left standing in the doorway for some time and it took quite a while for them to come and take our order. Also, our table was quite dirty...


Address: 295b Springfield Road, Nunawading, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9877 4381

Trading Hours:
Wed – Sun: 7.00am – 4.00pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Station Street Cafe and Miss Polly...



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