Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010


Another year gone by. I know I have been slack, I can not believe that one month has passed since I last posted.In fact I cannot believe that a new year is about to start. However, I have not been idle in the past month, of course I have been out and about and I will try to sum up my culinary month of December.

WEEK ONE

The month started off dining at The Bank in Yarraville Village. I am not sure of how many people are aware of this but The Bank do quite a good meal. I have eaten here a few times over the last few years and each meal was lovely. Most locals tiss at the mention of The Bank but I Tiss back because I think it is a business that deserves a bit more support. They have specials on weeknights, some incorporating a movie at the Sun Theatre which is just across the road. Give it a go! Let me know if you think otherwise.

The next night I was off to The Middle Park Hotel to Paul Wilson's Gastropub. Paul Wilson took over the kitchens approximately one year ago and has been a consultant on their menu. It's a great pub and set up really well with booths with teles for sports fanatics. When we walked in our dinner guests were not in the dining room yet so the waiter suggested a drink at the bar. He was extremely accommodating and ordered our drinks for us and found a bar table for us. The service was excellent for the rest of the evening. The Food, mmmmmm extremely meaty and pricy. Would I go back, probably not for the dining room but a bar meal yes. The bar meal has Pauls hotly talked about Scotch Eggs on the menu, apparently they are delicous. That's what I would like to try next.

WEEK TWO

In the Next week I had lunch in Northcote at The Breakfast Club. A Groovy little cafe on St Georges rd. A very limited menu, a smart idea for a very small space. Lots of toasties to choose from as well as all the brekkie regulars. I had a mexican bean toastie which was pretty delicious. The tea cosy on the tea pot just about sent me into hysterics because it was perfect. That is the way tea should be served!

The next lunch was at the Kent Hotel in Rathdowne st North Carlton. Another Groovy little spot. Sitting outside on the pavement was a great space for catching up with some old workmates. I ordered the Nicoise Salad and it was excellent. The Tuna cooked to perfection, seared on the outside and rare in the centre. A glass of white wine in hand and I was settled in for the afternoon watching the passing trade.

WEEK THREE

Funki Monkey. New to Yarraville, I was very excited when I saw the menu for this cafe. Gozleme! Anything I read after this has disappeared from my memory. I had to have their Gozleme. I had only had it once before and that was at the Yarraville Gardens Farmers Market. It was delicious! Gozleme is a Turkish pastry that is hand made and hand rolled,filled with spinach and feta cheese,lamb, beef or other vegetable fillings. It is then sealed and pan fried. At Funki Monkey they served it with hummus, babaganoush,lemon and tzatziki. Brilliant! What's more I think it was like $12 for this huge platter that you could easily share with a girlfriend for lunch. At the end the waitress then treated us to some of their home made Turkish Delight, I couldn't have been happier. This cafe is mainly focused at mothers with young children. They have a complete playroom for toddlers with every toy a child could need plus a dvd player(not in favor of this, don't see why our kids need to watch the screen all the time). We sat on the verandah and it was a warm day and it was a wonderful spot to watch Yarravillians go by.

WEEK FOUR

Enter the Indian Influence

Breakfast over xmas saw me at the Corner Shop eating the most delicious Baked Eggs with Eggplant Kasundi. (Kasundi is a hot Indian traditional Relish) On the side, a couple of pieces of toasted ciabiatta and I was in heaven. I thought wow, this is fantastically orginal.
Fast forward a few days and I am at Grindhouse cafe in Carlisle St, Balaclava and there is that word again Kasundi, but this time it is with tomato not eggplant. This time it is being served on the side of the Breakfast Vegetarian and Egg Biryani(Indian fried rice with spices). It is also topped with a freshly cooked papadam and some raita. Again I was sent to heaven. It is fantastic to see our chefs incorporating new ideas into our breakfasts, making another's cuisine into our own. Gone are the days of just Bacon and Eggs, I'm sure in 2011 we will see some more of these inspirational enhancements to our menus. The question is who will lead and who will fall behind.

Looking Forward.

As always I have had my ear to the ground and have heard that there might be a few changes in SKY in 2011.

We know there is a new cake shop in Anderson street coming(Hurray Up)and we might also know that there is supposed to be a new Mediterraen restaurant opening in Gamon St, in the old pet shop. I have also heard that Delizia and Seddon Deadly Sins may have new owners next year. But the big scoop is that the owners of the Corner Shop are opening another cafe in Yarraville. It's in the old record shop by the railway and you can see that there has been a lot of work done on it lately. This is very exciting news for SKY. For those of you who have had difficulty getting a table at the Corner Shop you can now try at their second cafe. Although I have heard that the second shop will not be a replica of the first one and they will be concentrating on take aways.
So as you can see there is lot to look forward to in SKY in 2011. I also hope to improve on my blog with a few photos and some extra snippets and tibits of all things culinary.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cafe Cirino

Cafe Cirino
133 Nelson Place
Williamstown

Breakfast in Willi is a pleasure at Cafe Cirino. When you walk in your senses are heightened by the true authenticity of the owners. They are Italian, you can hear it in the accents and how lovely it is. The Second hit is the smell, the smell of the coffee and although I am not a coffee drinker I love the smell of good coffee. Here they ground the beans per order and the brand being used is Coffea. The third hit is visual, the glass deli cabinet filled with fresh lovely looking ciabiattas, bruschettas, foccacias, croissants and small olive bread rolls. All looking so fresh and tempting me to go back for lunch.

The breakfast menu is very small, with a choice of a toasted sandwich, a ham and cheese croissant or a plain croissant with jam. There is also a chocolate croissant, which I had to resist as I had already ordered a classic hot chocolate (more about that later). Muesli with yogurt and fruit was also an option. As at the moment there appears to be no kitchen out the back we have one of those situations where everything is being done front of house.
Normally I have suggested that perhaps some imagination be used in situations like this but and this is a big but I don't think they need this at all because at the moment it reminds me of being in Italy where on your way to work you grab your coffee and pastry. So when in Rome................. I ordered a toasted croissant with my Italian style hot chocolate.

They have a very special selection of hot chocolate drinks from Fraus. Fraus has a cafe in Victoria st North Melbourne serving these very European blends and now wholesaling to other lucky cafes in Melbourne. Classic chocolate, Orange, Hazelnut, tirumisu, orange and coffee are just some of the 20 or so flavours on offer. This is a real hot chocolate experience, none of the tepid and watery hot chocolates some cafes give the same name. This is like drinking pure velvet , it is impossibly rich but the most delightful sensation in a hot drink.
Drinking this whilst eating a gorgeously buttery croissant was like going to heaven. At $7.70 I thought this one of the most simplistic but Delicious breakfasts I have had since being in Rome itself.
This cafe has managed to give you the feel of being in Italy,there is Italian music playing in the background, people are coming and going and the atmosphere is enticing.
So enticing it seems that they will be expanding. I noticed some work going on out the back and have confirmed that they will be opening a restaurant. How exciting, but the question is will they be able to hold on to the Little Italy feeling once it becomes a restaurant. I guess we will just have to wait and see, if they can create an Italian restaurant with the same atmosphere as their cafe I'm sure it will be one of the best restaurants in Williamstown.
QUOTE - Ferran Adria of El Bulli -

"I prefer eating to cooking!"

Did anyone see the documentary on SBS about this most Amazing Chef. He is an inspiration!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A few cake tibits!

Cakes, Cakes, Cakes! Two new shops that I have heard about.

1. Already opened(apparently in Spotswood) is a take away cup cake shop. Owned by Ariana, formerly of Try this in Yarraville. Let me know if you have been there, I haven't got there yet, but look forward to checking it out. It's across the road from the Duchess of Spotswood.
2. Coming to Yarraville a new cake shop, opening where Recoleta Boutique was. This is exciting I really hope they do something unique.

Whilst we are talking about cakes I have to let it be known that I am a huge fan. It is one of the biggest conflicts in my life. I love to Bake Cakes, I love to Eat Cakes and I love to talk about cakes, so why oh why can it not be a daily indulgence. Because my dear friends cake is the enemy of my body! If I ate Cake everyday I would resemble a Jam Roly Poly. As much as I love cake I do not want to look like one, so these days when I'm going to have cake it has to be pretty dam special.

Making a resurgence in Melbourne this year has been the 'High Tea'. The Hotel Windsor, The Park Hyatt, The Sofitel are all places where you can indulge in all sorts of cake.
Chocolat Gateax, Lemon Tarts, Upside down Cakes, Tortes, Pavlovas, Mousse Cakes, Cheese cakes, Fruit Flans, Roulades, Nut Cakes, Pastries, Muffins, Apple Pie and the Australian Piece de resistance, The Lamington!
Well, have you had enough yet, I'm drooling, my stomach is rumbling and I just wish I had something like this in my fridge, but alas, the sensible Monica doesn't have these sorts of things in her fridge. That's why I have to go out for these and that's why I chose the Hopetoun tea Rooms for my cake indulgence.

Have you been to the Block Arcade in Melbourne it is a lovely arcade to shop in and it has the Hopetoun Tea Rooms. If it's cake you want this is a great place to come and eat it. I had a piece of the latticed Cherry Pie and OH MY it was absoulutely delicious. Not to sweet and not to tart , lovely crumbly/buttery pastry. I would love to work my way through the window display. However(yes, there is almost always a however with me)the cup of tea I had with my cherry pie was the worst cup of tea I have ever, ever, ever had. I sent the first pot back thinking that they must have made a mistake, but no it came back just the same the second time around. I was in shock, Is this not the Hopetoun Tea Rooms where they serve Tea! MMMMMMmmmmmm. Mystified! And the service? Well apparently The Hopetoun Tea rooms have been undergoing some changes, where they want to lift the standards one more notch. As far as the service is concerned I just thought is was appalling, I saw a waitress(very young and inexperienced) drop some cake on the floor and ignore it, I thought she must be coming back to clean it up but she didn't. All the staff are very young and modern which does not match the tea rooms. The Hopetoun tea rooms are from a time gone by. The 1800's, and the rooms are decorated as such(orginal I'm told), this calls for respect and grace and calm, but the young staff had none of this, such a mismatch!
SO! The question is would I go back for just the cake and not bother with the tea! I'm not sure that I would. But you see the window display is JUST so enticing and if I happened to be walking by doing some shopping in the Block Arcade, then maybe, just maybe I would have to pop in for a bit of cake and a glass of water.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nosh

Nosh

24 Hall St
Newport 3015
9391 6404


I always thought that Hall st Newport had huge potential. In a way it reminds me of Seddon quite a few years back and although I think Seddon has a way to go, Hall St, Newport is even further behind. There’s really no competition for Nosh, lucky them!

As soon as I walked in the door of Nosh I liked it. For a start it was very busy and to me that says a lot. The bar stools lined up against the window looked inviting and I mozied on over, only to discover that they are really very uncomfortable, so I relocated to one of the few tables left. Immediately the service began with a menu being given to me and my coffee order taken, or in my case my chai tea order. On the menu it says they will keep no one waiting more than 25 minutes and they didn’t, in fact the service was excellent. I ordered the brekky wrap with house beans, chilli scrambled eggs and avocado. (15.50). I’m not sure if they were “house” beans, they seemed more like “3 bean mix” to me, however as a dish I thought it was quite enjoyable(with a little bit more salt) and very generous, there was at least half an avocado in there.(I’d be a bit concerned about my food costs).

Other dishes on the menu that caught my eye were the bacon and egg roll on toasted Turkish bread with cheddar, caramelized onion, aioli and house made relish or the bircher muesli with banana and roasted rhubarb or the oat porridge with strawberries, vanilla milk, roasted almonds and golden syrup. Yum Yum Yum!! It clearly states that all the eggs are free range and sourced in Victoria. It also directs vegans or gluten challenged people to menu items.

And for the children, fantastic, a Kids food and Drinks menu. Very impressive! My kids would love it! Cocoa Pops(what a treat) or cheese and vegemite toasties (crusts cut off) or for the more sophisticated child, fresh fruit salad and yoghurt. I also liked the notice on the wall asking parents to ask the children to respect that Nosh supplies colouring in materials. (I could open a can of worms about other children’s behaviour in cafes; of course mine are always perfect.)

I had a chai latte which was served in a very disappointing cafeteria style pot but none the less a nice chai made with the spices(not the powder and sugar mix which seems to be everywhere) and served with honey,(not on a spindle but in a tube). The cost $4.30.
The coffee is Supreme and costs $3.20sm or $4.20lrge. The tea comes in loose leaf or tisanes (mmmm what is this, a new word for me, I’ll just google it.).
Tisanes are a herbal infusion or similar preparation drunk as a beverage or for its mildly medicinal effect. According to dictionary.com.(wow, don’t you just love google!)

Nosh can be very noisy, so this can be a distraction if you are trying to have a conversation with your mate. I've had friends say to me that going there in big groups is a disaster as you can only hear the person sitting next to you.

Lack of competition can breed complacency and although I wouldn't tag Nosh as complacent I would say the that the reason it is so busy is because there is no where else to go. Overall I think Nosh covers a lot of bases which would attract a wide range of customers. The service on the day I was there was excellent, the food was good with the menu tempting me to go back and the chai was good. However if they put, for instance a Duchess of spotswood next to it or the Auction Rooms(north melbourne review to come)they would lose a lot of customers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Petitou
206 Somerville Rd
Kingsville VIC 3012
0421 946 871
9 months on

Well not much has changed since I was last here.But on saying that I did hear whispers that renovations were about to start. Interesting, because I was just thinking to myself that they could make much better use of the space. After visiting Luncheonette(Kensington) I thought that they are a fine example of a great menu coming out of a little kitchen. It would pay for the girls at Petitou to pay Luncheonette a visit to see all the possibilities.
I say this because the brekkie menu at Petitou is really non-existent, when really that’s what they need. Whilst I was there a lot of mums with toddlers were the main customers, and on that basis I would put some kids breakfast dishes on the menu as well as something more than toast for the mums. I had the raisin toast, it was very nice , I also had a chai late which was lovely, but really I want more than that. The other option is toasted sandwiches, as far as brekkie is concerned this is not what I want . (I could be wrong here, other customers might love a toastie for brekkie, but for me toasties are something I have at home.) There is a special on where for $7 you can have a toastie and a coffee, it is a bargain really and I’m sure it catches the eye of the every ending truckies driving down Somerville road.
Also on offer are cakes from Chef Emma Mackay, our very own celebrity chef.(watch out for Emma on the next series of Iain Hewitson’s, Huey’s Kitchen, she is his guest pastry chef). Emma also supplies Petitou with sausage rolls, meat and vego which are very popular.
The coffee is Jasper and the tea is T2(tea bag). I love how the tea is served in a little pot that sits on top of the cup with a cute little milk pot on the side. I would prefer tea leaves than a bag( again I have tea bags at home). Thinking about tea wouldn’t it be lovely if we had time in our lives to have a proper tea ritual at least twice a day. Where we brew the tea leaves in a lovely pot, which we cover with a tea cosy that grandma made, we turn the pot three times in one direction and then one more time in the opposite direction and then we wait, until it is perfectly brewed.


The owner, Tara, is lovely and her assistant is also very nice, I wish them luck with the renovations and look forward to visiting again to see what they have come up with.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Luncheonette café
173 Rankins Road,
Kensington
(opposite Kensington train station)

Open - every day except Mon 8am-3pm.

I like Luncheonette. It is very appealing to the eye, simple but effective. They have made very good use of the tiny space available to them. There is no visible kitchen and yet they produce some lovely breakfast dishes and also have some wonderful produce on view. Very cleverly the menu has been written with a lot of thought as to what their resources are. The organic muffins, cookies and pastries are from Crumbs Organic Bakehouse in Ascot Vale and the Raisin Bread and other Breads/Baguettes are from Dench Bakers in Fitzroy North(just looked them up, must put that on my breakfast list to try, it looks superb).
I love the menu, again simplicity, but with beautiful fresh ingredients. On my first visit here I had the Breakfast Platter and for the price of $15.50 I think it is extremely good value. It has Granola(rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit and honey, baked until crispy), rhubarb, pistachios and yoghurt. Scrumptious, and quite a big serving considering that there is also a serve of the Dench Bakery Raisin Toast and Raspberry Preserve. Delicious, apart from the hard butter which I hate trying to spread. Always so difficult to do especially in a social situation. On my second visit I tried the Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Gruyere. At $12.50 again very good value. The Eggs were nice but nothing to write home about and the Gruyere(was it?)didn’t taste as nutty as I am familiar with. As the Breakfast Platter was served on a wooden board so was this dish, with the eggs in a pan and the toasted baguette on the side. Also on the board some more hard butter and a side dish of very peppery rocket. I think it is interesting to serve the rocket with the eggs but tone down on the pepper. Still not 100% sure that I want to eat rocket for breakfast. What do you think??
The presentation on the wooden boards is delightful but extremely impractical considering the size of the tables. There really is not enough room. I found I was worried about knocking something over (another social faux pas) every time I took a mouthful, so although they look good I’d have to say Get rid of Them! I also found the seating a bit weird. It seems that the bench seats are higher than the chairs so you either feel you are looking up or down at your breakfast or lunch buddy.
Today I tried a Chai late here and it was quite different to any other Chai I have had. It was very peppery and whether the café was just having a bad pepper day(note the rocket earlier on)or this is their version, I don’t know. Chai is supposed to have some pepper in it but this much???? Last time I was here I had a green tea and it was very strong however I also had an English Breakfast tea today which was perfect. Same Barista? Yep! I haven’t made up my mind on this one.
I do feel though that in a lot of café’s, training and consistency is lacking and this could be the answer to success. If every barista working for you made coffee exactly the same way then your customers would know what to expect, however if a customer is unsure of the quality then they will no doubt think twice about ordering.
The Coffee at Luncheonette is Supreme Coffee and it is organic and from fair trade beans. $3.20. They also use organic milk which is served(on the side for tea)in very cute little jugs. Also available is KoKo Hot Chocoate, which I made a quick mental note to try next time, because yes, there will be a next time because like I said at the beginning, I like Luncheonette!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Corner Shop

9 Ballarat St
Yarraville VIC 3013
(03) 9689 0052

It is soooo busy,but not just busy, viby, if that makes sense. For good reasons this is where Yarravillians like to hang out. If it is not for the serious business person on the way to work, it is for the harassed mother with children hanging off her, if it is not for the mums after school drop off coffee, then it for the groovy young hip person’s chai latte. This café has an energy that represents Yarraville and all the different types of people who live here. It is perhaps the Heart of Yarraville. I take my hat off to the owners Ian and Claire who seem to have hit the nail on the head with this one.

This morning I had the ricotta hotcakes with Poached fruit(I think I am going through a ricotta phase). They were delicious, but and this is a big but there was the most measly bit of poached pear and rhubarb on the side. I could have had 3 times the amount of fruit with the 3 medium size hot cakes.

I also thought I would try out the chai tea. Chai has been fast becoming my choice of hot drink in a café, but like with my standard tea and as you would find as coffee drinkers the variations are endless. In the corner shop I really think that the barista is key to whether to order a hot drink or not. This is certainly the case with chai. I have noticed if it is not Ian that makes the Chai then usually the mix is not right. At the Corner shop they serve it not as a latte but in a lovely tea pot, with a ceramic mug(no handles, which I love because you can wrap your hands around the mug on a cold day) and a spindle with honey. For those of you not in the know, Chai Tea is generally strongly brewed milky tea with spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and ginger. Ian makes a lovely brew. Other brews or lattes I have had can taste like warmed milk with cinnamon so it is important to get those spices in there and brewing.

Overall still one of my fav places to hang out for brekkie. Actually I like to hang out there at any time of the day. For lunch I recommend you try the lebanese Shanklish(a hard Lebanese cheese) salad, so yummy and so good for you. The salad mainly comprises of cos lettuce, crispy pitta, the shanklish, radish and onion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Gravy Train

83 Gamon St Yarraville VIC 3013
(03) 9687 9866


AHA! It was just an undercoat! The Gravy Train has been painted. Good for them, it took them a while but they finally got there in the end.
Six months down the track and the Gravy Train certainly looks better, but has it improved inside. The Breakfast dish I had today was excellent. A Ricotta Pancake with fried eggs, bacon and spicy tomato relish. The pancake was light and fluffy, the eggs cooked to perfection with a runny yoke and the bacon was the best I’ve had in a long time, crispy but not too hard to eat or cut in to. At $14.50 I think this is really good value as it fills you up for most of the day. Unfortunately the Porridge I had a couple of weeks ago was not A grade. The pear looked like it was from a tin(sacrilege) and there was no honey or milk on the side. In fact it was quite bland. I like my porridge with poached fruit, lashings of honey and maple syrup(yep both) and warm milk on the side, as we know that porridge can stiffen up a bit. Some people like it with butter and brown sugar, I’d be quite willing to give that a go. The menu has slightly changed since the last time I was in and it is still a good menu with all the usual suspects, eggs done any which way with all the sides, eggs Florentine, eggs Benedict and plenty of sweet options for customers like Rach who love Pancakes and French Toast.

The tea I had today(T2) came in a dreadful cafeteria pot and was sooooo strong I think it was filled with tablespoons of leaf tea rather than one – two teaspoons. This should not happen in an established café like the Gravy Train. If you can’t get a decent cup of tea in a café then what is the point of visiting. I might as well stay at home.

As soon as we entered our drinks order was taken but after that it took a while for it to come out. There was a big group out the back(The Gravy Train holds a lot of corporate meetings) and it seemed that that was all the staff could cope with.
I think the Gravy Train is hit and miss, so when you go you have to take your chances. Why would you want to do that when you can go somewhere else where every part of the breakfast experience is near perfect .

Lift your game guys!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Social Roasting Company

Social roasting company

307 Racecourse Rd
Melbourne VIC 3031
(03) 9372 3288


Doesn’t sound like a café, does it? But it is! And a good one at that! I think the name can provoke a lot of thoughts about what it is or what it isn’t. When I visited their webpage at http://www.socialroasting.com.au/ I discovered it is a café with a conscious and a very exciting social concept.

First of all the coffee! Now you know we don’t do coffee, but hey we know the importance of it for those of you who do. The Social Roasting Company uses fair trade coffee that is ground freshly for every cup. In this process they are involved in every step of the way of getting it to you, from sourcing in Peru, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Columbia and Ethiopia, in grading and roasting it. They advertise that is 100% ethically sourced. This is an exciting development in the coffee world because if there were more cafes using fair-trade coffee there would be less opportunities to exploit the workers on coffee plantations (some of who are children). Another unique concept that is in play is the delivery of their coffee by a man called Josh on a bicycle. He delivers to cafes all over Melbourne. How fantastic!
I would really love to hear from any readers if they have had a coffee at the Social Roasting Company and what their experience was. Is it good coffee?

Secondly the tea! Well not in our books but obviously at the Social Roasting Company. MMmmm. The cafeteria pots showing up again and at such a groovy café. Couldn’t work out the brand of the tea as it was not displayed, but my English Breakfast was leaf, but I noticed Rach’s herbal tea was a bag. Nothing special but then again this café is all about the coffee and everything else is secondary.

Thirdly but I guess most important for me is the food. Can’t miss the menu, it’s on a blackboard on the wall, it’s huge. I think it’s a great idea, as it must save them a fortune in not having to print menus. I really liked the menu; there was definitely more than 3 items I could have tried. Porridge with rosewater and rhubarb, granola, dukkah poached eggs. I had the baked eggs with hash browns, olives, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and pide. $15. It was a little dry but quite delicious. Rach had scrambled eggs with bacon. On the blackboard it did say scrambled eggs with chilli and fetta, however Rach’s were missing these key ingredients. She also thought it was missing salt and pepper and just a little on the bland side. Disappointing! But what was more disappointing for Rach was that there were no pancakes on the menu. She does love her pancakes! There were a few sweet treats on offer but we both showed restraint, unusual for us( we won’t tell them about the lollies and chocolate we bought at the foodworks afterwards).
I liked the space we were sitting in. The procession of different types of groovy people from the Bulldogs Player to the boys in suits made for interesting people watching. I really liked the communal table and chairs and as is quite common practice these days there was some art on the wall for sale. The coffee roasting machine is a great centre piece in the café and it emphasises the importance of the coffee.
Another point of interest is the fair business side of it. Employing those who for whatever reason have found it difficult to get employment. These guys are covering a lot of social ethics in their business and I really hope it works.

On paying it was disappointing that there was no credit card facilities however given the nature of the business it is understandable, it just means we have to be more organised next time we visit.
And yes there will be a next time because I really liked the whole concept and experience, everyone should support businesses like these.

Mon
.





Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Duchess Of Spotswood

87 Hudsons Rd,
SPOTSWOOD, VIC
Phone - 03 9391 6016

Image found here

What a find! This is the first time I have eaten in Spotswood at all and what a great impression it has left on me. When I think of Spotswood I think of the movie with Anthony Hopkins and Ben Mendolson, and I think of the pub across the railway where lots of men have sniggled when it’s mentioned.(I did find out why they sniggled, need I mention it, I’m sure you can guess).
There is only one instance when I would relate Spotswood to food and that is only for takeaway Lebanese Pizza at Al Nada. Otherwise for breakfast, lunch or dinner there is SKY(seddon Kingsville and Yarraville) of course, then willi on the odd occasion, Kensington more so than not and other surrounding areas for when I am bored.
But now Spotswood is always on the tip of my tongue for breakfast, because the best breakfast I have had in a long time was had here. At Duchess of Spotswood. Notably there are a few new cafes in this shopping strip but guess which café was full, yes that’s right the Duchess. Unfortunately for other cafes, Duchess was full and the others were empty, that’s right empty. As soon as I walked into this café there was a good vibe and the look, I loved the look. The lovely wooden communal table in the front of the café sourced from the old Dance Hall in Yarraville made it all closer to home. The very yellow oven in the Kitchen fantastic, did it come like this or was it their idea, I don’t know. Very Simple, understated.
And the menu. The first of it’s kind! Very English with each item relating back to the home country. Menu items named as such, Simple Pleasures, Fruit of the Forage, Scotch Woodcock , how fantastic. It’s like the breakfast menu has been completely re-invented here, Hooray.

I ordered the Fruits of the Forage which comprised of Wild Mt Macedon mushrooms with soft semolina, crispy double smoked pork neck and a poached egg. Excellent, superb, can’t get it out of my mind delicious. There is fish on the breakfast menu, blackpudding , toast from Zealy Bay, porridge and muesili mostly done with an English twist. Racheal ordered the scotch woodcock( I think the scrambled eggs was called this with a relish, which I also can’t remember the name of). Unfortunately for Rach the menu had not informed her that the relish that came on her scrambled eggs was anchovy. OOHH she said get it off my plate( of the garnish of anchovy fillet) As I am not a huge fan of Anchovies I completely understood her horror at such a strong flavour being added to her dish. It did make it difficult for her to eat the rest of the dish as she was worried that a sneaky anchovy was going to make it into her mouth. As she was still hungry we thought we’d both(yes even though I devoured my dish I still had room for more) better try the gorgeous gingerbread cakes on display. How simply luscious! And the Tea, wonderful, served in lovely pots with cups and and even the presentation of water, in great bottles.
My only critique would be about Rach’s dish and warning customers about strong flavours such as anchovy via the menu or through the waiter just mentioning it, otherwise this has got to be the best breakfast joint found in 2010.
My advice don’t waste any time and get yourself down there. MON

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Luca Haus

86A Charles Street
Seddon
(03) 9687 0039

Hooray Hooray!

On walking into this new establishment I was so excited, I almost couldn't contain the big YES that was echoing in my head! Yes Yes Yes!
You guys know what you are doing! It's a only a small space but wow have you filled it with the most wonderful array of food products. Everywhere I look I see something that I either want to devour or to use
in my kitchen. The Paella pans hanging side by side with the woven baskets have started a craving for wanting to cook a paella. The Bread from Noisette(remember a couple of reviews ago I introduced you to
Noisette from Port Melbourne or at least the bread) is crying out to me take me home as are the chocolates and tea blossoms, Jasper coffee(and I don't even drink coffee) and the granola products. And I could go on
forever - instead I suggest you should go and visit and check it out for yourself.

Now that's the packaged products, but what about the breakfast menu? A very small meun with no eggs at this point, but you must try the Croque Monsieur. It was absolutely delicious. Beautiful ham, a beautiful bechamel and the bread, what can I say. Very Very delicious.
There were other items on the menu such as plain croissants and filled croissants, granola and yoghurt, Noisette breads toasted, portuguese tarts. Who needs Eggs? They also have a small lunch menu with lasagna
and the like being cooked on the property.. The coffee is Fairtrade from Jaspers(if you watched Foreign Correspondant the other night you would never drink coffee or eat chocolate other than fairtrade again).
The tea also from Jasper was 3.50 but I also had a chai late and it was the best chai late I've had yet. I had to go back and get another one not long after and I can assure you it won't be long before I have another one.
Luca, I think is the barista and owner, has such a lovely smile and way with him that I am sure he will give Andy from Le Chien a run for his money on being one of the nicest barista's/owner in SKY.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Poynton's Cafe

The Boulevard (cnr Vida St.), Essendon VIC 3040

03 9337 8111.



Generic!!!!!

Poynton's is a sensational nursery. I love going there, if not to buy then just to look. The natural colours of the nursery are amazing from no matter where you are standing, but I guess the best overall view is from the cafe.
The cafe is extremely generic in how it looks. The table, the seats, the space, the cake fridge are all a little bit ho hum. However look out the window and peace overcomes you. It's quite serene, the river, the nursery and the birds singing (are you with me Rach?). Then look at the menu and it's all generic again. A menu that is quite extensive and expensive. I knew before I had even ordered that the food was not going to be special. You know, you get a feeling that the people in a cafe either care or they don't. The overwhelming feeling here for me was that there was no love here. In the nursery you see lot's of love, but unfortunately not in the cafe.

I ordered the baked eggs which were supposed to have chorizo, tomato and coriander. No coriander, tiny
bits of chorizo and turkish bread on the side (no butter). Fancy no coriander when they probably have it growing in the nursery.  $16.50 was a bit steep, probably quite steep actually. T2 at 3.50, but can't remember how it came. I quickly finished what I ordered (no savouring) just so I could get back out into the nursery. Sometimes you should stick to what you know and if it is plants you know stick to growing them and if it's food you know then stick to cooking it. However if you are very clever and think you can pair the two how about serving food grown in the nursery and advertising that! Too easy!

The Famous Blue Raincoat

South Kingsville sounds like it should be in SKY but actually it is on the other side of the West gate. It is so worth hopping in your car for a meal at this fab venue. I call it a venue because although it is a café (it calls itself a restaurant and bar) on different nights of the week it does turn into a music venue where owner James Wakeling and some of his mates get up and play a combination of Jazz, Folk and Blues. Cool!


This venue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu is great and has some fav’s of mine on there. The muesli and promite eggs are a couple, however this particular weekend morning I opted for the pancakes with berries, yoghurt and maple syrup. It was delicious! I felt by adding the yoghurt it was healthier than your average pancakes (that’s what I’m telling myself anyway). If you are a regular reader of this blog you would have noticed that generally I stick to the egg dishes but there are the odd occasions when I wake up craving something sweet and it has to be given in to. Although I may never have pancakes again for this blog I think it is my duty to try as many breakfast options as I can so I can report back to you. I think eating the pancakes at the time was feeding my cravings and just yummy but I have to say afterwards I felt somewhat bloated and perhaps a little regretful. What I totally regretted was ordering the tea! As blogged nearly 12 months ago I was not that impressed with the tea. Even less impressed this time. Adam’s Peak Tea (never heard of it before) it’s called and it’s a bag in a cafeteria pot. Luke warm water, ilk!! I reckon they could lift the standards here!


Coming here for dinner is great fun because on different nights of the week they have different cuisines and for less than $15, you could have a paella or you could come on a Sunday for the Sunday traditional roast.

I really like this place. It’s warm, it’s groovy, it’s comfy and most of all it could be a home away from home. I just wish it was closer to me so I could walk there and then I would visit more often.

The big news for Famous Blue Raincoat Owners James and Kaz is that they have just taken over the deli which is a couple of doors down from FBR. It is a lovely shop decked out with fresh fruit and veg (some organic), lots of different deli items and the best part I think, Noisette Bread. Noisette is a Boulangerie Patisserie in Port Melbourne and it is truly divine. Not sure whether they serve breakfast but perhaps will have to venture over to find out Rach, what do you think?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Finally - Pancake Time



I never did find my picture of the Seddon Deadly Sins banana pancakes .... so I just had to go back and have them again just for the good of this blog!!!  Dedicated aren't I!
Rachael

The Corner Shop & Le Chien

Like two peas in a pod.  Still my fav's.  Both these cafes know how to run a business!  And although they would not like to be grouped together I have put them in the same review because  although they are quite
different as cafes they both still have a lot in common.  That's no coincidence!  Ian and Claire who run The corner shop once used to be part owners of Le Chien!  Eighteen months ago Ian and Claire struck out on their own once again and have made a huge success of it, whilst Andy remains at Le Chien continuing on the sucess story there.

My fav brekkie at the corner shop is the baked eggs.  Just superb with Chorizo and fetta.  Maybe a little bit more turkish bread needed to go with it but otherwise a faultless dish!
At Le Chien, my fav brekkie (as well as a lot SKY peoples) is the promite special (poached eggs, on promite ciabatta toast, avocado, tomato and parsley).  Just Brilliant!  Consistently excellent.

At both cafe's tea is served in lovely big pots.  But here is where Le Chien still comes out on top!  The tea here tastes, like English Breakfast, at the Corner Shop, it tastes flowery. (Jeepers Mon - I still can't tell the difference.  They are some serious taste buds you've got there!  Besides, some of us like our EBT flowery) It always has and so I have stopped ordering it. The  Last two times when I was there I ordered a Chai latte.   The first time was delicious the second time not so.   It  is the barista of course, on both days it was a different barista.  So now when I go there I will check out who the Barista  is and that will determine what I will order.  Much Easier though at Le Chien, consistency is a key ingredient here.

The most common denominator in these two cafes is the atmosphere.  In both cafes when you walk in there is an instant vibe.  Content and relaxed people, enjoying their mornings.  There have been many a friendship forged in these cafes, and isn't that what our local cafe is about, community spirit and meeting other locals. When we leave these cafes, we leave feeling fulfilled.

LOVE these two cafes - the best in SKY by a long shot!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Coffee Edge

1 Anderson Street. Yarraville 3013.
Tel: 9687 0977



Not new, so how did we miss this cafe last year. Well quite easily it appears! Coffee Edge is tucked away at the top end of Anderson St. I knew there was a cafe there I just didn't think they served breakfast.

As I never walked past this cafe I never gave it a second thought. I would drive past it and it looked like a cafe in which an older generation of European men hung out at. I didn't think it was my scene. One particular morning when I drove past I saw a new sign out the front, advertising breakfast, so I thought ah, change of
owner/management, now is the time to have breakfast here.

So off Rachael and myself go, walking to the top end of Anderson St and Coffee Edge. The first thing that I notice is a cute little courtyard. I thought not a bad place to hang out with my book and a cup of tea!
But once we walk inside it is pretty clear, pretty quickly that this place is lacking! This is how a cafe looked 20 maybe 30 years ago. The decor is simply boring! The atmosphere is simply boring! and The menu is simply boring! Have they not been to any of the other cafes in SKY, have they not checked out their competition. For Heavens sake they did not even have any music going!

I ordered the old standard breakfast(poached eggs, spinach mushrooms and tomato). It was served on
white toast but had been on the menu as sour dough. I always find this disappointing and think that if there is a menu item missing it is courteous to let the customer know. But something tells me they may not know the difference. However this breakfast was only $10, quite a steal compared to the rest of SKY! Apart from the toast thing , it was quite well cooked, just like nona would make! How was your omelette Rach?

Ummm - barely remember I'm afraid.  Fairly average I think.
The coffee is Griffiths and as we sat there, there was quite a few take away orders. $3.20 was the price, let me know what you think! The tea is T2! (I think T2 is invading the world, everywhere you go it's there on the shelf, watching you, saying order me!) They were offering 7 blends of T2 and I tried the peppermint. Yes it tasted like peppermint, nothing amazing.

Coffee Edge is still not my scene! It needs a lot of work. But for those who don't take their cafes so seriously, it might be just the place for you. It has all the basics, just no personality!

I'd love to play devil's advocate here but I was so disconcerted by the appalling decor I couldn't concentrate.  Maybe the courtyard experience would be better.  Please don't make me go there again.

Rachael

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seddon Deadly Sins

Going back to Seddon Deadly sins is always a pleasure.

Although it is not perfect it has many fabulous qualities.

Probably one of the most important is their service administered by their consistent, experienced staff! A treasure and a rare find in any cafe! They know about follow up service which is more than most cafes!

I'm very excited about Baked Eggs at the moment and tend to order them any chance I get. So I gave SDS's a go. And the verdict? Quite nice, however the menu said Parmesan cheese but I didn't taste any Parmesan, which is disappointing. Served with Turkish Bread which of course I love, but no butter. Mmmmm, you are probably thinking she doesn't need that butter after those pictures we saw of her at Xmas, however what is dipping bread without butter I ask you? I also had to ask for another serving of bread because it wasn't quite enough, a bit light on really.

Rach am I remembering correctly that you had pancakes? ( I get so wrapped up in what I am eating that sometimes I forgot to check yours out). How were they?

Oh Lordy! They were fabulous - Banana and ice cream with lashings of caramel sauce that lasted right through to the last bite! If I could justify it I would have it every morning of the week.

OK, so I didn't quite have this many but I've lost the photo I took and this just looked so damn good!

I love the Golden Book menus. They are fantastic, but my favourite menu item is the PuppyCino - Soy milk with Liver Sprinkles. I had to pass, but I am highly recommending this drink to all my friends with dogs. I loved the names of the tea but when I asked they didn't have what I wanted or there was confusion over the printed names on the menu, so needles to say I am still a bit confused and don't know what I ended up drinking but it was nice. $12.50 for the baked eggs and 3.30 for the tea so 15.80 for my breakfast which is very well priced.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Snippet!!!!

On Friday March 19th after much anticipation I met some friends at the Dancing Dog cafe for the beginning of the Footscray Progressive Dinner. The Cost $65 a head - wine not included! Our Mayor was present and gave us a little speech, I have to say that he looked very young to be the mayor and a great impression was not made.
We were divided into 3 groups. At the dancing dog we were entitled to one free alcoholic drink and there were nibbles, nothing innovative, just your standard dips, turkish bread, cheese, etc.

My group then moved on to Masters Restaurant in Hopkins street. I was glad we came here because it got a good write up last year so it had been on my list for a visit. Here it was bedlam! Very difficult to get a drink, in fact they didn't even offer us any wine. As we did not know this would be the case, it was again disappointing. There was plenty of food here, in fact far too much considering we still had two more stops. There were spring rolls, sesame prawn toasts, chicken and sweet corn soup (a little too cool for my liking), san choi bao, I mean really that was a meal in itself. I sat there looking across the road at Huy Huy wishing I was there with my family.

At some point we were told it was time to move on and up we got and walked around to Lalibela, the African restaurant. This would be my 3rd time visiting this restaurant. The first time I liked it and second time I hated it. I was disappointed that we got this African restaurant as the other groups got different African restaurants, which I would have preferred to try.
Anyway -  I thought it was disgusting! A few curries, the lamb (mutton) tough with no flavor what so ever and the chicken, (sorry I meant one chicken wing between four peopleP), also disappointing. Only one beer available although 7 advertised on the menu. The beer available, African! It was embarrassing really, is that why they fed us so much at Masters, they must have known we'd need it. How this restaurant is in the cheap eats guide, I don't know. I'm starting to wonder whether they have actually been there in the last two years or whether they just do reprints from the previous years.

The final destination was back to the Dancing Dog Cafe for Dessert and coffee. HHMMMM! What's for Dessert?  Nothing much, really! Slices- you know the ones. You can buy these slices anywhere, even coles(ooops maybe that's who the supplier was). Peppermint Slice, Lemon Slice and so on. How unimpressed was I considering I'm normally a desserts girl. Not only though were these slices generic they were cut
so big it put you off attempting any. No fear I thought, I'll just have a hot chocolate. Previously I have told you how high I rate the Dancing Dog Cafe's hot chocolate. Unfortunately once again, and the last time for
the evening, I was unimpressed. I won't go on any further but needless to say I thought the whole night was a complete rip off. I could have been eating a lovely fulfilling meal at Huy Huy with my family and for the cost of less than one ticket to the Footscray Progressive Dinner.

There is a lesson in that!

FYI
Seddon is also hosting a Progressive Dinner, with Le Chien, Touks and Sabrosso's participating. It is on the 28th April and costs $70 - wine included! Need I say more!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cafe Urbano

43 Anderson St, Yarraville 3013.
Ph: (03) 9687 1198

So it has changed hands! OMG, that wonderful cabinet of food, Gone, Gone Gone. It bothers me when something good, ceases to exist. But that's life, constantly changing. However the changes aren't that big (yet), at Cafe Urbano.

The menu remains the same and obviously the name hasn't changed. The new owners have introduced some Thai dishes on the specials blackboard and I look forward to trying something for lunch one of these days. I just wonder how long before their natural instincts will take over and the whole menu will be Thai. Not a bad thing in my books, however is there room for another Thai restaurant in SKY.

Rachael and I had the discussion over breakfast about the chef's authenticity in any restaurant. If the chef is from Thailand should he/she just be cooking Thai food and so on with Italian and Greek and Lebanese. There are a few Australian Chef's cooking food from different cultures and a perfect example of this is David Thompson who is famous for cooking for the Thai Government in Thailand and promoting their food and culture. So can just anyone do this? In my opinion NO! A perfect example of this is Pub food. More often than not a pub menu can represent 3 to 4 different nationalities. Does this mean that the chef is an expert in each of these cuisines? I don't think so! I know I've digressed a little but my point is that your origins and your experiences make up what you are good at so if you have grown up in Thailand and then come to Australia to cook, I would say that your Thai food would be authentic and successful but if you tried cooking unfamiliar cuisines, would you have the knowledge and experience to make it just as successful? Mmmmmm.

Nevertheless the food was quite good. I ordered the untoasted muesli with yoghurt and compote of fruit (on my heath kick again) . It was okay however there could have been twice as much compote and considering all the beautiful fruits that are in season at the moment the compote could have had more than prunes and figs in it. Rachaels' omelette looked nice, perhaps a little oily from where I was sitting and she seemed to enjoy it. The coffee is $3.00 for a small and $4.00 for a large and tea is $3.50 ( I did not see which brand they used). I had peppermint tea which was nice. As said earlier I really look forward to trying some of their Thai food(perhaps some Thai influences on the breakfast menu would be interesting) but I wonder how the rest will go.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cafe Lomah

169 Union Rd
Ascot Vale VIC 3032,
Australia
(03) 9372 7566
Open Mon-Tue,Sun 8am-5pm; Wed-Sat 8am-10pm

Cafe Lomah, an acronym for 'A Land of Milk and Honey', can be found in Ascot Vale.
Yes venturing outside of the comfort zone again.
Did you know that there is a whole shopping precint in Union Road, Ascot Vale, with many cafes and shops. Well I didn't and I have to tell you I thought it was pretty groovy with room for huge growth and potential. (Sounds like a bit of an advertisement doesn't it). There was more than one cafe I would like to go back and visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but this particular morning we settled on Cafe Lomah which is in a well maintained, lovely old double storey building.

Rachael ordered the pancakes which had the berry compote, maple syrup and ice-cream. Once they arrived that was it - I didn't hear another peak from her for all of 10minutes. She was gone, gone ,gone!


I stuck to tradition, having poached eggs, tomies, mushies and spinach. I must say everything on my plate was well cooked and seasoned. If I haven't been to a cafe before I like to use this dish as a bench mark and it often tells me the style of the chef and the experience. The coffee used here is Vittoria and is $3.20 and the tea is Tea Tonic Organic Teas.

Now Rach can you refresh my memory here, how was this served was it in a teapot, in one of those canteen tea pots, I just can't remember. The tea was fine at also $3.20. They do Breakfast, lunch and dinner here and on certain nights they do curry nights or pasta nights at $10, which is a bargain.
They serve the standard generic cakes and slices. I don't mean to offend here but I am a great lover of cakes and all things sweet, but nothing turns me off quicker than these generic cakes that you can get in a lot of cafes these days. They must all come from the same factory. I much prefer a less perfect homemade cake! At cafe Lomah they cater for the children which I really like. They have a kids menu and also activities for the kids such as coloring and jigsaws, which is a cool idea.

Overall I think this is a good business, very professional (check out the website - www.cafelomah.com.au) - with huge potential , but I do think it lacks a bit of atmosphere. I found the service to be good but less than colourful. I guess I mean, a few smiles and bit of chit chat can always perk up the customer. What do you think Rach?

I'm still trying to get over my pancakes Monica. I haven't had this type of breakfast for ages due to peer group pressure to be healthy and low cal. This is my idea of breakfast out and I think it needs to be done more often. Pancakes for me from now on I think. These were delicious and had heaps of syrup which was very pleasing as there is nothing I hate more than having to ration my syrup to make it through the whole dish. I think the tea was nicely presented as I don't recall any generic teapots. Sorry, best we go back and find out - and I'd best try those pancakes again in case I've forgotten anything.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hausfrau


Did you know that Hausfrau has the best Vanilla Slice in Melbourne. According to The Age's Top 5 book it does. Isn't that wonderful! Sally Roxon, Chef, at Hausfrau, has been providing SKY residents with more treats than Vanilla Slices over the years. As the original owners of the Gravy Train they held the top spot for Breakfast in SKY, according to me. However when they moved to Hausfrau I was disappointed to see that full breakfasts were no longer on offer.

What is on offer for breakfast at Hausfrau? Well not much I'm afraid, they have a few items but your traditional eggs breakfast is not one of them, they do have a bacon and egg baguette (if not sold out), croque monsier and bircher muesli (see 2009 review) and a couple of other items but nothing really made to order. I understand that Hausfrau is predominately about cakes and hence I suggest if you have a sweet tooth at breakfast time, get yourself down there because this would be the place to be in SKY. I did have cheese on toast with the relish but I can't rave about it because there was nothing special about it. It cost me $12 with a cup of tea. I wouldn't have it again. However I would like to try the cakes one by one, all in one sitting ..... now I am getting carried away, maybe just a couple at a time. Some suggestions - the sachertorte, or the hummingbird cake or the plum, or the.............. Oh if only my waist would allow this. Life is so unfair. How can a person such as me who adores food, who is devoted to food, have to watch what they eat. It's just cruel!!!
(above photo courtesy of Flikr/GemmaJones)

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Corner On Bellair

170 Bellair St,
Kensington,
9372 2844.

Breakfasting outside of Sky!
Naughty but nice.

Sometimes we need different scenery.
Visiting surrounding suburbs to see what's happening gives us a good idea of where SKY stands in the breakfast stakes. I do think that we give the rest of Melbourne a run for their money. However, I do like Kensington and so far the two cafe's I have visited for breakfast give us a good run.
The Corner on Bellair is your modern day Australian Cafe. They serve Thai and Italian food but also have a great breakfast menu. I'm presuming they are a husband and wife team doing what they know best, which is great for the customers. I loved the Breakfast Menu, although it is huge, everything was so tempting. I especially liked the sound of a mixed toast basket (raisin, sour dough and wholewheat) Phillipa's no less. At $6.50 I think this is a bargain considering you could probably share it. Building a breakfast is something I know my husband would like to do and I just like the way they sold it to me. Considering I am supposed to eat healthy, I perused and perused and although there were options I couldn't help it, I had to order the Baked Eggs in Napolitana sauce (still not that bad, I could've had eggs with hollandaise or pancakes(next time)) Served with sourdough toast, it was just delicious, really rich (not too) and Italian.
Yummo - at $12.50 a bargain! A Tea Bag (can't get everything right) is Classic(?). $2.80. Coffee $3. What did you have Rach I can't quite remember as I was so into my dish I don't think I lifted my head once until my pan was empty. Great looking space with seating as you walk in and then up the stairs to the counter and more seating. Table service and counter service available. I look forward to coming back here for breakfast as well as trying out the dinner menu.

Glad you took so much notice of the company at your table Mon! I had the omlette again and this one was absolutely choc full of goodies, in fact they probably could have kept back some of the ham for the next omlette. Great breakfast all round and had a lovely browse in the bookshop next door. R.

Cafe Alfami

78 Charles Street
Seddon
9689 5055

Now, I feel a bit remiss here, because this has got to be one of the longest standing cafe's in SKY, in fact it has been here ever since I have. It hasn't changed much over the years and to tell you the truth I haven't felt compelled to go in. However with this blog I don't think we can just leave it out. So in we went and as is often the case we were pleasantly surprised. This shop has an earthly feel to it with the exposed brick walls and the floorboards. It has a courtyard out the back which I think is a bit daggy, sort of like Nonna's backyard, and it is covered over so it's not an open to the sky courtyard but none the less, it's okay. The breakfast menu is on the blackboard and very reasonably priced. I asked the waitress (table service and counter service) what would she suggest as the healthiest item (which by the way is going out the window next week, too boring when there is so much to choose from)
She suggested spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes on toast. It was nice but could have had more seasoning. No butter on the toast which I thought was good because I asked for healthy. Did it fill me up? NO, I must have a bottomless pit! Rachael had an omelette (which was very hearty - heaps of ham and cheese).

Unfortunately we quickly slipped back into old habits - We looked at each other and instantaneously we both know that we need to have something sweet. Eyes darting around the cafe, what can we have without feeling too guilty. Muffins okay but one or two? Two? No one, no two, alright we'll order one and then if we want more we can always order another. Unfortunately we shouldn't have even ordered one, it was not a very good muffin, extremely dry with minimal fruit but it did stop the sugar craving (for me at least). Tea was a Twining's tea bag (price?? Couldn't see a price list for drinks anywhere, will have to ask next time), it came in one of those cafeteria style teapots. The coffee is coffex and there was a constant stream of customers for take-aways. Talking about customers Rachael and I noticed that the average customer was of the male tradie looking variety quite a nice surprise giving us lots to chat about.
Also I have been told that the Bulldogs like to hang out here. There is a contingent of Italian looking men and the Hair dressing man from Maggio's next door is the main attraction. Is he the owner? maybe?
It wasn't an expensive breakfast, costing $19 for the spinach, tomatoes and mushroom on toast, 2 pots of tea and one muffin. There is a standard Lunch menu with sandwiches as well as burgers, parmas and calamari. They also have the standard brought in cookies and slices. One thing that caught my attention was an excellent wine list. Mostly wines from South Australia and New Zealand, perhaps this is more of a lunch venue.

February Ramblings

Rachael, have you heard about the February Fast? Apparently it is all the rage! No alcohol for the month of February! Are they nuts? The month of February has seen me out and about - a very busy month and I don't think I could have survived it without the odd tipple. We are only half way through! In the middle of the month we have the Yarraville Festival and at the end of the month we have the Seddon Festival. Throw in a couple of birthday dinners and other dinners just for the hell of it and you have one indulgent month..

I have been to Taxi (Yes The Taxi at Fed Square), Huy Huy a couple of times , Famous Blue Raincoat, The corner shop and the latest addition to Yarraville Village - Dig a Pony. I have to say that all of these are fabulous places to have dinner for different occasions. Can you believe that on a Sunday Night at FBR you can have a steak with salad for $12! And the steak is porterhouse and the steak is tender! What a Bargain!


Oh and the grilled lamb cutlets at the Corner Shop have got to be the best around - Salivating! Some friends of mine from the other side of town come across to watch movies and eat those lamb cutlets (not at the same time, although not a bad idea). At Huy Huy I'm stuck on their lemon chicken at the moment. Sooo bad for you but unbelievably yummy! As for Taxi, WELL it was so delicious - a degustation menu which included tuna sushimi, scallops, sticky pork, ginger and apple salads, an incredibly sweet (but not too sweet) soup with a rabbit wonton and shitake mushroom, spatchcock (superb), kingfish and for dessert chocolate tian, white chocolate ganache, and passionfruit foam. You think that would be the end of it but no there were petit fours, which incredibly we could fit in.
Last but not least we have the new tapas bar in the village. Dig A Pony.
Very exciting when a new establishment opens and it is good. The tapas that we had were excellent, perfectly cooked and so, so tasty. Highly recommend you get yourself down there. Their cocktails are very reasonably priced, all though I was only able to sample one (recovering from the night before). I look forward to working my way through their list. So you see there is no way I could participate in the February fast, or March, April, May or June, we'll see after that!

There I was last week complaining about the photo you put up of me and you know what I think that might actually be flattering compared to what I feel like now!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cafe Feedback 2010

I like the style of this cafe, always have. The casualness, the smallness and the fantastic food. That's why I chose this as our first place for 2010.

When I asked the girl behind the counter what would they suggest for a healthy breakfast she laughed at me. LAUGHED! Can you believe it? I didn't think it was that funny, in this day and age when weight and health are huge issues. Anyway she laughed, scoffed and then said TOAST.
'Oh!' I thought in my head.

I thought the muesli would be - but then the guy behind the counter suggested poached eggs, avocado, spinach and tomato.

In my head , I thought 'YES that would probably be quite healthy', and when he asked whether I would like butter on my toast, I thought 'YES please', but my mouth said no. I thought it was a great question because he heard me say I wanted something healthy.

The meal was fabulous. Who needs butter when you have runny egg yolk and those gorgeous little cherry tomatoes? They are so delicious. I hope they were roasted minus any oil because I had the avocado for my healthy fat part of the meal.

I really enjoyed my first healthy breakfast and I was satisfied, but I must admit that I found it really difficult watching you eat that delicious looking muffin Rachael. I could easily have had a second course, but I didn't! It will be interesting to see how long this healthy breakfast thing will last because if every cafe suggests the poached eggs I may not be able to stick to it. Especially when, like feedback, there are so many other options.


Coffee is still Genovese and is $3.20. Tea is T2 and is $3.00 a pot. A regular sized pot. You order at the counter here and they bring the order out to you when ready. Not a long wait here. On the particular morning that we were there it was not particularly busy but it took a long time to clear the table, I'm talking 40 minutes after we had finished. It disturbed me.

How about you Rach? What do you feel about the lack of clearing?

Must admit I do get a little peeved when the table isn't cleared, annoying when I can't find anywhere to lay my head! I often need a little nap after a massive yummy muffin and don't relish getting your egg yolk in my hair. R.

So there you have it the first breakfast out for 2010! And what did I like the most about Feedback Cafe? - The Gingerbread People, yes that's right not a gingerbread man , but person!

Welcome Back

Oh Rachael why did you have to post that picture of me?
Do I really look like that?
See what happens when you let yourself go, I can hardly look at myself!

Well I'm not going to wallow in it, when I eat out at our breakfasts I'm going to ask the staff at the cafe's what they think is really healthy on their menu. What would they recommend for someone who is suffering from post xmas heftiness? I'm not expecting this to be an easy task because last year at our little breakfasts sometimes we went on to a second course (very naughty of us) and sometimes by the time we sat down for breakfast I was starving and wanted to order everything on the menu.


So when we got together for our first breakfast in 2010 'Healthy' was my intention!


MONICA



Sorry Monica, I just couldn't resist.

I was a witness to some of your Christmas eating and it was awe-inspiring! If I think you have truly made an effort to 'curb your enthusiasm' I will post a lovely slim version for you.

I'm looking forward to another year of eating our way around the west - I have a couple of places I discovered over the summer so I'll be interested to see what you think of them.

Luckily 2009 seems to have gone quite well. I have not heard of any cafe's closing due to your scathing reviews, and no cafe owners have been seen crying over their metal teapots - perhaps you can aim for that this year!!

See you at brekky


RACHAEL


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Finishing off for 2009 with snippets from beyond Sky

Fruits of Passion - Kensington

Wish we had one in SKY! Points of difference, that's what makes a good business. What are those points of difference that make a cafe the place where everyone wants to meet, eat and drink,whether it be coffee or wine.
I think it is the owners. The owners personality shines through the business. The Likes and Dislikes of the owner come through in their choice of staff, their choice of furnishings, the music played in the background and the style of food. These owners must have personality and I think good taste, because I like everything about this cafe. Across the road from Kensington Station in the nicest part of the Kensington shopping strip is this little haven filled with treats. As I sit and wait for the bircher muesli ordered I look at the Kensington Clock (from London) on the wall, I listen to an interesting mix of music and then checkout the baristas, boys in their early 30's? who don't brush or style their hair as opposed to the metrosexual 20 year olds (in
many a cafe these days) who use the hair straightner before they walk out the door (oops I've digressed). The Bircher is only $8 and topped with bananas, strawberry's and kiwi's, truly yummy. Rachael had Flinders fruit toast which she seems to be enjoying (correct Mon, lovely toast thanks) and overall it is a lovely breakfast menu, which is enticing me to go back. I have it on very good authority that the French Toast with Poached Peaches and Marscapone is excellent. However as in the Happy River case their service is also lacking in that follow-up service. I don't get it. Anyway I will be going back and hopefully the service will have improved so I can keep going back until I've tried the whole menu.

Provisions - Williamstown

Glad we don't have one in SKY! Big, loud, and not very interesting.
Breakfast menu huge and like stepping back a decade or two. The food was average and the service was again apalling, no follow up to offer us that second cup of tea. Nothing to entice me back here at all. I may have come to the end of my tether here, sorry a bit harsh perhaps but it
is late at night, and I have looked at my notes and they don't give me anything appealing to add. Rachael??? You perhaps have more positive things to say????

Monica

Ummm... not really sorry Mon. Fairly bland and unexciting to be honest. Won't be going back.
Rachel

And there you have it! The first year of breakfast reviews from Breakfastinthesky. We hope to continue our good work in 2010 as it is a never ending task (and may I add, an extremely enjoyable one). We hope that you keep reading and please always feel free to agree or
disagree or perhaps you have something to add to enhance our local knowledge of breakfast.

Monica

Snippet 7 - Round 2 at Happy River

Very Exciting News - The New home of the Laneway festival - Footscray
Community Arts Centre with such bands as Echo and the Bunneymen, Mumford
and Sons and Sarah Blasko .

This cafe located within the Footscray community Arts Centre is set in a great
location. It is lovely to sit outside on the lawn whilst the children play. The food is great, I had scrambled eggs with chilli, coriander, avocado and lemon and it was delicious, BUT and this is a very big BUT - the service is appalling. After you put your initial order in and you receive your order, that's it. No more service. They don't suppose that you might like a second cup of tea or that people like me sometimes like to have two courses for breakfast (my poor waist line). It turns me off going even if the food is great. Too many good cafes with good food and
good service!

Monica

Usually I am the voice of reason and the good cop to your bad cop but I am in complete agreement with you on this one. I will not willingly go to this cafe anymore despite it's advantages as I am yet to receive good service and I used to go all the time. There are only so many chances you can give a place before it really starts to piss you off. We aren't the only ones either. What a shame that the staffing isn't up to scratch as it has everything else going for it.

Rachel

Snippet 6 Round 2 @Famous Blue Raincoat

Just a little bit of controversy here! One menu item seemed very similar to another cafe - see if you can guess who - Promite, Roma Tomatoes, Avocado and Poached Eggs,mmmmmm,, what do you think???
Anyway the muesli I ordered was absolutely delicious, light and refreshing . Poached apple and berry compote with toasted muesli and natural yoghurt. $10. The toast (sometimes after a couple of hours I need a second course at breakfast) was thick white with SOFT butter to
spread. So Right!!
Also had dinner here, great value! Curry night $12 for Rogan Josh, rice
and roti! SUPER!

Snippet 5 - Round 2 @ Alpha Bakehouse

Dissapointed! Not half as good as the first time we went there for breakfast. The once overly filled bain-marie was completely empty of any breakfast goods(we were in at exactly the same time as last time). No muesli on the menu, in fact the menu was quite boring for brekkie.
However if you were feeling self-indulgent then there was plenty to eat. The cakes and pastries do look really superb. Chocolate doughnuts, pastry filled buns, almond crescents, etc. I didn't think of lot of the fruit bread toast which was mostly raisins and blueberries, I like more
variety if it is to be called fruit. Still don't like the Harriss tea bag either, however It was so busy and apparently they are open very early in the morning for the early starters first coffee of the day. They say the coffee is good!

Snippet 4 - Round 2 @ Urbano

Much more impressed, second time round. Again a big Menu. I had the middle eastern beans with tomato, parsley yoghurt and lemon. It was simply delicious! Urbano is very understated and it doesn't seem to put on any airs or graces. It has a fabulous showcase of food, such as
frittata, pies, salads etc which are all made on the premises. Toasted sandwiches are just $7. The cakes, muffins and brownies all look great as well. Highly recommend.

Monica

Hey Mon,
I think there has been a change of ownership since we last visited - an Asian influence now I'm thinking. I'll do some investigating and see if my suspicions are correct.

Rachel

Snippet 3 - Round 2 at the Gravy Train


So it wasn't an undercoat! I still can't get over the colour of the facade. Does the food make up for it, I'm not sure! Another huge breakfast menu, assortment of croissants, fruit toast, pancakes, french toast, BLT's and eggs done any which way. Still in my muesli stage, at $6.50 it is very good value. But would I prefer to pay more for something a bit more elaborate. For instance Pludo's in Willi or Fidama's or Feedback? (Probably).
The Gravy Train is good value for money, the service was excellent and the atmosphere was given a boost with great music. Still not 100% about the food given the competition in the area. Rachel's toast was burnt and when after a couple of hours I ordered some baked eggs the toast (Turkish bread) was served with out butter.

Cafe Fidama

http://www.cafefidama.com.au/

34 Ballarat St
Yarraville VIC 3013, Australia
(03) 9687 0133



When an institution that has not faltered is sold it must be scary for both new owners and old customers.
In 2009 we saw Mark and Louise Cohen sell Cafe Fidama. My history is a bit shaky here but they are the only owners that I know of. (Rachael you may know a bit more than I do
about this)(not a clue, sorry. R.). They were here when I first moved into Yarraville and they were the best - Great, up to date, modern food at affordable prices. It was consistent.
As SKY had more and more additions of good cafes and restaurants Cafe Fidama held it's own. Naturally when I visited for breakfast after the new owners had taken over I had reservations. But I must say any reservations quickly disappeared. They have a beautiful big breakfast menu, which made it really hard to choose from. Selections of waffles, apple and buttermilk pancakes, sardines and meaty brekkies must be able to please a wide variety of customers.

I chose the muesli (seems to be my preference at the moment). It was huge but delicious. It had toasted kiwi and cranberries and poached pears on top. Really good at $10. The Big Breakfast was $16.50, which is great value. I really liked the 'for sale' art work on the walls too.
Unfortunately there was not many people in there so the atmosphere was a bit lacking. Please people if you are scared of new owners always give them a go (sometimes it takes a while for everything to settle after a take over).

Cafe Fidama is only open for breakfast on weekends, I strongly suggest you give it a go in 2010.

(image - Miettas.com.au)

Snippet 1 - Petitiou

Firstly an apology is necessary here. The spelling of the name of this cafe was wrong in my last review! So sorry ladies.
Secondly, this sweet little cafe, located on Somerville Rd is greatly appreciated by those who love a good coffee and now don't have to go to Seddon or Yarraville village. However apart from coffee and tea, there is not a lot on offer. As it is a tiny space the girls don't have a lot of room to work with. I can't wait for them to find an ingenious way of stretching the menu as I am sure they will.
At the moment you are limited to toast, toasted sandwiches and cakes (of the Emma Mackay variety). The playroom for kids is a great idea with a showroom for baby products - creative, but wondering if they will make any money out of it. My business brain says maybe they should decide what sort of business they want, do they want a cafe or a baby products shop and then more room could be devoted to one or the other.
Good luck ladies, with your new business.

2009 Wrap Up

Dear Rachael,

I have been so naughty and unfortunately (for our blog and my waist) have been doing more eating than writing. Where did 2009 go??? One minute it's November 09 and I have all these intentions and then its Jan 2010. All good intentions blown out the window and reality setting in. I have hardly written anything and I have so much to say, (and I bet you're saying 'when don't you have something to say') so I guess I thought I would wrap the year up with a bundle of snippets....

As it is January a lot of our local cafes in SKY are taking a break (well deserved, I say)
but I have noticed that a lot are just taking the main public holidays, which is good news for the locals. I will make it my mission in 2010 to be more diligent and write more and eat less. That almost defeats the purpose of this blog however, if I accepted less dinner invitations and
accepted more breakfast invitations then I could write at dinner time, does that make sense, or does it sound like I'm still recovering from New Years Eve and I'm mumbling?

Cheers Monica


So here we go .....