Saturday, September 13, 2014

Eat. @ Lt. Nic

262 Lonsdale St, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph (03) 9044 6985

This little coffee spot has opened up just outside of Melbourne Central.  I stopped here for a quick coffee and bite the other day, on the rare occasion that I was running around town doing errands without any of the kids! 

Minimalist fit out was modern but comfortable.  They offer an assortment of filled baguettes, salads and baked goodies.  

I was in a rush so I had a quick mocha ($3.8).  Nice pleasant coffee and Melbourne-standard coffee art.

I did make time for a cute little white chocolate lamingto ($3).


I used to catch the bus right outside this place to get home from uni.  How I wish nice coffee places were as widespread then as it is now!

Lt. Nic on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eat. @ Lemon, Middle & Orange

25-31 Rokeby Street, Collingwood 3066 ph (03) 9415 1593

Lemon, Middle and Orange is one of my favourite places for brunching.  Never mind that I still can't seem to say their name in the correct order.....(LMAO!).

The cafe is clean, modern yet comfortable, and the staff are always friendly.  We've not had to wait for long for a table fortunately but it can be quite busy on the weekends.

The first time I visited with Hubby, I had just disappointingly missed out on picking up goodies at the Flour Market.  Good opportunity to try a new brunch place though, and their mocha ($4) is wonderful and has the requisite art that we Melbournians must have with our coffees. 

I had the Waffles with caramelized banana puree, Jock's vanilla ice-cream, crispy bacon and banana chips ($15.5).  Whilst some of my friends still find this combo strange, Melbourne cafes have really embraced the bacon + sweet pairing and for one am a big fan.  The banana chips here gives the dish an interesting crunch.

Hubby had The Croquettes of the Day ($16), which changes regularly (I think the one here is corn and coriander).  These are the big lumpy fritters rather than the crispy flat "fritter" ones but are still quite nice with the lovely poached eggs.

I have since been back lots of times with Bubs, as it's on our way to the CBD.  The mochas are always consistently nice.

I've realised I always study their menu intently and have ended up ordering the same dish each time!  Bubs loves his eggies, and the House hot smoked plum cured salmon, served with potato latkes, poached eggs, fennel, horse radish and creme fraiche ($17.5) is a perfect dish for us to share.  The salmon has a very nice smokey flavour, the latkes are a crunchy hit with Bubs, and the fennel adds a fresh and healthy balance to the dish.

There are some nice little cakes, pastries and sweeties in the front display cabinet which I've often picked up on the way out for the kids' Friday after school treats.

On nice days you can sit outside and is a great place for local pet owners and pram pushers to catch up.

And of course the big bonus for me is the Lululemon outlet over in the nearby Rupert Street, perfect for the post brunch retail therapy - buying sports clothing is also healthy for you, right?

Lemon, Middle and Orange on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eat. @ Kenzan & @ Supernormal

45 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD ph (03) 9654 8933 

Whilst I'd eaten at Gekkazan countless times (in fact that was my very first ever blog post!), this was the first time I'd dined at the original Kenzan.  Kenzan is truly one of the iconic Melbourne dining institutions, having been opened since 1982, and still standing tall with its high quality food and service.  We had a last minute dinner out with BIL and SIL prior to them returning overseas (sob!) and landed ourselves at Kenzan without a booking on a freezing cold Friday night.   Luckily we got a table with a 20 minute wait, which was very nice as there was a 90 minute across at Cumulus and a 2 1/2 hour (!) down over at Chin Chin.  

We had the Gyu Sashimi ($17) as an entree and it was fantastic.  Fresh, perfectly sliced pieces of meat slightly seared and dressed in their special sauce.

The large sushi and sashimi platter($105) is one of the best in Melbourne.  Every slice of fish was fresh, perfectly cut and of the highest quality.  The nigiri had a perfect balance of rice and fish.  Hubby and I have agreed that this would be a perfect "celebration indulgence" dish! *secretly planning to return with just the 2 of us*

Their tempura ($35) is perfectly executed and felt light despite being a battered and fried dish.  Too often tempura would leave you with an oily taste but these well beautifully done, crispy on the outside and soft within, and not at all heavy.  

The Unagyu ($35) had lovely pieces of eel with a beautiful soy glaze on a bed of rice.  I wished it was a much larger serve though, it was so delicious!

The Tori Teriyaki ($35)  rounded out the meal for us.  Whilst it's not the most exciting dish, the flavours are well balanced and went well with a bowl of rice.

We then headed over to Supernormal for dessert.  There was quite a wait for dinner earlier on but we got a table quite quickly by the time we popped over.  The restaurant was still buzzing with a pumping friday night crowd.

There were 4 quite interesting items on the dessert menu so we ordered them all to share!  We started off with the Miso and Pink Lady Ice-cream soft serve ($9).  I must admit for once I was not a fan of the mix of sweet and salty.  The miso soft serve just tasted plain odd to me.  I did enjoy the pink lady part of it but even so I didn't quite like the miso part by itself or mixed with the pink lady.

I did really like the Peanut Butter Parfait, with salted caramel and soft chocolate ($15).  Think a big serve of Reese's peanut butter cup, but with varying texture and a hit of caramel.

Next up was my favourite, a Soft Meringue, with sheep's milk yogurt, apple and shiso ($16).  Every element of this was delightful, with the sharp tang of the apple contrasting with the soft, sweet meringue.

And finally a Fried Custard, in ginger syrup ($12).  I'm familiar with this concept as my grandmother loved to order a version of this in Chinese restaurants because she said it was a popular dish from where she grew up, and I always found it such a departure from traditional asian dishes.  I really liked this version with the sweet, sticky but spicy ginger syrup.

It was a really interesting night food -wise, with a contrast of traditional Japanese dishes done well, and some funky fusion desserts to end the night.  I miss my BIL and SIL and I can't believe we won't be sharing meals like this for ages again whilst they're overseas, and I look forward to our next meals together for more fun foodie adventures!

Supernormal on UrbanspoonKenzan Japanese on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Eat. @ Stagger Lee's

276 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 3065 ph (03) 9419 5564

Bubs and I have been playing what I call "Brunch Roulette" on Fridays.  There are so many cafes in the Fitzroy/Collingwood area nowadays I practically just drive that way, find a parking spot, and we wander into the closest cafe for our weekly brunch.  On this happy Friday we parked in front of Shocolate and wandered into Stagger Lee's, which was a wonderful piece of luck as I had wanted to come here earlier in the year but it had just won awards and I was a bit shy of crowds.  

So happy happy us as I sat down and ordered a mocha, which of course brought me deja vu feelings of Stagger Lee's older sibling Proud Mary.

I ordered the Mama's Stack ($19) which on the menu was shaved corn beef, pressed potato, black cabbage, soft poached egg and horseradish cream.  My corn beef was cubed rather than shaved (not that it made any difference!) and it was mighty delicious.

I presume the pressed potatoes makes this a "stack"?  Regardless, Bubs wolfed down more than half of the dish in no time (except for the black cabbage, sigh, my eternal struggle with kids not eating their greens!)

Yet another nice cafe in Fitzroy.  I am so envious of you people that live in the area, so many places to eat awesome brunches and drink great coffees, totally spoilt for choice!

Stagger Lee's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eat. @ Crabapple Kitchen

659 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn 3122 ph (03) 9078 5492

My Sister-in-Law amazes me that she would know about the cool new places to eat in Melbourne even though they have been living in the US for the past 2 years.  At her suggestions we went to Crabapple Kitchen in Hawthorn for Saturday morning brunch and I must say it was an excellent choice as we all loved it.

The cafe is deceptively well serviced by a back room of tables and a heated, covered deck area.  As a party of 7 we were seated in the deck area and even though it was a freezing winter morning,  we were kept cosy by the heaters.  We started with a warm drink as we looked through the menus.  Mochas ($3.5) for Hubby and I.

Latte ($3.5) for SIL.......

 and a short black for BIL.

The kids were busy checking out their own little menus.  The "Little Crabapplers" get to chose a meal and a drink for $13.  I would personally eat any of the dishes on this menu, where were cafes like these when I was little? (I suspect the answer would be - in my dreams!)  The reverse side of the menu are pictures of the whole Simpsons family to colour in, with buckets of pencils given to the kids by the friendly staff.

Readers of this blog will know that Bubs is a bacon and eggs type of dude, so free-range eggs and bacon on sourdough toast for him it was.  Poached eggs with runny yolk of course, nothing less for this little foodie!

Macaron Monster with her sweet tooth went for the pancakes with maple syrup and vanilla ice-cream.  What a lovely, fluffy looking pancake!

Whilst adventurous Mini Me tried the minute rump steak with shoestring fries from the lunch menu.  

Their drinks were served in little bottles with paper straws.   The older tow had milkshakes whilst Bubs went for a water melon juice (not pictured as I couldn't get him to give it up for a photo once it arrived!)  I really can't comment on their food as they disappeared from the plates pretty quickly, so no complaints from my children there obviously!

SIL and I both went for the Breakfast Experience from the Chef's Travels" from Stockholm, Sweden ($18), which was smoked ocean trout on toasted rye bread with shaved cornichon, red onion, capers, seaweed caviar, horseradish creme fraiche and young celery.  A sophisticated combination of interesting ingredients, and a beautiful looking dish I must say.

The BIL ordered a Chargrilled Flatbread with yoghurt, freekah, dukkah poached eggs ($18.5) - I think he added an extra sausage, which he quite liked.

Hubby the Sweet corn, coriander and chilli fritters with Cyprian haloumi, avocado, cucumber, tomato, red onion and mint salad ($17) with a poached egg (+$3).  This was the only dish that we were a bit disappointed in, as we found the flavours quite bland; it could've used a little bit more salt or perhaps a sauce to spice things up a bit.  

All in all it was a wonderful and enjoyable meal.  The staff were friendly and helpful with the little ones, the brunch options were quite varied and they cater to the the kids really well.  

Crabapple Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Toilets - yes
Highchairs - yes