..... Enjoying life, one bite and plane ride at a time

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Eden's Backyard

As part of my usual weekend affairs I like to brunch, but instead of going with D this time, I decided to take Mum and Sis to Carlton, to try out Eden's Backyard. Eden's is one of the newer brunch cafes in Melbourne. Their Nicholson Street location is a great balance of the hip vibe in Carlton, but yet laid back enough to be away from the Brunswick Street.

We got there pretty late (around 2.30) and were all starving, so we got four things to share amongst the three of us.

Since Mum and I were both slightly sleepy (ok I will be honest, I was slightly hung over from the work Christmas party), we both got a coffee to wake us up, and Sis got a cold press (Eden's temptation). The coffees were okay, wasn't a stand out coffee. Sis enjoyed her combination of apple, pineapple, spinach, cucumber, lemon, banana and coconut water.

Mum chose the Bacon and Eggs. A classic which is a favorite, however instead of opting for sunnyside up, as mum normally likes it, went with poached instead. The egg was runny on the inside and had a generous serving of bacon on wholemeal toast.

Sis got the Kev's Secret French Toast. This had nutella, poached pear, berries on a brioche french toast and caramel sauce to finish it off. This is definitely one of those naughty breakfast. It felt like more of a dessert than breakfast (not that I mind). This is one for the sweet tooth.

I went with the Smoked Salmon Benedict. It came with Norwegian smoked salmon, poached egg, homemade hollandaise sauce on sour dough toast. This was the breakfast I needed to fill in the starving spot in my stomach. The sauce was good but there was too much of it. It also makes me ask...... should the menu really call the sauce "homemade" when it's more store or cafe made? I would order it again, next time I am in, but I will probably ask them to go easy on the sauce.

Finally we also got the Abang Apam Crepes to share. Actually this was the reason I took my Malaysian Mummy here. Abang Apam is actually one of her favorite things to eat and always says she wish she could get it more easily here in Australia. She tends to make her own at home, but since Eden's offered it, I had to bring her here to try it. It served with mixed berries, vanilla ice cream, oreo/peanut/oats crumbs. Inside the crepe there was sugar, peanuts and a bit of creamed corn. This was interesting and the first time I had it outside my Mum's house in Australia. It was a good change to the usual pancakes and waffles for breakfast. I might be bias here but I really enjoyed it and would recommend this dish.

Overall 17.5/20 I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the things I tried. Service was friendly, the staff was a little slow but I think it might have to do with the fact, they were new. Only downside was the coffee, mum wasn't very impressed with the coffee. Though I think the items on the menu would still entice her back here for another visit.

Eden's Backyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Thai

Located on Chapel st in Prahran it was recommended to us by one of D's colleagues. FU and A was in town so it created the perfect opportunity to go out for a big feed. we booked in advance and lucky we did. The place was packed and buzzing.

To start we got the coconut pancakes to share, this came with 3 flavours peanut, chives and corn. These were very light and the coconut filling was just solid enough. It definitely got our taste buds moving.

The first dish was the Larb Gai. The spicy mince chicken was tossed with crushed chilli, toasted rice, red onions. Very refreshing but more on the spicy side, I won't recommend this if you can't handle the heat. Most of us struggled with it, D was the only one who was able to power through to finish it

Then we moved onto the Crying Tiger with Jim Jaw. The rump steak was well marinated and served sliced. The meat was succulent and soft, when paired with sweet and sour chilli sauce, it was the perfect texture and taste.

Next was Gatium Soft Shell Crab. The crab was battered and deep fried, and a side of spicy lime, mint sauce.

Green curry was very aromatic. We got the chicken curry and it came with string beans, capsicum, bamboo shoots and eggplant. It was just the right amount of spice and the curry sauce was perfect on the coconut rice.

Final dish was the Stir Fry Broccoli with Crispy Pork. This is my must order dish whenever we go to a Thai restaurant. I just love Chinese broccoli and I love pork belly, this dish ticks off 2 boxes for me. The Thai had crispy pork which ticked the right box. However I found the serving size to be slightly small. For $14.90 I was really hoping for a larger plate of greens and pork belly.

Overall 17/20 I found all the dishes to be very appetizing, and authentic with a modern twist. They had friendly service and helpful with menu questions.

The Thai on Chapel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pillar of Salt

Whenever I catch up with Mrs W, it seems to be over something edible. This time was no different, we had brunch at Pillar of Salt, located on Church Street in Richmond.

Richmond is not bursting with cafes and Pillar of Salt has been there for awhile now. It is well known to the locals and all the gym bunnies from the Fitness First across the road.

For us, it was just another place to check out, while we shared our travel stories.

We started with a coffee each, soy latte for me and skinny cap for Mrs W. Good roast with smooth flavours and the milk was just the right temperature.

For brunch, we ordered 3 things to share (more due to the fact I skipped dinner the night before and was famished). Mrs W picked the Kimchi, Corn and Sweet Potato Fritters. This was a rather different brunch dish, it came with wombok/pineapple slaw, grapefruit cured kingfish, kimchi and a poached egg. The fritters were a good combination of spicy, sweet and textured. It got a bit messy to eat, but it had the right flavours. The kingfish was beautifully cured, and went nicely with the fritters. The egg was that added extra that it didn't really need but a nice bit of extra protein.

I went with the Amazon Superfood Bircher. The muesli was soaked in coconut milk, with servings of dried fruits and berries, fresh mango, pineapple, passionfruit and topped with coconut yoghurt and acai coulis. This was not as sweet as the usual bircher you get, but I didn't mind it. I like the raw and organic flavors of it.

We also got a Mother Hen Toastie to share. This was filled with poached chicken, gruyere, monterey jack and aged machango. It was the perfect guilty snack, chicken to fill me up and all the melty cheese was the decadent touch.

The guy sitting on the table next to me was quite interested in how I was taking photos so when he got his Smashed Avocado he gave it to me so I could take a photo. I didn't take a bite of his meal but his feedback was that it was pretty damn good.

Overall 17/20 Great cafe with good selection of brunch and lunch options. The vibe is upbeat, makes a great place for a catch up with friends over good food.

  Pillar of Salt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mick Adams

So what does one do when they are hungry at 9.30pm on a Friday night? Well... in my case I look for a burger to eat. Given a person should only have so many calories a day, I like to make sure I consume all mine wisely. My favorite way is generally with a good gourmet burger. So this time, it meant that I pay Mick Adam's Burger Bar a visit.

Located on Portman Street in Oakleigh, this is a the located burger shop for the ones who live nearby and lucky for them, it's gourmet. The shop layout has that raw, rustic fit-out, which makes a good casual catch up spot with friends.

The menu is armed with a lot of choice. D and I decided on a burger each with a bowl of chips to share. D went with the Petey Sweetie, which had a beef patty, beetroot, fried egg, bacon, caramelized onion, lettuce, jalapeno mayo, emmantal swiss cheese and tomato relish. This is pretty much the burger with the lot. The patty was perfectly medium rare.  It would have been good if they stabbed the burger with a skewer to keep the burger together while it was being eaten. It was juicy and all the components were done just right. It was the cheat day burger that D was after.

I picked the Cheeky Charlie. This had deep fried soft shelled crab, coriander, pickled cucumber, chilli jam, onion, radish and finished off with aioli. This is one for the soft shell crab lover. I enjoyed the lighter flavours (compared to a typical beef burger) and it was a good change to the beef I typically choose. D wasn't a fan of it as it didn't hit the 'burger spot' for him but I think it's a good burger to pick if you are hungry but don't feel like something very meaty. The chilli jam did a good job of cutting through the oiliness of the crab.

For the chips we picked the Truffle Parmesan flavour. I am a big fan of truffle, so I would never say no to truffle. They were thin cut shoe string fries. It was generous in cheese shavings and the truffle scent was full bodied. The only let down was the chips came to us cold. I think it might have been due to the fact, we got there late and one of the last patrons in the shop. Given the chips were priced at $13 (almost as much as a burger), this was the biggest let down in the meal

Overall 16.5/20 Great local burger shop. Good selection on the menu. D and I enjoyed the burgers but was disappointed with the chips. It is definitely a good addition to the Oakleigh food scene. Is it the best burgers in Melbourne? No it's not, but I would duck in again if I was in the area.

  Mick Adams Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, December 7, 2015

Circa The Prince

D and I don't have very many date nights now, so when we do we like to spend it wisely. When we were at the Taste of Melbourne, we tried Circa the Prince and loved it so mu that, we went to the restaurant at the first chance we got.

Located on Acland St in St Kilda, Circa has a beautiful vibe and windows where you can look out to the water. It was definitely the perfect atmosphere for us.

Since there was a lot on the menu we wanted to try, we opted for the 6 course degustation. While we were waiting I got myself a cocktail to start my evening.

To start we were given the Cured Duck with Rye. This was a very interesting tapas, it came presented like a cigar. The texture was like bread, slightly chewy with strong flavours of cured duck throughout.

Next was the Spring Peas with Broad Beans. It was served with Garrotxa which was a soft tasting goat cheese broth. It created a balance of freshness with the peas and milkiness of the cheese. I really enjoyed this; could have easily had a second serving as it wasn't too heavy.

Together with the Spring peas was their house made foccacia and this was served with homemade butter, sprinkled with parsley powder. The bread and the parsley powder worked wonders with the butter, especially as the bread was warm.

BBQ Octopus with sorrel, apple and radish was served next. Small pieces of tender octopus paired with apple and radish which had more bite to it. This was more about the textures on offer and it was a great 'not too heavy' way to lead into the next dishes which were the mains.

The first of the mains was the Port Phillip Snapper. This was served with fennel and green olive. The fish was very fresh with a crispy layer. I loved how the green olive added a savory layer of flavour to this dish.

Due to a mix up we ended up getting the Flinders Island Lamb as a bonus dish. This was served with turnip and baby potatoes. The lamb was fatty but soft. The baby potatoes were seasoned with salt bush. Overall a classic modern lamb dish with potatoes which was executed well.

Next was our real main, the Western Plains Pork with kohlrabi and green apricot. Of course it was the belly of the pork, as most restaurants these days do.

Final main was the Sher Wagyu Rump Cap with slow roasted onion and mustard. The mustard had truffle laced through it and it was velvety smooth, wasn't too strong and complimented the rump perfectly. The rump was an excellent cut and cooked to perfection, it almost melted in your mouth. This was definitely one of my best steaks I have tasted.

As we were a bit greedy, we ordered 2 sides as well to go with the mains. The first one was the Dutch Cream Potatoes. I know I told myself I would eat less carbs, but I do love some great spuds as a side. This was creamy as the name suggested and well seasoned.

The other side we ordered was the  Spring Leeks with Roasted Scallops. The name confused us on this one as we were expecting actual scallops on the plate and was a bit disappointed when we just saw a plate of leeks but that was a mistake on our part to not ask and clarify. The leeks were cooked perfectly.

Lastly was the dessert. This was Strawberry with Sheep Milk Yoghurt. This was refreshing and light. Strawberries were done in various ways to ensure the taste penetrated throughout the dessert. Sheep milk gave it the creaminess and the coriander flowers provided that bite of unexpected taste. I loved this dessert.

The petit fours at the end was a chocolate and meringue combination. A winning way to end the meal the chocolate truffle especially was extremely nice.

Overall 18.5/20 I enjoyed my meal thoroughly. The service was impeccable and all dishes were executed well. The choice in produce and the method of execution is carefully thought out. The whole dinner was just divine. Only disappointment for me was the leeks but that was more because I should have asked before I made an assumption.

  Circa, the Prince Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, November 23, 2015

From On High

Another weekend, means another brunch date with K. This time R joined us as well, where we ventured toward Prahran to pay From On High a visit. K draw my attention to this one as she was loves to hunt for new brunch places, as much as I do.

It's located on High Street with a very cute cottage like exterior, great little cafe for local to visit. The atmosphere and the decor brings out it's rustic charm and the mode of operation also matches

We all ordered our usual, latte, flat white and soy latte. Coffee was quick to come and great on the lips.

K was very disappointed that the Waffins were sold out, as we specifically came for that. However it didn't take her long to spot another sweet dish on the menu. She chose the Pikelet Stack instead. This came as a thick fluffy stack, with vanilla mascarpone cream, fresh berries, honey comb, chocolate soil and finished with a dusting of icing sugar. I particularly like the vanilla mascarpone on this. The creaminess tied all the elements together nicely.

I picked the Vodka and Beetroot Cured Ocean Trout. The Vodka got me curious, it is not a common cured ingredient to cure fish and especially not on a brunch menu. It came with crispy chat potatoes, poached egg and beetroot relish. The vodka flavour was not as strong as I'd imagine, it was mostly the beetroot that I tasted. It went well with the poached egg and potatoes. This was a nice breadless option for me. The potatoes was just enough carbs without the heavy feeling.

R picked the Crisp Polenta. This came with big portobello mushrooms, harissa, kale, crumbed eggs and parmesan tuille. Normally I am not a fan of polenta but I do like mushrooms. This dish strikes a nice balance of something I don't and do like. The mushrooms were full of flavor and the parmesan provided that strong punch to balance out the mildness in the fried polenta. K and I preferred our dish but R happily enjoyed the polenta, I think it's more suited for someone wants to eat well but without all the naughty factors.

Over 15.5/20 it was a cute little cafe and offered an interesting menu. The service was attentive and it ticks all the boxes of a good place to catch up with friends.

From On High Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


While I was away overseas I started seeing articles and lots of instagram pictures from a place called Mammoth, this got me curious. So after a bit of researching and google stalking I found out that the brains behind Touchwood and Barry is the owners of Mammoth. I didn't need much more convincing, it's located in Armadale in a leafy location close to the train station, so it was the perfect Saturday brunch spot for me.

D and I got there around 2pm and waited for about 5 minutes to get a table. We shared a table with another couple but we didn't mind and neither did the other couple. The place has sunshine penetrating through all it's windows and buzzing with people. I loved the upbeat atmosphere with the clean cut french provincial decor.

To begin we got the usual normal latte for D and soy latte for me. Our coffees didn't take long to come and it was a great blend too. Smooth and full bodied, perfect way to kick start our brunch.

D got The Benedict. Unlike the traditional Benedict that typically comes with ham, this came with duck sausage, fried egg, picked onion and hollandaise sauce on a corn blini. I liked the duck sausage change, found it different and very tasty. It was rich in flavour and together with the maple hollandaise it was the perfect cheat meal. The orange and corn blini was different, I like the crumbly texture of it. It didn't feel as heavy as bread but was that good carb component of the dish.

I picked the Coconut Yoghurt Custard. This was a fine layer of coconut yoghurt custard, topped with fresh strawberries, freeze dried strawberries, buckwheat and wattle seed granola and grapeseed oil. This was a light and refreshing option, I was a bit sad to see how small it was, as I love coconut yoghurt and anytime I see if on a brunch menu, I must order it. The fresh and freeze dried strawberry combination was quite interesting, the different textures of a similar flavour. The custard was just the right consistency of creamy without being too sweet. I really enjoyed this dish, just wish there was more of it. I love it so much I could have easily eaten two!

D and I normally don't get dessert for lunch but we say the couple next to us get the Gaytime Panna Cotta and it caught my eye on the menu earlier. This had all the elements of what I would call a fun dessert; honeycomb, popping candy, sable biscuit. It hit all the right notes in my book. It was just a heavenly finish to a great brunch.

Overall 17/20 this is definitely up there in terms of all the brunch places I have visited around Melbourne. The menu is creative with sophistication and the service was great. I loved every part of my meal and is already looking forward to coming back and hopefully trying the whole menu (eventually). Only downside is the price, for the portion sizes they provide you, I would say it's more on the higher end of the brunch scale. Though it's not an 'arm and a leg', I would still come back, maybe not weekly but every once in awhile. Highly recommend you visit if you are in the area or just want a drive to the lovely Armadale.

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