L’Burger – L’Bloody Amazing Burgers!


Menu:

L’Burger is located in a prominent location right in the heart of Hawthorn’s Glenferrie Road – right near the station!

The first thing you notice when you walk in the long space and the uber cool fit out – the owner Rodney tells us that the interior has been made to look and feel like a “subway” station. After all they are located right near the Glenferrie Station! From the subway tiles, to the intricately detailed roofline and the repetition of the restaurant name just like a station name would appear on the platform – finished with the comfortable booth seating all adds to the experience even before the food menu is set in front of you.

What I love about L’Burger too is that they are 100% Halal certified! There aren’t many burger places around that are Halal Certified so this is definitely a drawcard for me. There are 15 burgers to choose from – yep that’s right 15 – broken into 6 house burgers and 9 gourmet burgers! We decide to go for the Cheeseburger, Hot Angus and L’Cevap (this can be made halal with the exclusion of pork).

All burgers are absolutely divine and full of flavour. The burgers are soft, fresh and we are told that each burger is lovingly placed on the grill to give it its slight crunchiness which adds to the overall effect of the burger. The meat patties are fresh and the flavour-filled and the veggies add a further crunchy freshness!

We also got the Tasting Plate which is combo of Onion Rings, Sweet Potato Fries and Potato Fries coupled with their house made secret recipe sauces. The Onion Rings are made from real onion and have the best tasting batter! The fries are cooked in cotton seed oil which is renowned for its ability to deliver crispiness and taste to the fries – which comes out in the flavour! It also comes served with side salad made of Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin itself. The dressing on the salad is fab too!

What also makes L’Burger different to the rest is that they don’t just serve burgers – although they do this VERY well – they also serve Waffles and Malts! There are 5 different waffle flavours to choose from which include the flavours Chocolate Oreo, Mixed Berry, Apple Cinnamon and Flavour of the Month! I was waaay too full after my burgers to try these out- but I will definitely be back to try them out. Check out their Instagram page (@lburger3122) for pics of these divine creations.

I did however try a Malt – there are 5 to choose from – and I had the Chocolate Kit Kat flavour. This had a great malty chocolatey flavour to it and it wasn’t too sweet – just the right combo and I loved it!

We had a really great experience at L’Burger – the service was great and the owner is really friendly and had a great chat with us! Check them out – this is one place I will definitely be heading back to!

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to picture above or https://lburger.com.au
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Funky, Vibrant and Fun!
Standout Dish: Hot Angus and L’Cevap
Service: Friendly, Welcoming and Helpful!
Online Booking: Yes via https://www.quandoo.com.au/place/lburger-50890
Restaurant Details and Location:
https://lburger.com.au
Shop 1/672 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 11:00 am to 9:30pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am to 8:00pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lburger3122/

Instagram: @lburger3122

L'Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Eleni’s Kitchen – Family Owned & Authentically Greek!

Menu:

I hadn’t heard anything about Eleni’s Kitchen prior to visiting Yarraville – but boy am I glad I did find this gem of a restaurant! Eleni’s Kitchen is a family owned restaurant and not only has so much cultural richness and history attached to it, but an plenty of love and passion.

Eleni’s Kitchen pays homage to the owner, Thierry’s grandmother – affectionately termed YiaYia in Greek – who owned Yarraville lounge all the way back in 1971 – literally down the road from where Eleni’s Kitchen is located.  Opening Eleni’s Kitchen literally down the road was Thierry’s inspiration to keep the family history alive and continue the legacy her grandmother started.

The venue itself is fantastic – lined with pictures of the past – they can run you through what each of the pictures represent – it is cosy and homely – complete with a huge upstairs area; that is big enough to host functions!

The menu is made up of smaller dishes “Mezethes” followed by some Home Favourites, From the Sea, “Chef Hristos” Signature dishes, From the Field, From the Garden and Desserts. There is also the options of Eleni’s Banquet or Dimitris’ Banquet (which is the smaller banquet option out of the two). So there is a lot to select from – from smaller bites to larger mains and the menu is flexible enough to be enjoyed as a sharing style dinner or an ordering your own dish – either way you will find it hard to decide what you want – trust me!

We started with traditional Greek coffee which is brewed via the Briki. I have never had this type of coffee before and it was actually really delicious! The taste was strong and vibrant with a hint of sweetness at the end – I devoured the cup! It is similar to an espresso for those who love this type of coffee. For food we started with a few Mezethes which included the Fig Saganaki and Pontian Pipperies followed by the Prawn Saganaki and Lamb Gyros.

The Fig Saganaki – Grilled Greek Kefalograviera cheese served with house-made Fig Jam. The Saganaki was amazingly cooked – the saltiness of the cheese was balanced perfectly by the house made fig jam. I could have this dish throughout the whole day – it was that good! Next up was the Pontian Pipperies – Marinated mild peppers in a feta tomato based sauce. I am usually not a fan of peppers AT ALL – however this dish definitely changed my mind. The combination of the fresh tomato and the saltiness of the feta really brought out the smokiness of the peppers. A really great tasting dish!

For “mains” I had the Prawn Saganaki : King prawns in a feta tomato based sauce  – which comes cooked in an oven baked pan. The prawns were perfectly cooked and coupled with the tomato base brought out the richness of the seafoody taste. A dish I would recommend. The other dish we ordered was the Lamb Gyros – Lamb from the spit served with lemon potato, salad, tzatziki and pita bread. This dish is quite substantial as it comes with many accompaniments all of which added to the experience of the dish. The lamb itself was tender and succulently cooked!

Both quality and quantity here isn’t compromised here with meat being locally sourced (just down the road in fact – ensuring the best cuts are selected). If you want to experience an authentic Greek experience with service that truly feels like you are part of the family – you should definitely check out Eleni’s Kitchen. There are so many dishes to try out that this is one place that you will definitely be coming back again and again!

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – Refer to picture above
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Cosy, Homely, Great for functions!
Standout Dish: Fig Saganaki
Service: Friendly, Welcoming and Helpful!
Online Booking: Yes via 
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.eleniskitchen.com.au/
28 Anderson St, Yarraville

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday: 12:00pm to 10:00pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eleniskitchenbar/

Instagram: @eleniskitchenandbar

Eleni’s Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dinner Party Deliciousness

Pilaf Stuffed Capsicum

Styled with Maxwell & Williams Swank Plate 16CM (White/Gold) and Swank Bowl 14CM (Black/Gold)



Ever wanted a simple, easy and delicious recipe to cook when you are organising a dinner party, family catch-up or even just a simple dinner for two? Check out this Pilaf stuffed capsicum recipe that is simple, quick and easy to make!

I am not the best of cooks at times and am one of those people who follow the recipe to the very last work; however I really enjoyed making this recipe for friends when they were coming over to our house for dinner. I have always loved the taste of Pilaf and had wanted to try making this dish myself; so when Maxwell & Williams sent through this recipe I was thrilled!

This warm and satisfying recipe from Melbourne food blogger George Eats is delicious served with a light salad, or as a side to a heartier main – I served mine as an entree with chicken to follow as a main. Gluten free and full of nutrients, these tasty Mediterranean inspired stuffed capsicum is the perfect dish for everyone!

Serves 4 people
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Time to Cook: 45 mins

Ingredients

• 4 medium red capsicums
• 50g butter
• ½ cup jasmine rice
• 1 ¼ cup vegetable stock
• 1 tablespoon garam masala
• ½ teaspoon cumin
• 1 fennel, chopped
• 1 shallot (roughly 10g, chopped)
• 1 date, chopped
• Generous salt and pepper
• ½ cup pomegranate arils, or to taste
• Coriander and toasted almonds, to serve

Method

1.Take a medium sized saucepan. Add butter, shallot and fennel, and place it over a medium heat. Cook until the vegetables become translucent, and then add the spices, date, salt, and pepper.

2. Stir until the spices are fragrant. Add the rice, and stir thoroughly so all grains are coated. Once coated, pour the stock over the rice while stirring, turning the heat to high.

3. Place a lid on the rice and stir intermittently for about 10-15 minutes, or until the majority of the liquid has been absorbed. Once the rice is mostly cooked, remove it from the heat and put the lid back on. Set aside.

4. Turn the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and prepare the capsicums. Slice the top off each capsicum, and remove all seeds and inner stem. Spray the capsicums generously with olive oil.

5. Stir the pomegranate arils and a handful of coriander into the pilaf, and then divide the mixture between the four capsicums, packing them generously.

6. Pop the capsicums into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, until they have started to soften slightly but still hold their shape.

7. Top each capsicum with extra pomegranate arils, coriander and chopped toasted almonds.

Styled with Maxwell & Williams Swank Range

I absolutely love this range and it is one of my favourite from Maxwell & Williams. With a gorgeous matte finish, the Swank Collection is an impressive must-have for any entertainer, with a selection of versatile platters and tableware in prestige porcelain and hand-painted gold rim.

Maxwell & Williams Swank Plate 16CM (White/Gold) $9.95
http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/product/swank/plate-round-16cm-gold/ay0086

Maxwell & Williams Swank Bowl 14CM (Black/Gold) $9.95
http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/product/swank/bowl-14cm-gold/ay0092

Looking for Christmas Ideas…Maxwell Williams is here to help

Look no further than pieces from the Maxwell Williams Range – they have thoughtful and inspiring gifts starting from as low as $10.

How adorable are these mini platters – the Lille Heart Platter is a contemporary take on vintage style. Its delicate, lacework-inspired pattern will bring a touch of romantic charm to every tabletop. There are other pieces in this range to select from as well.

Stellar Glitter Dish and Lille Heart Platter

Stellar Glitter Dish 15cm $7.95 and Lille Heart Platter 13cm $7.95

The Artisan range by Maxwell & Williams is inspired by bespoke ceramics, with a hand-made feel and light, natural textures. Featuring a crackle-glazed finish, each piece has beautiful depth and its own unique characteristics – no two are the same. Made from durable stoneware, Artisan Platters are microwave and dishwasher safe.

Artisan Range

Artisan Range – Prices start from $9.95

Designed by Claire Chilcott, Maxwell & Williams’ new Ponto range is inspired by the embroidered patterns on summer frocks. Designed for a seamless mix and match, this Platter is the perfect complement to Ponto’s patterned dinnerware, or coordinate with a plain white setting for a fresh, modern look.

Ponto Platter

Ponto Oblong Platter 45x33cm $59.95

Mansion Stemless Red Wine Glasses

Chia Pudding - Mansion Stemless Red Wine Glass

Mansion Stemless Red Wine 580ML Set of 6 $39.95

Toast the night away in style, with the distinguished design of the elegant Mansion Set of 6 Stemless Red Wine Glasses in clear, from Maxwell & Williams. Made from high quality, clear glass and designed to impress. Or if you are feeling a little adventurous like me why not use it for your delicious desserts or sweet treats? Cheers to that.

Elemental Ash Paddle Board - Round

Elemental Ash Paddle Board Round 43x33x2cm $59.95 and Elemental Square Platter Set of 3 $39.95

The Elemental Range is one of my favourites! I mean who doesn’t love Ash Wood! This Paddle Board from the new Elemental range is designed to emphasise the natural qualities of timber with a simple aesthetic. I have styled it here with the earthy palette and unconventional shapes of Elemental platters and bowls creating a naturally elegant setting.

20161110_193522

Ponto Pitcher 2.4L $39.95

I really do the vibrancy of the Ponto Range – here I have styled the Ponto Pitcher as a vase with my favourite flower of all time – Peonies! ❤
These pieces are versatile too!

mw-cake-stands

If you want a list of ideas for presents from the Maxwell Williams Range – check out their website (http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/) or contact me via email at thegrazingpanda@gmail.com to receive a copy of the M&W Christmas Guide

On their website you will also find a competition to win The Most Iconic Holiday in Australia valued at $10,000. Simply spend $30 on Maxwell & Williams products in-store or online before 19 December 2016 to go into the draw to win a $10,000 Australian holiday, designed especially for you. More information, T&Cs on their website.

Perfect for Spring – Goat’s Cheese & Artichoke Tart

maxwell-williams
Spring is finally here!! Not only does mean beautiful flowers everywhere and warmer weather but food dishes that involve spring produce and fresh herbs! What better way than to prepare a delicious meal and entertain family & friends – be it a weekend brunch or weeknight dinner!

The wonderful people at Maxwell & Williams have provided a great spring recipe to kick start your Spring foodie adventures – and it is delicious.
This dish is perfect as an entree and a great way to start off a meal. It is easily adaptable – for example I used Asparagus instead of Artichoke – and you can either make one large tart for casual grazing or use individual tartlet shells for a more refined setting.

asparagus-and-cheese-tartMy version of the recipe using Asparagus instead of Artichoke

Serving: 6-8

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients List:

–       Short crust pastry

–       4-5 tablespoon caramelised onion jam

–       5 artichoke hearts

–       Goat’s cheese feta (enough to cover tart)

–       3 sprigs of fresh thyme

–       1 tablespoon olive oil

Method: 

1.     Line a rectangular tart pan with short crust pastry roughly 1.5cm thick

2.     Place wax paper over pastry and fill with pastry weights, cooking in oven at 180° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

3.     Evenly spread caramelised onion jam across the base.

4.     Top with roughly sliced artichoke hearts and generously crumble goat’s cheese on top, enough to cover the whole tart.

5.     Sprinkle with 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and drizzle with olive oil.

6.     Return to oven for a further 10 minutes or until crust and goat’s cheese starts to brown.

7.     Remove from oven and let cool slightly, garnishing with a sprig of fresh thyme.

You can check out more of the Lanka range along with their gorgeous pieces on the Maxwell & Williams website (http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/)

Styling Details
[Ponto Pitcher – 24 L – http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/product/ponto/pitcher-24l/dr0003 ]
[Lanka Oblong Platter  33cm x 17cm- http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/product/lanka/oblong-platter-33x17cm/dr0026 ]

A World of Lattes

There was a time when meeting up with a friend for coffee gave you the obvious choices – Cappuccino, Latte, Flat White, Espresso etc. But those days are long gone – with the introduction of a number of different varieties. The list of options is growing from strength to strength especially with the increase of the healthier way of living life; together with the increase of dietary requirements such as Gluten Free, Dairy Free etc.

Most recently, some people of Melbourne were outraged by the posting from Jamila Rizvi of her deconstructed coffee.

Deconstructed Coffee

The Deconstructed Coffee

What is deconstructed coffee you ask – it comes served on a paddle, in three separate cups, or test tubes, beakers in some cases — one with espresso, one with milk and one with water. Having the same ideal as a DIY coffee you can put exactly how much water and milk you want – essentially creating your perfect cup of coffee. It is thought that this trend hails from London; with this trend having both its haters and lovers. I myself haven’t tried a deconstructed coffee but seeing as I can just make myself one at home; I am on the not-a-fan bandwagon.

Variety of Lattes

An Array of Lattes [Picture: Courtesy Eugene Hyland]

There are many forms of different lattes and it almost seems like a new version of the latte is being developed every day! Here is a list of the lattes going around Melbourne so far:

Matcha Latte
Beetroot Latte
Tumeric Latte
Mushroom Latte
Rainbow Latte
Blue Algae / Smurf Latte
Red Velvet Latte
Pink Tea Latte
Yellow Tea Latte
Yep there are that many! Let’s delve into a bit of detail about each of these lattes.

Ground Whole-Leaf Matcha Tea

Ground Whole – Leaf Matcha Tea

Matcha Latte from White Mojo

Matcha Latte from White Mojo, Melbourne CBD

 

Matcha Latte and Original Latte from Fourth Chapter

Matcha Latte & Original Latte from Fourth Chapter, Prahran

The Matcha Latte – these have been around for a few years at select cafes; but you are starting to see more and more cafes embracing them.

Matcha tea is the finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. Unlike traditional green tea leaves, which are steeped in water and then discarded, matcha powder contains the whole ground tea leaf, which is ingested whole. The taste and nutritional benefits are vastly different to standard green tea; matcha has a softer, creamier flavour and contains up to 10 times the antioxidant content of standard green tea brews.

Green tea leaves contain high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These help to protect against heart disease and cancer, and are known to have anti-ageing properties. Because matcha tea contains whole leaves it has a significantly higher concentration of antioxidants compared to steeped green tea. It also contains good amounts of healthy compounds such as chlorophyll, which gives it the bright green colour.

Matcha Lattes are an acquired taste – but I personally love them! I am also a huge fan of anything green tea related so that maybe why. It has a very robust taste but coupled with the milkiness of a latte has a creamy undertone. I would highly recommend you try one for yourself.

Matcha Lattes are appearing in quite a few cafes – too many to name – but here are a few that do – White Mojo (Melbourne CBD & Balwyn), Fourth Chapter (Prahran), Serotonin Eatery (Burnley), Too Many Chiefs (Brighton), Eden’s Backyard (Carlton), Street Organic (Malvern), Matcha Mylkbar (St Kilda).

Beetroot Latte from Happy Place

Beetroot Latte from Happy Place, South Melbourne

The Beetroot Latte is something that is quite new – it is created to balance the power of a superfood together with a hit of coffee. Some cafes use organic Beetroot powder mixed with Almond Milk ( Real Food Organic in South Yarra) whereas others use freshly pressed beetroot juice, fresh ginger, original almond mylk (Matcha Mylkbar in St Kilda). Meanwhile at Happy Place in South Melbourne; they do a caffeine-free Beetroot Latte infused with Hibiscus.

The Happy Place Beetroot & Hibiscus Latte was the one I tried – it reminded me of a smoothie but warm – it literally was a nice warm hug on a cold and breezy Melbourne day.
Happy Place is a holistic lifestyle cafe; located at South Melbourne Market- recently opened by Melbourne coffee pioneer Salvatore Malatesta and celebrity nutritionist Lola Berry. The basis of the cafe is it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and FODMAP friendly. The cafe is targeted mostly at take away (there are about 8 window seats) – with a mix of Chia Puddings; Mix and Match Salads together with Bone Broth (which is Paleo). Additionally there are Cold Pressed Juices and Smoothies (which are mostly fructose free) as well as the hot drinks (they do Tumeric, Carob and Mushroom Lattes too – all caffeine free). Oh they also have Crystal Infused Water! And if you are looking for something sweet – they do have raw cakes with flavours such as Mint Slice, Key Lime Pie, Cherry Ripe and Snickers Bar to name a few. I am usually not a fan of Cherry Ripes – however I did try Happy Places’ Raw Cherry Ripe which was scrumptious!

Back to the Beetroot Latte – I am interested to try another one – this time one which has the caffeine mixed in with it to see if it does taste any different. It has officially been put on the to-do list!

Tumeric Latte from Matcha Mylkbar

Tumeric Latte from Matcha Mylkbar, St Kilda

Turmeric lattes sounded rather interesting to me. I have always known Tumeric is great for you and has an abundance of health benefits such as incredible anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used medicinally in South Asia for over 4000 years! Tumeric Lattes are also affectionately referred to as Golden Lattes.

There are many different ways to make  Tumeric Latte – most consist of Tumeric, Cinnamon, Ginger and a variety of other spices which could include pepper and even cayenne pepper as the base mixture. This is then combined with either cow’s milk, coconut milk or nut milk. It is believed that some spices such as black pepper, help to absorb the essential nutrients of the tumeric; further enhancing the anti-inflammatory and immune system aiding properties. Coconut Milk is suggested as the best alternative for Tumeric Lattes as it doesnt separate out and enhances the spice flavour.

“Tumeric Lattes” have been around for centuries especially in the Indian culture – it is called haldi doodh in Hindi, which translates to Tumeric Milk. This version of the blend has cardamom, clove, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, brahmi and ashwagandha (Indian spices) made together with a coconut-and-almond-milk blend. If you wanted to make it for yourself at home you can buy different Tumeric blends available around Melbourne and Sydney.

I had my first Tumeric Latte at Matcha Mylkbar, located in St Kilda. Matcha Mylkbar is a vegan cafe by Nic Davidson, Sarah Holloway and brothers Mark and Attil Filippelli. They are renowned for selling bright-green burger buns, vegan eggs and of course their different types of lattes including Matcha, Tumeric, Mushroom and the newest addition Blue Algae lattes (I will go onto talk about these too!). They also have great Pun-Fully named smoothies which come served in a skull glass – epic!

My first sip of the Tumeric Latte was intense to say the least – it was a massive kick to the back of your throat with spicy richness. It almost felt like I was eating a face mask I have used before (=p ); however as you take more and more sips it really does grow on you. I really enjoyed it after a few more sips and even welcomed the spiciness. A definite must try.

Mushroom Latte

Mushroom Latte

Mushrooms are one of my favourite veggies! However I am a bit apprehensive about how they would go in a latte form. I have yet to try a Mushroom Latte but definitely do want to try one out. What is a Mushroom Latte you ask – it is made with almond milk and sweetened with vanilla spice and agave mixed together with a Chaga Mushroom Blend. Going from the reviews – it apparently doesn’t taste like mushrooms.
Stay tuned – I will update this post once I have tried one!

Rainbow Latte from Too Many Chiefs

Rainbow Latte from Too Many Chiefs, Brighton

Rainbow Flat White from Too Many Chiefs

Rainbow Latte from Too Many Chiefs, Brighton

Moving onto the Rainbow Lattes and Rainbow Coffees – both of these can be found at Too Many Chiefs in Brighton. Rainbow Latte / Flat White / Hot Chocolate is essentially your standard coffee fix with the use of food dye in the milk used to form Latte art.

Rainbow Coffee

Rainbow Coffee from Too Many Chiefs, Brighton [Picture by Eugene Hyland]

Rainbow Coffees however are the healthier alternative and created by the owners of Too Many Chiefs; is free from caffeine and is made out of turmeric, beetroot and matcha. This gives you your Vitamin C fix, fights the flu, boosts immunity and acts as an anti-inflammatory all in one. Wow!
To be quite honest it wasn’t until deciding to write this post did I know there was a difference between a Rainbow Coffee and a Rainbow Latte. When I am in the area I do want to try out what a Rainbow Coffee tastes like!

Blue Algae Latte

Blue Algae Latte from Matcha Mylkbar, St Kilda

Now onto the latest hipster trend taking Melbourne by storm – the Blue Algae Latte / Blue Latte or Smurf Latte. Yep that’s right it is actually Blue in colour. My favourite colour is blue – but having a “latte” that is in that colour I am not so sure about. That and the fact that it has algae in it – what the?

So just what is the Blue Algae Latte made of – it is a concoction of lemon, ginger, coconut, agave and E3 Live Blue Majik – a powdered and super expensive blue algae. It does cost $8 to try – and has no recorded health benefits.

Since I haven’t tried it myself I took to the reviews to find out just what it tastes likes. According to people who have tried it – the first mouthful was prominently sweet, gingery taste before changing to a funky sourness that lingered. Of course this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended); but just like with anything you will have your lovers and haters. I am still on the fence if I want to try out the Smurf Latte – but never say never!

Red Velvet Latte

Red Velvet Latte from Local Mbassy, NSW

Another coffee morning brew is the red velvet creation that I found a lot in Sydney cafes – The Locak Mbassy is one such cafe. The Red Velvet Latte tastes exactly like a Red Velvet Pancake along with the cream-cheese-esque butter cream and hints of popcorn. It really is quite rich and delicious all at once. I am yet to see the presence of the Red Velvet Latte in any Melbourne cafe.

Pink Latte

Pink Tea Latte from St Rose, Essendon

Another latte made famous via Instagram is the Pink Tea Latte and Yellow Tea Latte. This craze started all the way from Geelong at a place called Cha Cha Tea (You can find this available at King of the Castle Cafe – Pakington Street, Geelong) – with Sam Manning the girl behind the coloured tea lattes.
Cha Cha Tea mixers is essentially tea without the hassle of boiling or infusing with no added preservatives and unnecessary sugar; and are easy to make by adding sparkling water (or normal water), champagne or even an espresso martini – your choice really!
There are currently two flavours – Strawberry Swoon (Pink!) and Peeling Fantastic (Yellow!) tea lattes available – with more flavours to come.

The Strawberry Swoon Tea Latte aka Pink Tea Latte is a blend of Rosehip, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Beetroot and Apple and is sugar-free, Caffeine-free, Packed with Vitamin A and C and is also vegan friendly. You can purchase one from St Rose Cafe in Essendon or as mentioned above King of the Castle Cafe.
And thus concludes my visibility into the world of lattes – please do comment below if you have tried or know of any different “latte” available in Melbourne. Would love to hear your experiences.
Also follow @simtiaz_grazingpanda on Insta for daily foodie updates, stories and travels!

Halal Snack Pack – HSPs – Learn what the Fuss is all about!

HSP Goodness!

HSP

Halal Snack Pack or HSPs as they are affectionately known as are the latest food craze to trend in the foodie world – this has further been promoted thanks to the federal elections where NSW Labor senator Sam Dastyari offered to meet Pauline Hanson and get her to try this delicious dish; much to her offense and disgust (?!).

So what exactly is a HSP?
It is a dish containing meat – typically beef, chicken or lamb – together with chips and one or more sauces – especially Chilli, Garlic and Barbeque. It traditionally comes served in a styrofoam container. Some kebab stores refer to it as a Snack Box or Mixed Plate.

HSP!

This infamous dish has contributed to the flourishing success of many kebab stores around the country. There is also the creation of the Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society (HSPAS) on Facebook which began in December 2015 by a couple of good mates- with the group having over  159K members! It started off in a small scale with a few thousand people sharing their favourite styrofoam encased meals and engulfed into what it is today being an international phenomenon.
The main aim of this group is to identify some of the best HSPs around the country and eventually identify the World’s BEST HSP!The group also raises funds to support the Australian Relief Organisation, an organization that assists underprivileged people to attain cataract surgery and assists orphanages with matters regarding water supplies.

A typical post on the page involves a picture of a recently-purchased halal snack pack, along with an informal review that scores the dish on various criteria; including meat, chips and sauce quality, clarity of halal signage, packaging, price and greeting.

Below is the marking scheme taken from the page.
1. The greeting: Anything Less than good day brother or sister is Haram.
2. The Sign: There needs to be some sort of Halal sign visible, or, you guessed it, Haram!
3. The chips: You nailed this, they need to be a good Ratio to the meat and chips
4. Cheese: Cheese would be a layer on the chips and then a layer on the meat with sauce on top. You may get roasted you for this…
5. The meat: Mixed meat is a winner with the crowd, marking it on quantity/ratio and juiciness.
6. Now… The Sauce: Anything less than the HOLY TRINITY  – GARLIC, CHILLI, BBQ – may get a good roasting from the crowd. BBQ is second selection but you have to have the KEY garlic in there
7. Packaging: anything less than styrofoam container is haram and marked 0/10

As you can see HSPs are serious business! By the way to get you down with the lingo here are some of the terms explained:

  • Expressing approval of a snack pack can be described by using the term “Halal”
  • Expressing disapproval of a snack pack can be described by using the term “Haram”
  • A member/customer who requests tomato sauce, salad, rice or anything that is not meant to be part of the HSP – with their snack pack is referred to as a “Haram Dingo”

There are many claims to having created this exceptional dish including the Kapsalon – which is a Dutch food item consisting of fries, topped with shawarma meat, grilled with a layer of Gouda cheese until melted and then covered with a layer of dressed salad greens. The dish is often served with garlic sauce and sambal. The key difference here is the use of salad. This dish was conceived in 2003 by Nathaniël Gomes, a Cape Verdian hairdresser in Rotterdam; who in collaboration with the neighboring shawarma store “El Aviva” combined all his favorite ingredients into one dish.

Another similar dish is the AB from Adelaide who claims to have invented this dish between 1969 and  1989. An AB is prepared using gyro meat, chips, tomato sauce, chilli sauce, barbeque sauce and garlic sauce. Two restaurants in Adelaide have claimed to have invented the dish – The North Adelaide Burger Bar and the Blue & White ; with the key difference here being the addition of tomato sauce (haram!)

There has even been the creation of the world’s biggest snack pack which was covered by Sunrise – you can check out the video here – https://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/watch/31864783/the-worlds-biggest-halal-snack-pack/#page1

I myself was quite late to jump on the HSP bandwagon as well – but ever since trying this calorie, carb-filled dish I must admit I am in love (as is my husband!) We have a kebab store just down the road from us where we get our HSPs (although they call is a Snack Pack – so that’s haram already!) which is simply delicious and is shown in the pictures above.

Since I am quite “new” to the world of HSPs – I am not too sure about where the BEST HSP is in Melbourne – however there is a website – http://getmehsp.com.au/- which helps you locate where you can get a HSP from. Of course there is the HSPAS which has been created for this very reason to find that perfect 10/10 HSP. If you have any recommendations please comment below and I will add them to the list.

Happy HSPing!!

Here are some of the special mentions of Kebab stores around Australia that you could check out (in no particular order):

Melbourne
Melbourne Kebab Station, Coburg
Clayton Kebab House, Clayton
Little Bad Wolf, Noble Park
Yozzy Kebab and Carwash, Doveton
Hot Kebabs, Doncaster East

Sydney

King Kebab House, Campbelltown
Oz Turks Jnr, Redfern
Metro One Kebab, Ashfield

Western Australia
Perth Kebab Station, Subiaco

Queensland
Kebab Shack & Takeaway, Caboolture

 

InstaShake Masterclass – Yelp x Naughty Boy Cafe

Yelp and Naughty Boy Masterclass - My Creation 2My InstaShake Creation

Yelp and Naughty Boy Masterclass - A mix of InstaShakes 2Sample of some of the other creations!

I was lucky enough to be invited to an InstaShake Masterclass that was held by Yelp Melbourne in collaboration with Naughty Boy Cafe. If you haven’t checked out Naughty Boy Cafe – I highly recommend you do. The aim of the day was to create our very own InstaShake – for which Naughty Boy Cafe have become famous for. Check out their Instagram page for the different flavour creations (https://www.instagram.com/naughtyboycafe) as well on their website (http://www.naughtyboycafe.com.au/gallery/).
They also do amazing breakkie and brunch dishes – I have had their Red Velvet Pancakes which are tastier than they sound – It comes with Strawberries, Ruby Grapefruit, Raspberries, Burnt Meringue, Vanilla Mascarpone, Popping Candy – and tastes simply divine!

Back to the Masterclass! This Masterclass involved  around 30 of us being able to create our very own InstaShake. We had access a whole lot of ingredients that we could use to create the tallest, colourful-est, rad-dest InstaShake. Scroll thru the images below to see some of the ingredients we had to use.

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Here are the steps to creating your very own InstaShake

1. Select a rim flavour (to put around the rim of the jar) – we had the choices of Nutella, Peanut Butter or Spiced
2. Select a sauce to go on the inside – we had the choices of Chocolate, Caramel, Strawberry or Maple Syrup
3. Select a shake flavour – Rose Strawberry, Blue Heaven, Winter Spice and Chocolate
4. Fill with Freeze dried berries or fruit
5 and 6. Select toppers – Pistachio Blondie, Chocolate Waffle, Berry Good Apple Slice, Sticky Date Rice Pudding just to name a few
7. Add more freeze dried fruit if you wish
8. Finish with Popping Candy, Honeycomb, Coconut Flakes, Lemon Balm or 100s and 1000s
9. Voila!! InstaShake created!

 

InstaShake Step by Step

Follow @simtiaz_grazingpanda for daily foodie updates!!

 

Green Press – How To Be A Smoothie Criminal

 

Smooth Criminal

It’s that time of the year again in Melbourne – when temperatures drop, rainfall increases and with this brings about the increase in coughs, colds – you name it – together with a tired and lethargic feeling amongst most. This is where the green smoothie can help to combat some of these winter nasties. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day so why not kickstart your day with a smoothie – which can combine and help you increase your daily vegetable and fruit intake. Starting your day right is a key to a great day and smoothies could be the way to do it!

It was James McLoughlin’s move to New York that inspired the creation of Green Press in 2013. It was here in New York that McLoughlin was introduced to green juices and re-ignited his daily smoothie habit. The aim of Green Press is to make the everyday human eat more vegetables – by making them taste great with little effort possible – in order to evolve your palate so that you actually want to eat more veggies and plant based products.

Chocolate Cake Batter

Thanks to McLoughlin and Green Press they have created a smoothie book – aptly titled “How To Be a Smoothie Criminal” which contains delicious smoothie recipes in order to help you kick start the smoothie routine. The book also walks you through what fruits, greens, proteins, sugar free sweeteners, super foods and enhancers they recommend you use as well as extra information about each ingredient.

You are bound to find a smoothie for everyone in this book – from the chocolate lovers to the peanut butter and jelly fanatics – there is definitely something for everyone. The names of the smoothies are a play on words – such as Pine Kale-ada, Mochin’ on Heaven’s Door, Mjango Unchained just to name a few.

pine kale-ada

You can download the How To Be a Smoothie Criminal from the following link http://greenpress.co/pages/how-to-be-a-smoothie-criminal or alternatively you can email me and I can send you a PDF copy.

Mjango Unchained

Check out the Green Press website as well (http://greenpress.co/) – here you can find links to even more delicious and healthy recipes as well some top tips and tricks to stay on a healthy path! You can also SHOP for Green Press juices.
If you are in Melbourne you can even visit their store – details just below!

Happy Smoothie Making everyone!

Switch on Smoothie

Location:
Shop 7 / 525 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 4:00pm
Closed Weekends

 

Honcho Noodle – Oodles of Delicious Noodles

panda-4-5-rating

Menu:
Honcho - Drinks Menu Honcho - Dinner Menu

Ever since hearing that Adam Liston was opening a new venue in the CBD – it was quickly added to my list of places to check out once it opened. I have been to Northern Light (Liston’s previous restaurant) and loved the food there so it was a no brainer to want to check out his new venue.

Honcho Noodles is Liston’s three month long pop-up; located at Hotel Windsor (where the old Wallis + Ed is located) and is somewhat an entrée to the main event – Honcho which is set to open on Punch Lane in the Melbourne CBD in September. Honcho will have a custom-built charcoal grill which will be used to grill, spit roast and smoke yakitori skewers, poultry and vegetables. In addition to this there will be a raw bar where diners can eat sashimi and other raw dishes.

Back to Honcho Noodle – the menu has been designed to share in order to experience more of what they have to offer. There are a handful of starters such as Miso Soup, Prawn Crackers, Yakitori, Dumplings and Spring Rolls to name a few. This is followed by a selection of six Noodle dishes – and by selection I mean a wide variety of different noodles such as Korean Noodles, Squid Ink Noodles, Udon and Soba Noodles. For dessert there either Mango or Black Sesame Ice Cream.

The venue is minimal with a combination of splashes of neon and manga. The vibe is chilled out and funky with a buzz to it. The night I go the drinks menu is splashed against the back wall; almost enticing you into trying it all. I love that on the table you have access to your very own condiments – Katsubishi­-Infused Soy, House-­Made Togarashi and Chinese-­style Chilli paste – mmm!
The food menu has so many flavour combinations; leaving you wanting to try it all. It’s just the two of us tonight and we have a tight timeline as we have a show to see at 7:30pm (Singin’ in the Rain – such an awesome musical – I would highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance) – so we decide to get a few dishes and share.

We start off ordering drinks – we both get the Honcho Black Tea with Cranberry – however A decides to get it “Spiked” – which means you can either add Gin, Shochu or Whiskey. They have quite a variety of drinks which include the Japanese classics like Sake, Shochu etc. There are also Japanese themed Cocktails available.

I decide I want to try the Prawn Cracker, Chopped Prawn, Bottarga, Seaweed Mayonnaise and A orders the Chicken, Shrimp & Ginger Dumplings, Chinese Black Vinegar to start. It was only after ordering the dumplings (on recommendation from our waiter) that I asked if the any of the meats were Halal. I was super excited when we were told that the chicken is in fact Halal; which meant I could try the dumplings too! Win!

I used to eat prawn crackers all the time when I was younger – but never thought about putting more prawn flavour on top of the cracker – it was simply just ho’ing them down back then. They have the Pringles effect on me – once you crack (pop) you can’t stop! Back to Liston’s version of the Prawn Cracker with more prawn on top and finished with seaweed mayonnaise – ingenious! The flavour combination did take me a second to process; but once I did I loved it – the creaminess together with the tang of the seaweed worked perfectly completed by the crunch and sweetness of the prawn cracker / prawn. Definitely still holds the Pringle effect – delish!

Next up was the dumplings – no words can express how good these were! The chicken, shrimp and ginger combination was simply divine; mixed together with the tang of the Chinese black vinegar was the perfect combination. Anyone having a dumpling craving these will definitely satisfy you and leave you wanting more.

For our noodles dishes we ordered the Spanner Crab Udon, Smoked Crab Butter, Yuzu, Kizami Nori together with the Hot Soba Noodles, Kyoto Green Onion Oil, Radish, Black Vinegar, Shitake.

You can barely see the Udon when the dish comes out as it is covered with the Kizami Nori – and you might not think much of it – but wait until you dish it up and take the first bite. It is heaven in a spoonful. The smokiness of the crab butter together with the udon is magic. A definite must try!

The Hot Soba Noodles dish looks very impressive – the Shitake gleams up at you sitting high amongst the Soba Noodles, Radish, Kyoto Green Onion with an underlay of Black Vinegar. The vinegar shines through this dish and combined with all the ingredients makes for a spectacular dish. If you aren’t fan of too much of a tart taste you might not fully enjoy it – but I would give it a try!

We ran out of time to get dessert; however going from the scrumptious dishes we had I will definitely be back. After all those Chicken Ribs sounds mighty tempting; and after raving about this place to the hubby I need to bring him here!

NOTE: Honcho Noodle will run from June until September, and open for dinner from Monday through to Saturday only.

Honcho is expected to open for lunch and dinner Monday through to Saturday; around September in 18 Punch Lane, Melbourne. If you visit the Honcho website there is a countdown letting you know how many more days are left until Honcho opens up

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to pictures above
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Funky, Vibrant, Relaxed – a great place for good conversation and a catchup with friends
Standout Dish: Chicken, Shrimp & Ginger Dumplings, Chinese Black Vinegar AND Spanner Crab Udon, Smoked Crab Butter, Yuzu, Kizami Nori together with the Hot Soba Noodles, Kyoto Green Onion Oil, Radish, Black Vinegar, Shitake
Service: Friendly and Helpful; sometimes it can be hard to find people if you have a query but generally it was good!
Online Booking: Yes via http://honchomelbourne.com/
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://honchomelbourne.com/
1 Bourke St (Hotel Windsor, where Wallis + Ed are)

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 5:00pm to Late

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Honcho-Noodle-1607362102914517/

Instagram: @honchomelbourne