Grigons & Orr – Cornerstore Fun

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Grigons & Orr
Baked Eggs Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberries and Strawberries

Grigons & Orr is not your typical style of cafe – it just doesn’t serve great food but provides you with an experience. It’s reminiscent of the corner store you used to visit as a kid and a country milk bar / old school style supermarket all rolled into one.  Grigons & Orr corner store is the brilliant idea of Kellie Grigons and Margo Orr.

The feel of the cornerstore cafe is retro chic and to add to the full effect of the cornerstore, there are shelves (which are made out of shipping crates) of Nutella, various shampoos and toilet papar, flour, even Spam! and things you would normally find in a cornerstore that are behind the counter. On the other wall is crates that surround the fridges which house the milk and drinks. Its little touches like this that all add to the experience. To add to the effect are laminex tables with soft old school chairs which are very comfortable. The counter is stacked with cupcakes, scones and other baked goodies as well as old school style lollies.

There are many great little touches to this place – from the box of crocheted blankets that the people sitting at pavement tables can use to wrap themselves up in them if they get cold, to the ancient magazines that you can read whilst you wait for a table – but my favourite is the bottled water which comes with strawberries. ( They also have lemon, mint, cucumber, fresh herbs in the mix as well). I have never seen strawberries infused in a water bottle and it added a pleasant flavour to the water (I am not usually a fan of the flavoured bottled water that you can buy, but this home made one is pretty damn good!).

I started off by ordering a Chai Latte and in keeping with the old style theme was a cute coffee cup with a decorative spoons. The coffee (which I had later) is quite good as well – very creamy and fragrant.  Now onto the food – where can I start with the food! The menu is massive and there are so so so many things to select from that you will need a good ten minutes to decide what you want. The menu ranges from scrambled eggs to baked eggs to corn fritters to french toast with a twist and ricotta pancakes. There is also a milkshake menu as well as a “Cake-shake” which is the option to choose a cake off the counter to be mixed into a milkshake – all just for $9.50! This  would remind anyone of their childhoods, where you would pick different things and decide to mix them together. I know I used to mix different types of sodas together to see what kind of mix I could get.

I ordered the Shakshouka – Israeli eggs baked in spicy Napoli sauce served with yoghurt & buttery toast and G ordered the Ricotta Pancakes with Barbados Cream and Berry Compote. The eggs were delicious but I have to admit not one of my favourite baked egg dishes. The eggs were cooked to perfection and were just the right amount of runniness, but the Napoli sauce was a bit too overwhelming, however the addition of the yoghurt helped to cut this flavour down. The pancakes were piled high and the dish was huge! The serving sizes here at Grigons & Orr are certainly generous! The pancakes were beautifully made and weren’t doughy at all and the Barbados cream was to die for!

There are many interesting dishes on the menu such as Elvis! and SPAM! and something that I want to come back and try is the Warm Chilli Cous Cous dish. This place is a fantastic place to visit not just for good food but if you want a trip down memory lane and for a nostalgic experience.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Can be found at http://www.grigonsorr.com.au/menu.htm
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Retro Chic and has a funky vibe!
Standout Dish: Ricotta Pancakes with Barbados Cream and Berry Compote
Service: Friendly and Happy
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.grigonsorr.com.au/index.htm
445 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Tel No: 0487 608 489 / 9663 5192

Opening Hours:
Closed Mondays
Tuesday to Sunday: 7am to 5pm

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Fitzrovia – Vintage and Funky Cafe

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Zucchini and halloumi fritters with poached eggs, spiced cauliflower salad, hazelnuts and our green tomato relish

20130102_125032Crème brûlée French toast with sliced banana, dulce de leche and marscapone


Fitzrovia is all about fine food and fresh local produce and it presents provincial-style Italian and French dishes in an artistic manner. Fitzrovia is an all day dining restaurant that comes to you from chefs Paul Jewson, his partner Gian Marco Pugnaloni and Liz Molroy. Paul and Gian Marco opened their first cafe – Outpost Cafe in South Yarra – in 2009 and was their first very successfully venture.

The name itself is not just a play on the location (Fitzroy Street) but comes from a bohemian and artistic hub in central London, and has brought a new and much needed type of foodie place to the St Kilda area. You are welcomed by huge tall glass doors and a naturally light filled entryway which boasts crates that are filled with fresh produce and to the right a long counter which has a coffee machine and a selection of cheeses, sandwiches and cakes. It has a modern yet European and homely feel to it – when you go up the stairs (just off the entryway) to more seating – there is a cosy little area reminiscent of a provincial dining area complete with a wood burning fireplace. You can just sit and chat here for hours on end with good friends.

The key factor that Fitzrovia prides itself on is the locally sourced produced. For example Port Phillip organic mussels, free-range eggs from South Gippsland, non-homogenised milk from Jonesy’s, St Ali single estate coffees and fresh herbs from a community allotment in Caulfield.

My friends arrived for brunch and were seated in the cosy upstairs dining area (where the fireplace was situated) – with wooden tables and bentwood chairs. There is massive gold framed vintage mirror together with a wooden bookshelf. We order coffees – which are fantastic and sourced from St Ali – How could you possibly go wrong – and are given the menus. There are also a selection of freshly squeezed juice mixes – called fusion juices – which are said to provide “maximum nutrition with minimal oxidization.” I order the Clean and Green – which consists of Kiwi, Lime, Cucumber, Granny Smith Apple and Pear – and my friend orders the Immunity Boosters – consisting of Strawberry, Orange and Pear.  The juice is indeed not only clean and green, but refreshing and rejuvenating.

Fitzrovia serves all day breakfast till 3pm and its lunch menu kick starts at 12pm. The menu also has an Afternoon Delights section which is served from 3pm till dinner time and compromises of some of your smaller snack size dishes  – such as chicken wings, spring rolls or Aranchini balls etc as well as larger main sized dishes such as steak sandwich, BLT or salad.

Breakfast dishes consist of the normal eggs (any way you like) together with additional sides, bircher muesli, toast with house toppings to the dishes with a twist – for example Crème Brulee french toast to Zucchini and halloumi fritters and dishes that have asparagus, home made quinoa. I ordered the Zucchini and Halloumi fritters and made a mental note to get the Crème Brulee French toast later to share with the girls as a “dessert.” D ordered the fritters as well and A ordered scrambled eggs.

The fritter dish came out and was plated up beautifully – comfort food but with class and style. I have never encountered this combo of zucchini and halloumi in a fritter arrangement before but it worked! The flavours meshed well together and the fritter itself was the right consistency and crunch. Together with the spiced cauliflower and green tomato relish this dish was a sure winner. The hazelnuts added for texture and nutty flavour. Definitely try this dish out! The dish is well sized and it took me a while to finish the whole thing – after all you wouldn’t want to waste such a tasty dish.

We did order the Crème Brulee French toast to share and boy am I glad we did. With a combination of bananas, crème brulee toast and dulce de leche you would think that this dish was overly sweet – however it wasn’t. The banana that was sandwiched in between the french toast helped to balance out the flavour as did the unsweetened marscapone. I could have done without the berry compote, but it did add a sour flour amongst the sweetness. For lovers of french toast, definitely try this out and I’m sure you will be coming back for more. One thing that I saw on the menu that I have to come back and try are the famous truffled polenta chips.

Fitzrovia is stylish and sleek with its modern decor and natural lighting and all at the same time welcoming and hospitable.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner menus – Can be found at http://fitzrovia.com.au/menu/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Modern, Provincial, Cosy and Comfortable. The indoors seating is so inviting and makes you want to just sit around for hours on end just chatting.
Standout Dish: Zucchini and halloumi fritters with poached eggs, spiced cauliflower salad, hazelnuts and our green tomato relish
Service: Fantastic and Friendly.
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://cms.dimmi.com.au/(S(jvxhfgois3mpnmqoqpj5kuns))/Widget/Widget.aspx?id=2561&location=http%3a//fitzrovia.com.au/
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://fitzrovia.com.au/
2/155 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Tel No: 9537 0001

Opening Hours:
Monday & Tuesday: 7am to 4pm
Wednesday to Friday: 7am to 11 pm
Saturday: 8am to 11pm
Sunday: 8am to 11pm

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John Gorilla – Great Summery Cafe for Catchups

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Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice at John Gorilla Toasted Bagel filled with Smoked Salmon, Fresh Spinach, Sliced Avocado, Dill, Boiled Egg & Mayonnaise
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice and Toasted Bagel filled with Smoked Salmon, Fresh Spinach, Sliced Avocado, Dill, Boiled Egg & Mayonnaise
French Toast made with Brioche & Served with Fresh Strawberries, Kaffir Lime Leaf infused Raspberry Couli, Toasted Macadamias and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone
French Toast made with Brioche & Served with Fresh Strawberries, Kaffir Lime Leaf infused Raspberry Couli, Toasted Macadamias and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone
Braised Field Mushrooms on Sourdough toast, finished with shaved Pecorino, Chervil and Truffle Oil
 Braised Field Mushrooms on Sourdough toast, finished with shaved Pecorino, Chervil and Truffle Oil

John Gorilla is relatively new cafe in West Brunswick that was opened up by Joanna Wilson (owner of the much loved Mart 130 cafe in Middlepark).  Wilson posted on an online fund-raising platform Pozible to assist in the funding to build this solo venture. Through the website, people could sign up for vouchers for coffee and food in exchange for donations. She quickly managed to raise almost $7K and the rest as they can say is history. This place has been full of patrons from day one and after visiting this place I can see why.

As you walk towards John Gorilla – which is located on Pearson St, which just your regular neighbourhood street – you are greeted with big windows and rulers which line the bottom front wall – which is the main design feature – in all types of colourfuls. This feature runs inside the cafe as well under the main countertop. The main countertop features some of sweets on sale such as cupcakes and muffins. Along the entrance there are a few tables and as you continue inside there are two main rooms, together with an Astro-turfed back garden to enjoy more of the sunshine.

The decor is colourful vintage chic with a few modern twists in the form of colourful wall mural (which is hand painted by Melbourne artist Beci Orpin)  – to keep with the colourful ruler theme. The lightshades are a main focal point made of wire and exposed bulb filament (I LOVE!). There is also a painting of John Gorilla himself which overlooks the coffee area – such a cute feature.

My girlfriends and I got seated in the outside courtyard area which had wooden table and soft spongy chairs that reminded me of classroom days back in primary school – not to say it wasn’t comfortable. The weather was beautiful and this arrangement surrounded with some of my best friends was great. We ordered coffee (John Gorilla serves Padre coffee) and fresh juices as we chatted and looked over the menus.

Shane Beazley is the head chef of John Gorilla and has created a menu that covers all bases and is enticing and appealing. The menu is broken up into 5 parts – Cereals Fruit &Toasts, Breakfast, Eggs, Sandwiches and Lunch. Breakfast dishes consist of French Toast, to Lamb fry to breakfast combinations such as eggs with mushrooms or baked beans but with additional ingredients to make the dish pop. Sandwiches aren’t your normal sandwiches – there is a bagel with smoked salmon, a steak sandwich and vegetarian option of an open toasted sandwich with pumpkin dahl, tomato and basil. Told you the menu covers all bases =p

I ordered the Braised Field Mushrooms on Sourdough toast, finished with shaved Pecorino, Chervil and Truffle Oil which was quite a large sized dish! The mushrooms were plump, juicy and fresh and the combination of ingredients did work well. The shaved Pecorino wasn’t as “fresh” as I thought it would be and would be my only complaint. I struggled to finish my dish. I also tried some of my friends French Toast which was really delicious! I am a huge fan of vanilla bean and loved that this was the main flavour in the mascarpone. A definite must try!

My girlfriends and I continued to sit around in the courtyard chatting and sipping coffees for a good 4 hours and the staff were friendly and didn’t at any time tell us to leave – simply asked us if we needed anything else.

John Gorilla is a colourful and quirky cafe that serves great food and tasty coffee. It is a great place to come to spend a sunny afternoon or even if it is just for a quick coffee (which can be served through the front windows). This place is a definite must visit and a return to place on my list.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Great Breakkie selection – refer to http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/menu/1699339
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Retro, Comfortable and great for a Summery day catchup, especially in the outside courtyard
Standout Dish: Braised Field Mushrooms on Sourdough toast, finished with shaved Pecorino, Chervil and Truffle Oil
Service: Friendly and Attentive
Online Booking: No – Cafe doesn’t take bookings
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.johngorilla.com/#
49 Pearson St, Brunswick West
Tel No: 9005 8680

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday: 7:30am – 4:30pm

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The Press Club – Food with a Greek Twist

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Drinks at Press Club Butter with Cod Flavoured Butter Peas, Pickled Mushroom, Marouli Tomato, Olive, Cucumber Salmon, Fosolakia, Skordalia Chicken, Corn, Kritharaki Fruits, Sorbet, Ice Cream Karythopita, Creme Fraiche, Cherry

The Press Club is a two-hatted restaurant owned by chef and restaurateur George Colombaris. The Press Club showcases Colombaris’ Greek heritage together with modern Australian dishes, and is one of the most popular venues in Melbourne.

Ever since I started to watch Masterchef and there was a challenge where the contestants had to cook at The Press Club, I wanted to try out the Degustation menu with the distinctive Aphrodite dessert. However, I never got around to visiting and the dessert no longer exists, yet I still had to make to this famous venue. Previously, I had only come here late one night for a dessert fix and found the desserts were absolutely delectable, so high expectations were set for the food.

The Press Club is a classy yet welcoming place – there are dark floors, a wooden ceiling which have dangling light globes and beautiful textured wallpaper. Tables are decked out with a white table cloth and have a spot of colour in the form of an orange water glass (which I loved!), and are spaced out perfectly and is what adds the casualness to the place. The staff are friendly, passionate and knowledgeable and make the place even warmer. The kitchen is an open style theatre and allows diners to look at the chefs preparing meals. Just at the front of the open kitchen is a marble table which serves as a “Chef’s Table,” where diners can see the chefs plating up dishes right in front of them. The restaurant exudes elegance and class.

My friends and I arrived for a lunchtime meal and had three options menuwise to select from – Mini Symposium Degustation, The Kerasma or the Business Lunch. The Mini Symposium Degustation was 6 courses that each person on the table would get, The Kerasma was the ” To Treat and To Share” menu, where the entire table would have a selection of Tastes, Small, Main and Dessert dishes to share and lastly, the Business Lunch where you could either select from 2 or 3 courses. We decided to do the Business Lunch and I opted for the 3 courses.

The meal started off with complimentary bread that came with house-made salted cod roe butter. There were two different types of bread available – olive and plain. I wasn’t a massive fan of the salted cod roe butter (due to not being a massive fan of cod), however the rest of the table did enjoy it and said it complimented the breads, and was especially suited to the olive bread. The butter itself was airy, light and fluffy and the texture was perfect. For my first course I had the Peas, Pickled Mushroom, Marouli which I thought was a very fresh dish made from the freshest of ingredients. The ingredients worked well together and had a great after taste as well – clean and delicious. I would have liked more of the avocado to be added, but that’s just being picky.

My next dish was Salmon, Fosolakia, Skordalia. Fosolakia is the Greek for beans and Skordalia is a thick puree made of crushed garlic with a thick base such as potatoes etc. The Salmon was the perfect pink colouring and cooked to perfection with the right amount of crispness in the skin. Matched together with the beans and the puree sauce – it made for a great combination and was my favourite dish of the day. The fish was juicy and flavoursome and the beans provided the texture in the form a great crunch.

For dessert I had the Karythopita, Creme Fraiche, Cherry – which was a de-constructed cheesecake / walnut cake. This dish was good but not great. The crumble was fresh and tasted great. The main cheesecake / walnut cake part was nice and had great texture and flavour, but as a whole I thought this dish could have been a whole lot better. My friend had the Fruits and Sorbet Ice cream – three different house-made flavours of sorbet with fresh fruit. The flavours were deceiving and not what you would expect from the colours that you see. Worth trying!

Overall the food and ambience of The Press Club is fantastic and the staff are friendly and attentive. You can fire off any questions you have about the menu or drinks and they will tell you the answers, and if they don’t know it they wouldn’t hesitate to go and find out. Perfect service! The quality of the food is fantastic and you can tell that real care and love has been put into every dish.

The Press Club has announced on its site that it will be closing in March 2013 and a complete refurbishment of this space will welcome Gazi’, an informal restaurant inspired by the street food of Athens. For more information please visit their website – http://www.thepressclub.com.au/newsreviews.html

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$$$
Menu –There are many menus to select from – Lunch menu (http://www.thepressclub.com.au/lunchmenu.html) – which consists of the Keresma, Business Lunch and Mini Symposium Degustation Menus, Dinner Menus (http://www.thepressclub.com.au/dinnermenu.html) – which is the Symposium Degustation where you can select from either 5 or 8 courses
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Classy, Elegant and Inviting
Standout Dish: Salmon, Fosolakia, Skordalia. Fosolakia
Service: Fantastic, Friendly, Attentive and Knowledgeable. Outsanding service!
Online Booking: Yes and Reservations are Essential – via http://www.thepressclub.com.au/bookings.html
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.thepressclub.com.au/index.html
72 Flinders St, Melbourne
Tel No: 9677 9677

Opening Hours:
Lunch
Monday – Sunday: 12pm to 3pm
Dinner
Monday – Sunday: 6pm to 10pm

The Press Club on Urbanspoon

Small Victories – Great Carlton Food Victory!

panda 4 rating

Small Victories is a cafe / restaurant that is located is the leafy streets of North Carlton in Rathdowne Street. It is an eat’n’drinkery opened by chef Alric Hansen and Ben Farrant that operates as a cafe by day and a restaurant at night. The space is small but has an long marble counter at the front which serves drinks and coffees, and houses a selection of impressive vinyl records. The music played whilst dining here are played on a turntable adding to the fun.

There are many different cosy areas where you can dine – from the tables outside to enjoy the sunshine, to inside where there are timber tables as well as communal tables (also for the larger crowds). There are stools along the marble countertop or seats along the window to enjoy the scenery that Rathdowne street has to offer. There is also an upstairs dining area with a mini skylight / atrium area.

The decor is vintage and modern all at the same time, and my favourite feature of the restaurant was the skylight which streamed in natural light right above our table, as well as the naked light bulb with a groovy filament on the inside. I am really starting to love these lightbulbs (if only it would suit my house!). The walls are white and feature not much artwork which create a modern feel.

Small Victories offers a great menu variety which ranges from simple eggs with sides, baked eggs to sweeter offerings including yoghurt, muesli and fruit toast. There are also organic, vegetarian and gluten free options available. The dishes can be best described as Modern Australian dishes with imagination, flair and glam! The combination of their dishes are like no other and from the dishes that I tried, really do work. Lunches consists of a selection of Sandwiches – which are not your ordinary types of sandwiches – for example there is an Advieh Spied Poon Boon Lamb, Organic Labne, Pickled Cucumber and Herbs sandwich – sounds interesting right? There are also a selection of such as pasta, steak or veggie dishes. 

My friends and I arrived for breakfast and started off with coffees – I had a latte – which was amazing. The beans are sourced from Wide Open Road blends and have nutty and creamy tastes too it, yet still strong. I also ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice whilst I waited for my breakfast. My friend ordered the Small Victories Mixed Grill; Fried Egg, Breakfast Sausage, Black Pudding, Croquette, Streaky Bacon, Baked Beans, and I ordered the Veggie Baked Eggs. Both dishes came out at the same time and were very impressive looking. My friends Mixed Grill came in a terracotta pot with a slice of bread on the side, as did my Baked Eggs. I love how the butter was placed on the toasty warm bread – which allowed the butter to be spreadable and perfect. I thought this was a great idea and haven’t seen it in any other cafes’ so far.

My Baked Eggs dish was scrumptious and consisted of eggs, tomato, potato with onions and topped with a hollandaise sauce. The sauce that the veggies were baked in was flavoursome and had a bit of spice to it. The veggies had a bit of crunch to them and the hollandaise was just perfect in every way. The combination made for a very good and filling dish – it did take me longer than normal to finish this dish. My friend enjoyed her mixed grill and due to the sheer size took a good while to finish the dish as well.

As we were there for quite some time and I felt like something sweet we decided to order the Melon, Mango, Lime & Ginger Sago, Passionfruit, Basil Seed, Puffed Brown Rice, Candied Coconut dish. This is a really great summer dish to eat, and it was a very hot day in Melbourne (37 degrees!!!), it really hit the spot! The combination of the fruits together with the sago and basil seeds were great. There was the crunch and hardness of the fruits against the softness and gooeyness of the sago and the basil seeds. The puffed rice I wasn’t a huge fan of but my friend loved this addition, and said it brought the whole dish together. I would definitely recommend this dish (even if its not a 37 degree day).

One let down of this place was the waitress that we had – she never once smiled and was a bit rude when we wanted to order extra drinks or dishes. On the plus side when the owners served us, he was fantastic and friendly.

This place is a must try for all in and around the area as well from afar. It is a great little place to try out and spend a whole morning – the menu certainly has a dish for everyone. It will be interesting to come back at dinner time and check out the dishes then as well as experiencing Small Victories as a bar.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast (http://smallvictoriesrestaurant.com.au/breakfast/), Lunch (http://smallvictoriesrestaurant.com.au/lunch/) and Dinner (http://smallvictoriesrestaurant.com.au/dinner/) and Bar (http://smallvictoriesrestaurant.com.au/bar/) menu
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Vintage yet Modern, comfortable and cosy – you can spend hours just chatting away.
Standout Dish: Melon, Mango, Lime & Ginger Sago, Passionfruit, Basil Seed, Puffed Brown Rice, Candied Coconut dish
Service: So-So – we might have gone on an off day – the waitress was unfriendly, however the owner made up for it and was super friendly.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://smallvictoriesrestaurant.com.au/
617 Rathdowne St,
Carlton North
Tel No: 9347 4064

Opening Hours:
Closed Mondays
Tuesday: 8am to 4pm
Wednesday: 8am to 10:30pm
Thursday – Saturday: 8am to 10:30pm
Sunday: 9am to 5pm

Small Victories on Urbanspoon

Cornershop – Yarraville Local is Fantastic


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Latte and Baked Eggs with Eggplant Kasundi Relish, Fetta and Parsley
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Smashed Avocado with Spring Onion, Coriander, Fetta and Chilli  on Sourdough

I have heard of the Cornershop from a various number of people and finally got a chance to try it out. I have driven past it many times when I have been in the area, and it seems to be quite a popular spot for the locals. It is constantly busy and bustling. The cafe is spacious and has a vibrant and fun atmosphere. There is a vintage feel with wooden tables are recycled wooden benches to match and wiry light shades and decor. There is a communal table at the front which has wild flowers as a centrepiece, as well as a courtyard out the back for those lovely Melbourne sunny days.

I arrived a bit before G so I got us a table and ordered myself a coffee. The menu has quite a variety – from ricotta hotcakes to baked eggs and even a side of black pudding. I must admit I did have a tough time deciding what to order but I settled on the Baked Eggs with Eggplant Kasundi Relish, Fetta and Parsley. When G arrived she ordered her coffee and then settled on Smashed Avocado with Spring Onion, Coriander, Fetta and Chilli  on Sourdough. The food did take a bit of time to arrive (about 20-30mins), but the wait wasn’t too bad. What was bad was when the food had arrived, G still hadn’t gotten her coffee. We asked the waitress and were told hurriedly that there was a shortage of cups and that it would come soon. I thought that was somewhat rude. The coffee did finally arrive about 45 mins after the order.

The food was quite delicious. I am not a huge fan of eggplant generally, but with the baked eggs the eggplant kasundi relish was spectacular. It had a little bit of tang and had the right amount of seasoning, and the eggplant itself was cooked to the perfect softness. Mixed together with the Fetta and Parsley it was a great combination. Definitely try it out if you are cant decide what you want. G was loving her dish and couldn’t believe she finished the whole dish (it was quite large!). The smashed avocado was mixed together with the spring onion, fetta for a flavoursome result and the added chilli gave that extra little kick. There was a lot of rocket on top of the avocado I must say – but if rocket is your thing you will love it.

I can see why the Cornershop is considered a local favourite and is busy most times. Just one improvement would have to be service. I am also very interested to see what their Dinner menu is like – it just might be on my next visit to Yarraville!=)

Rating : 3 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Menu – refer below for Breakfast and Lunch Menu

Cornershop Menu

Cornershop Menu

Fullness: 90%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Funky and Lively – great place to spend hours just catching up with friends or reading a book
Standout Dish: Baked Eggs!
Service: Can be improved..a tad bit slow and the staff seem consistently busy. The staff are quite friendly though.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
9 Ballarat Street, Yarraville
Tel No: 9689 0052

Opening Hours:
Sunday & Monday: 8am – 5pm
Tuesday to Friday: 8am – 9:30pm

The Cornershop on Urbanspoon

Hobba: Eatery & Bar – Beautiful Fresh Dishes

panda-4-5-rating3Hobba Breakfast

Hobba Dinner Menu Latte at Hobba Breakfast Bubble & Squeak with Hollandaise, Roast Tomato, Fried Egg & Slab Bacon Grilled Asparagus, Hazelnut Crumbs, Horseradish Panna Cotta, Poached Egg French Toast with Blueberries, Banana Creme Fraice and Macadamia Crumble

Hobba: Eatery & Bar is located in Prahran and is housed in a once old tire factory, owned by Gerrick Numan, and joined by Simon McNamara and chef Josh Powell. Hobba has so much light and maintains its warehouse style and creates a relaxed atmosphere for its guests. I later also discovered that there is a giant tree which grows in the middle of the space through a table. Very interesting indeed! The restaurant space is open with high ceilings and exposed brick walls, and booths are made out of timber and have comfortable cushion seats.

I arrived before the rest of the group (there was going to be four of us) and was told that there would be a 15 minute wait for a table. (This was on Christmas Eve day by the way). However, there was a table much sooner and after about 5-7 minutes I was seated at a table. I was asked immediately if I wanted a coffee and was given water and the menu. As my friends hadn’t arrived yet I had plenty of time to have a look at their menu, and discovered that they Hobba now did dinner service – only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. They had a sample menu on the back of the Breakfast and Lunch menu (refer to the first thumbnail above) – and the food looked and sounded delicious. I made a mental note to definitely come back at dinner time.

The menu has a breakfast and lunch menu. The Breakfast menu is available all day, and there are a selection of sandwiches available from 10:30am. The menu consists of the general loved classic dishes such as toast with jam, muesli, eggs and omelettes, but what stands out about this place is the dishes that won’t find anywhere else – such as the Grilled asparagus, hazelnut crumbs, horseradish panna cotta & poached egg and the bubble and squeak dish.

I ordered the Grilled Asparagus dish and when the dish came out it was plated so beautifully. It is one of the best presented breakfast dishes I have had. The horseradish panna cotta made the dish look like a dessert dish. The asparagus was blanched and flavoured just perfectly. The poached egg…oh the poached egg – cooked to absolute perfection at 62.5 degrees and was runny and gooey and had such a light casing of the white. This mixed together with the hazelnut crumb added texture to the dish, and made for a winning combination. An addition I would have liked is a piece of sour dough bread to soak up that delicious runny egg.

A ordered the Bubble and Squeak dish and that too was presented in a great fashion – with the hollandaise sauce on the bottom and then the bubble and squeak placed on top with another layer atop of fried egg and bacon. V ordered the French Toast with banana creme fraiche which she thoroughly enjoyed. Banana Creme Fraiche is something that you wouldn’t find in many places and the macadamia crumble is another exotic addition. L had the Hobba breakfast which was quite decently sized and comes with tomato, bacon, sausage and eggs. The coffees here are pretty spot on as well and taste creamy and rich and are from Five Senses.

The atmosphere is laid back and relaxing and its a great place for a casual catchup. Hobba is great for all types of people and great for families as well. There are mini board games for the kiddies. I wonder what the atmosphere would be like for the dinner service. The space is really funky and trendy. Definitely will be back for more of the breakfast meals as well as for the dinner. It is on my highly recommended list when people ask me where they should go for brunch.

Open to the street and with a whacking great tree thrown in the middle of the lofty ex-tyre fitting garage, it almost feels like you’re eating al fresco – and who doesn’t love the feel of the morning breeze through their cereal? The atmosphere is pretty laid back, which is exactly what owner Gerrick Numan, and Powell were aiming for with their amusing pledge to under-promise, and over-deliver. They wanted the sort of place where they themselves would go to relax – which of course meant having the kind of food that they would want to eat.

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast / Lunch Menu – http://www.hobba.com.au/Hobba/BreakfastLunch.html, Dinner Menu – http://www.hobba.com.au/Hobba/Dinner.html
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual, Relaxed and great for a Sunday afternoon.
Standout Dish:
Service: Friendly and Attentive
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.hobba.com.au/Hobba/Home.html
428 Malvern Road, Prahran
Tel No: 9510 8336

Opening Hours:
Monday to Wednesday: 7am to 5pm
Thursday to Saturday: 7am to 11pm (Dinner on Thursday to Saturday nights)
Sunday: 8am to 5pm

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The Burger Lounge – Massive Variety of Burgers!!

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halal symbolNOTE: Chicken here is HALAL as they use Lilydale Free Range Chicken.

The Burger Lounge is located in Eltham and specialises in gourmet burgers and homemade salads – all of which are made fresh daily! I happened to stumble on this place when I went to a nearby restaurant for a friends birthday dinner, and saw the mass crowds at this place. It being only about a 10 minute drive from me, we decided to check it out. N and I went there on a pleasant Saturday evening and the place was pretty packed, but we managed to score one of the last remaining tables.

The Burger Lounge is long and spacious and has outdoor seats at the front (all of which were taken on this pleasant day =p), there is a massive square shaped communal table at the front and the kitchen sits behind it. The theme is modern, black and wood, and the seats are comfortable. This adds to the lounge feel of the place. You are then greeted by a HUGEEEE menu of which you have to select from. I have never ever seen so much variety for burgers in my life! The venue is a chic joint and the atmosphere is fun and lively, and makes for one of the most stylish hamburgers places I have come across.

Now onto the food. There is a massive selection to pick from, so you need a while before deciding on which burger you want! Their buns are sugar-free sourdough made by La Madre Bakery and they are delivered fresh every day. There is an option for gluten-free buns, as well as fresh iceberg lettuce cup on which the burgers are served for people who are carb conscious. You can select burgers from a selection of  Victorian chemical and hormone free beef and lamb, free range chicken, fish and many vegetarian options.

N picked the Steak Classic Burger on Turkish Bread – 100% Prime Scotch Fillet, BBQ Sauce, Herb Aioli, Caramelised Onions, Lettuce, Sweet Chilli Jam and Tasty Cheese and I picked the Portobello Burger – Whole Portobello Mushroom, Chargrilled Red Capsicum, Crispy Zucchini, Haloumi Cheese, Caramelised Onion, Rocket, Semi Dried Tomato, Garlic & Basil Pesto & Relish.

The burgers come out on a wooden board and were HUGE! I had no idea how to tackle eating it. The thick chips come in a stainless steel cup and were seasoned with rosemary and the right amount of salt, and were crispy – just the way I like them. The bun you could tell was fresh and came out perfectly toasted and was crunchy on the outside yet not too dry on the inside. All of The Burger Lounges’ veggies are roasted in house and were fresh, flavoursome and so vibrant in colour. The mix of all the ingredients together in my burger were scrumptious and the addition of the garlic & basil pesto & relish tied the whole burger together for a very satisfying meal. N enjoyed his burger as well and did say it was one of the best burgers he has had. He said the beef burger was very well-flavoured and the accompanying ingredients of the BBQ sauce and sweet chilli jam enhanced these flavours. The turkish bread was also just as fresh as my bun. Both of these burgers were filling and I struggled to finish mine.

Not only do they have a variety of burgers, but they also do a variety of desserts! They have a selection of macaroons, ice-cream and Petoula’s (which are Albanian Donuts). I was way too full to try any of this out, but they did look (just like with everything else here) fresh and simply delicious! Also worth noting is that their selection of drinks from the fridge is once again massive! They have so many different types of drinks and flavours that I have never seen before (have a look at the top for the pic of the drinks) – that night I ordered a SOHO sparkling Grapefruit juice – and it turns out it was the first night they were selling it and didn’t even have them on their register, so they charged me a cheaper price for it.

I would highly recommend The Burger Lounge for their burgers even if it might not be located centrally – it is well worth the trek out to Eltham. The staff are friendly and the place is modern, funky yet a great place to catch up with friends in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Rating : 5 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – A massive variety of burgers, salads, chips, ice cream, macaroons and drinks! Check out the menu at http://www.theburgerlounge.com.au/menus.html
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Funky, Casual and Inviting.
Standout Dish: Any of the burgers!
Service: Friendly, Fun and Warm
Online Booking:  No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.theburgerlounge.com.au/index.html
902 Main Road, Eltham
Tel No: 9431 4500

Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 10am to 9pm
Friday & Saturday: 10am to 10pm
Sunday: 10am to 9pm

The Burger Lounge on Urbanspoon

Two Birds One Stone – Bustling Brunch Venue

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Latte at Two Birds One StoneLatte at Two Birds One Stone

Roasted Field Mushrooms, Toasted House Made Brioche, Meredith Feta & WatercressRoasted Field Mushrooms, Toasted House Made Brioche, Meredith Feta & Watercress

Charred Corn, Haloumi & Zucchini Fritters with Guacamole & House Smoked SalmonCharred Corn & Zucchini Fritter with Haloumi, Guacamole & House Smoked Salmon

One Stone - Eggs, Mushrooms, Avocado, Spinach, Haloumi, House Smoked Corn and Tomato RelishOne Stone: Eggs, Mushrooms, Avocado, Spinach, Haloumi, House Smoked Corn & Tomato Relish

Two Birds One Stone is a newly opened cafe brought to you by the owners of Three Bags Full (in Abbotsford) and Liar Liar (in Hawthorn) – Nathan Toleman, Ben Clarke and Diamond Rozakeas – and is located in Claremount Street in South Yarra. This cafe it seems is always buzzing with activity and on the Sunday morning it was no different. We were after a table of three and were told that there would be about a 20 minute wait.

We were seated at the communal table – which can sit up to 20 people around the rectangular wooden table. This is the centre piece of the cafe and is surrounded by a few other table of twos, as well as three private booths which sit up to 6 people. The cafe decor is one of modern appearance – lots of light wooden features as well as tiled walls and suspended lighting together with bare light bulbs. Around the place is a selection of wild flowers which adds bursts of colour amongst a white backdrop.

In charge of the menu is head chef David Finlayson (ex Press Club) – where there are two sections – Breakfast and Lunch – although both are served all day. Breakfast has the typical dishes of muesli, toast and eggs – but various dishes have ingredients that you don’t usually find together. There is french toast with twice cooked marmalade, oranges and vanilla mousse, there is also banana bread with soured dates. Lunch consists of mainly different types of sandwiches, pides and a corn fritter dish.

I ordered the One Stone dish which comprises of Eggs, Mushrooms, Avocado, Spinach, Haloumi, House Smoked Corn & Tomato Relish. All the things that I love for breakkie – the only addition was the House Smoked Corn which I have never had in “big breakfast” type of dish. One of the poached eggs were cooked perfectly and was gooey and runny, however the other one wasn’t to this level and was somewhat over cooked. I did enjoy the addition of the corn to the meal, but overall, the other elements were pretty average and nothing to get too excited about. My friend G ordered the Corn and Zucchini fritters which were delightful. The Haloumi was used to hold these ingredients in the fritter together and brought the whole dish together, teamed together with the salmon and avacado – it really was a great dish! B ordered the mushroom dish which was quite good as well. The mushrooms were of great quality and were juicy and fresh and the feta added to this dish really complimented it. I should have stuck to my usual fave and ordered the mushroom dish =p

Coffee is great here too and is from Five Senses. I love the Tiffany blue saucers that the cups come on as well. The coffee is strong but delicate and creamy – just the way I like it. There is also some fine coffee art done too. Overall this place is buzzing with activity and has lines of people waiting with good reason. Some of their dishes can be a bit hit and miss, but I definitely want to come back and try their French Toast or Banana Bread. There are also house made pastries on offer at the coffee bar for the sweeter side of things.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast and Lunch menu at http://www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au/menu/july-2012.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Buzzing and Energized
Standout Dish: Charred Corn & Zucchini Fritter with Haloumi, Guacamole & House Smoked Salmon
Service: Friendly and Happy
Online Booking: No – suggest that you go either really early or after 12:30pm to easily score yourself a table, otherwise there is generally a 15-20 minute wait – sometimes shorter.
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au/
12 Claremount St, South Yarra
Tel No: 9827 1228

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7am to 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am to 4pm

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Coda – European inspired food with Asian Influences

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I have previously been to Coda when it first opened and loved it. I remember the delicious crab dish which was quite decently sized and packed with flavour. This time around I was meeting a friend for lunch on a Friday just before the Christmas break. We were quite late in wanting a booking and was told that the place was booked out, however there would still be seating at the bar area available where you can order from their full menu. My friend J got there before 12pm to secure us a spot at the bar.

Coda is part owned by chef Adam D’Sylva alongside Kate Calder (ex-Taxi) and Mykal Bartholomew (ex-MoVida). Pastry chef Rebecca Creighton, (ex Pearl and Taxi), takes over for “The Sweet Stuff” and for the expertise in Wine it is the responsibility of Sommelier Travis Howe (ex-Taxi).

Coda was once a underground warehouse space, and has been renovated to fit into Melbourne laneways perfectly. The place has been renovated in tones of black and aluminium and is lit up by the massive bare windows and has a relaxing and chic atmosphere. The restaurant is split into two sections, the formal seating area and the seating at the bar. From the bar, you can look through to the kitchen as the chefs prepare your meals thru a mesh screen. An interesting feature are the light fittings ( I do seem to love interesting light decor) – at Coda they are metal meshing in the shape of a birdcage around a simple exposed lightbulb. It adds to the underground, quirky feel of the place.

The menu is split into 4 sections – Smaller Dishes (of which there are 19 different dishes to select from!), Larger Dishes (5 to choose from), Sides and of course The Sweet Stuff (Dessert!!) and encompasses mainly Asian style dishes, with a dash of European dishes strewn around the menu. J and I decided to order a couple of the smaller dishes and share these between us. We ordered  the following:
Fremantle Octopus, Green Mango and Cucumber Salad with Nahm Jim, Peanuts and Crispy Anchovies,
Spanner Crab, Galangal, Roasted Chilli and Lime Betel Leaf,
Sugar Cane Prawn with Sweet Chilli Sauce
Yellow Fin Tuna, Daikon, Green Apple Salad with Pinenuts, Ponzu and Fresh Wasabi.

We started off with the Spanner Crab in Betel Leaf which we were told to use our hands to eat – simply wrap the Betel leaf around the contents and eat away. There was also additional grapefruit pieces which added for an extra zang and burst of flavour (literally), together with the crab and chilli it was a memorable dish. We then had the Yellow Fin Tuna salad – the Tuna was cooked beautifully and had a really nice texture and mixed with the apple made for a really fresh tasting salad. Next we got the Sugar Cane Prawns and we were told to bite on the sugar cane to get the sugary goodness. This was a good looking and fun,but messy dish to eat. Inside the white squiggly noodle casing was prawn covered in ginger, coriander and lemongrass – it was flavoursome central! Definitely one of my favourite dishes. We ended the savoury part of the meal with the Octopus Salad (which I actually preferred over the other salad. J however liked the Yellow Fin Tuna Salad). I loved the freshness and sweetness that the green mango brought to the dish along with the crunch of peanuts and anchovies.

To end the meal we had to try “The Sweet Stuff”. We settled on the Toasted Meringue, Vanilla Chiffon Cake, Passionfruit Curd, Coconut and Mango Sorbet. We asked our friendly waitress what this dessert was about and when it came out it looked like exactly what she had described. Have a look for the pic of this dessert above – it was a spectacular looking dish! You almost weren’t sure where to start eating. The Sorbet was beautifully made and was fresh and packed with flavour and very smooth! The Chiffon Cake was not as soft as I thought it would have been, but this somewhat added texture together with the smoothness of the sorbet and the passionfruit curd. Eating all the different parts together was like a sweet heaven party in your mouth. It sure is one not only good looking dish but great tasting as well.

Coda is a funky restaurant that is good for any occasion – be it casual or formal. The staff are experienced and enthusiastic and if you ask them anything about the menu they go that extra mile to explain things to you. You can tell why this place is popular and books out quite fast. In short the food is great and there is a huge variety of dishes to choose one – it would be quite hard to not find at least one dish you wouldn’t enjoy, the venue is enticing and has a sense of fun and the staff welcoming. Be sure to try this place out!

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – Selection of dishes from Smaller, Larger, Sides and Desserts – http://www.codarestaurant.com.au/pdf/coda_menu.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Urban, Chic, Funky and Fun – Great for all occasions!
Standout Dish: Sugar Cane Prawns and any of their Desserts
Service: Fantastic, Enthusiastic and Knowledgeable. Very friendly as well!
Online Booking: No, Call them to make a reservation or for no bookings there is seating around the Bar
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.codarestaurant.com.au/
Basement
141 Flinders Lane (Cnr Oliver Lane)
Melbourne
Tel No: 9650 3155

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
Lunch: 12pm to 3pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10:30pm

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