This is a page in the works and will be for real-time updates and comments as I am out and about at a restaurant – grazing!
Pawpets is a play on the word Snippets – Paw as in Panda Paw =p – and will show information such as the dish, ingredients and initial reactions to the food. As well as a short summary about the vibe and feel of the restaurant and what the menu has in store if you should choose to come here.
Auction Rooms –Banana & Walnut Load with Espresso Mascarpone, Banana Yoghurt and Coffee Crumb
Auction Rooms has year after year won cafe of the year and is located in a converted warehouse on Errol St in North Melbourne. Despite being quite large and having the ability to seat a varying number of groups – if you don’t come early enough you will find yourself having to put your name on the list and wait until a table becomes available. Yep – it is simply that popular! My friend had unfortunately cancelled due to sickness and so I found myself only needing only a table for 1. There are different areas of seating – both inside and outside. The vibe is very much keeping with the warehouse theme – large lights hanging, very open and spacious which gives off a very chilled out and welcoming feel. The chatter of the patrons brings the place to life along with the Barista pumping out fresh coffee from Small Batch Roasting Company. The staff are friendly and are helpful especially if you have any food allergies. The menu has an all day breakfast together with a lunch menu – and include dishes such as the Breakfast Board (of grilled chorizo, ocean trout croquette, feta, avocado puree, a soft-boiled egg with rye soldiers and a black or white iced coffee), Chilaquiles (chee/lah/KEE/lehs) – toasted corn tortillas, salsa roja, cheese curd, black beans and a fried egg, Pan-seared rockling on soft omelette with spinach puree, green tomato salsa and house rye – just ot name a few dishes. As you can see this menu is one with a real difference and each dish sounds as enticing as the next – believe me you will need a bit of time to decide what you want to eat.
The Banana & Walnut Bread – was soft, fresh and delicious paired with the sweetness of the banana yoghurt and the bitterness of the espresso mascarpone worked really well. It is quite a filling dish and I struggled to finish it so took half the dish home and enjoyed it later on! I must admit I have previously been to Auction Rooms and really did not see the appeal and why they won Cafe of the Year, however upon return I now understand how they claimed the award. Check them out!
Monday – Friday: 7:00am – 5:oopm
Saturday & Sunday: 7:30am – 5:30pm
(Bookings available for groups more than 8 Monday to Friday only)
Botica – Pear and Vanilla with Berry Almond Frosting and a Latte
Botica takes its name from the Spanish word “Botica” meaning: Antique Chemist, where all sorts of elixirs were prepared to promote health and vitality. The use of limited space is brilliant here – a feature 360° service counter together with the herringbone parquetry fuses well the brick wall and brass elements creating a welcoming, relaxing and charming area for patrons to enjoy a latte, cake or a meal.
Botica roasts its own single origin right here in Melbourne and the flavours work wonderfully well. My latte was right on point – nutty, flavoursome and rich – delicious! Definitely will be back for coffee whenever I head into the city. There are delicious cakes, muffins and slices available in the glass cabinets in plain view that entice your taste buds from the moment you approach Botica. They also serve a breakfast and lunch menu (which can be found at http://www.boticacafe.com.au/#) that compromise of dishes such as Spanish Style Chorizo and Bean Cassoulet with a Fried Egg, Smoked Paprika & Toast, French Toast with Caramelised Banana & Raspberries and finished with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon Sugar and Empandas with a Side Salad and House made Sweet Capsicum Relish.
Shop LG/30 Emporium Melbourne
287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Tel No: 8609 8163
Saturday to Tuesday: 9:00am-4:00pm
Thursday & Friday: 9:00am-9:00pm
The Broadsheet Restaurant is a popup all-day diner serving breakfast through to dinner and drinks into the night – located in Fitzroy. It showcases Melbourne’s world-leading chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders and Baristas from a range of the top restaurants and cafes across Melbourne including – Top Paddock, The Kettle Black, Auction Rooms, Tivoli Road Bakery, Five Points Deli, Grain Store, Coda, TONKA, Anada, The Town Mouse, The Estelle, Huxtable, Pierre Roelofs, Philippa Sibley, Monsieur Truffe and Pidapipo.
The collaborative approach then moves onto the look and feel of the place with a host of the best around Melbourne helping to create laid back, welcoming and open space.
The Broadsheet Restaurant will run until Sunday August 2. It will also host special events, including intimate chef dinners.
Cafe Lafayette – There’s a Cat in my Coffee!
Café Lafayette is located on Beach Road in Port Melbourne – and of course overlooks the beach.
Coffee is by Five Senses and has a cuisine of Asian Fusion. The menu is uniquely interesting an encompasses a variety of dishes that you wouldn’t expect to see on a menu – Baked Mushrooms stuffed with prawn, scallop, potato and three cheeses is a feature on their Breakfast menu. The Lunch menu consists of dishes such as Steamed Rockling, Roasted Duck and Asian Tapas dishses which include a selection of dumplings.
Created by ex-Attica and Vue de Monde chefs it really does take you through a culinary journey. The coffee menu is changes seasonally in order to source the freshest single origins from different regions. And the best part – is that the coffee can come in varying patterns – from a cat, rabbit, dog! As you can see from the picture I opted for a cat but definitely will be back to try out the other animals!
I love love love the way the café is decorated – light, bright, breezy to fit perfectly with its surrounds. The colours are some of my favourite – aqua, light blue and grey – with the hexagon shape being a key feature in the design –the stools have hexagonal seat tops. There is a mix of wooden round tables, a long bench in the middle of the café and of course seating all around the venue to enjoy that blissful view of the ocean.
I need to head back ASAP to try out the scrumptious sounding food!
55 Beach Road, Port Melbourne
Tel No: 9078 9808
Monday to Sunday: 6:30am – 9:00pm
Chokolait (originally known as “The Chokolait Hub”) was established in June 2007 and owned by Ross and Marianna Harvery with the simple philosophy to make and serve extraordingary chocolates, the very best chocolate beverages and hand-made desserts that blew the mind of their patrons.
Chokolait is definitely a store not only for chocolate lovers but for anyone and everyone that loves desserts. They use only Genuine Belgian Courveture chocolate and sourcing fresh ingredients daily from Queen Victoria Market (at 6am!!) each and every day in order to deliver a premium quality product.
It isn’t just about a fantastic product – but the whole experience here at Chokolait – which includes exceptional customer service.
The venue is decked on as a mini chocolate box – with dark wooden furniture and table seating. The main counter houses the selection of chocolates (over 40 hand made varieties), ice creams, cakes and desserts on offer and how they would come plated out to you. Chokolait also have a selection of take-home chocolate boxes, which make an excellent gift, and are presented in exclusive, custom-made boxes (which are designed to be reused).
It was my first time here – so I decided to try out their Hot Chokolait with Milk Chocolate (it also comes in Classic Dark, Chilli, Cinnamon, White, Jaffa, Mocha and Affogato). “A” had been there before and loved the Chokolait Pavlova – which also happens to be Chokolait’s signature dish – so we decided to get that and share.
Harvey mentions that there was a testing period to get the Pavlova just right as establishing how to integrate the chocolate into Pavlova was no easy feat – it actually contains less sugar than regular Pavlovas.
The Pavlova comes beautifully presented – topped with fresh cream and strawberries, with dollops of cream and passionfruit couli served to the side alongside raspberries and strawberries. The Pavlova is delicious – soft, cloud like and the perfect amount of sweetness. The serving size is quite generous as well – I certinaly couldn’t finish a piece on my own! Other desserts include Chokolait Mousse, Chokolait Mousse Cake, Chokolait Mud Cake and Chokolait Fondue just to name a few.
Emporium Melbourne – Level Three
287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Tel No: 9662 4235
Monday to Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Thursday & Friday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Friends of Mine – Toasted Banana Bread w/ Maple Syrup Mascarpone, Fresh Banana, Berry Compote + Pistachio
Grand Trailer Park Taverna – Cynthia Benson
Grand Trailer Park Taverna is located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD (where Happy Palace restaurant used to be) – on Bourke Street. From the street when you look up you can see the string of lights that are illuminating the place. You climb up the stairs from street level – which prepares to be transported to an American style trailer park. You are greeted by two caravans, two Winnebago motorhomes and an array of picnic tables together with the coloured fairy lights – creating an inside outside feel. Totally awesome! You can also sit outside on the balcony which is brightly coloured and has wooden high tables for you to enjoy your meal.
The concept comes to you by John Lefers (Big Dog Creative, East 9th Brewing Co) together with food partner Dani Zeini (known for the famous burger at Dandenong Pavillion).
There are 8 variations of burgers which include a vegetarian option of a mushroom burger. You can choose from either a white bun or brioche, Swiss or American cheese, Mustard or Truffled Cayenne Mayo. The burgers are named after various pop culture characters from the 1980s to now – such as Ivan Drago (the bad guy from Rocky IV), Cynthia Benson and Francis Underwood (of House of Cards fame)
Together with the burgers you can choose from Mac & Cheese, Croquettes, Waffles, Banana Splits, Sherbet Ice Cream – AND NUTELLA DONUTS (which are all the craze right now) – so you definitely need to come here on a day where you haven’t eaten anything at all.
Just as there is a selection with the food – drinks have the same variety – with a list of alcoholic milkshakes, classic American cocktails – as well as the usual beers, wines and soft drinks.
I ordered the Cynthia Benson – Mushroom Patty, American Cheddar Cheese, Tomato, Butter Lettuce, Special Burger Sauce and American Mustard on a lightly toasted Brioche Bun. I thoroughly enjoyed this burger and it is up there with my favourite Mushroom Burgers! The mushroom was juicy and tender while being slathered in special burger sauce which worked especially well with the mustard. Delicious!
Next time I come here I am definitely not eating beforehand – their dessert menu sounds delectable – Waffle Stack – Fresh house made waffles filled with Nutella Parfait, freshly Whipped Cream, Fresh Strawberries and drizzled with Nutella Sauce! How could you refuse that??
87 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Tel No: 9972 3699
Tuesday to Saturday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Hapsburg Empire – Brioche Poached Apple and Berry
Hapsburg Empire is located on the corner of Bridport and Montague Street in Albert Park – with ample seating at the front of the venue for those lovely sunny Melbourne days. Inside there is quite a retro feel to it – from the colourful old school cupboards housing beautiful crockery to the pink ceilings and walls. There is a large communal wooden table near the front counter – which takes up the length of the venue and houses food – fresh rolls, cakes, baked goods and more! I love the tiles on the front counter which almost gives a Moroccan feel to the venue. The service is friendly and the vibe is warm, cosy and welcoming.
I was on my way between jobs so decided to stop in here for a coffee and a sweet item – as the picture shows I had a Brioche Poached Apple & Berry. The coffee really did hit the spot – strong, full bodied with great nutty flavours. The Brioche wasn’t as fresh as I thought it would be – although to be fair I did visit around 3pm – but was nonetheless delicious and punchy. I loved the mix of apple and berries together. Their food menu certainly did look interesting and I do want head back and try it out – along with some of those eye catching sweet / baked treats on display!
23 Bridport St, Albert Park
Tel No: 9686 8226
LOOK OUT FOR A FULL POST COMING SOON TO GRAZING PANDA! STAY TUNED!
A selection of dishes from Magic Mountain Saloon
Blk Water from Nutrition Bar
As I have mentioned a few times on my blog – healthy eating is all the rage at the moment – so the introduction of Nutrition Bar could not be more perfectly timed. There are currently three branches – Windsor, Richmond and St Kilda – co-owned by Eli Censor together with her mum – serving up Green Smoothies, Protein Shakes, Acai Bowls, To Go Meals and Pressed Juices.
I visit the St Kilda branch which has a juice bar vibe to it – decked out with seating both inside and outside. The main focus is on takeaway meals with the juice and smoothie menu greets you as you enter the store – there is a huge selection with any supplement being able to be added. There is a display fridge which houses sweet treats, a variety of salads, take away meals and drinks. The Acai (South American berry that has been associated with many health and weight loss benefits) bowl appears to be the most interesting dish – with the berries blended with your choice of liquids, topped with fruits and super foods. Dessert isn’t forgotten – a mix of nuts, cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla protein balls, raw carrots cakes, lemon slices and cacao cheesecakes are on rotate.
On my visit I was intrigued by the blk water – alkaline fulvic trace mineral infused water. It was quite strange drinking black coloured water but having it taste pretty much exactly as water does. Very interesting. I also had the Quinoa, Turmeric & Cauliflower salad – which was Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Vegan. The serving size is very generous and I couldn’t finish this in one sitting. The flavours were actually really delicious and I loved hint of heat to it – complete with cherry tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, olive oil, basil, cumin, chipotle, thyme and Himalayan Pink Salt.
Shop 8: 417 St Kilda Road, St Kilda
Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 4:00pm
For other location addresses and opening times visit – http://www.nutritionbar.com.au/#!contactlocations/cw1c
Operator 25 – Ginger & Date Bread with Caramelised Banana Mascaprone, Poemgranate Sauce and Salted Milk Crumb
Sister Soul – The Bee’s Knees – Dr Martys Crumpets, Honeyed Ricotta, Rhubarb & Berry Compote Topped with Bee Pollen and Manuka Honey
Sister of Soul is a vegetarian / vegan café right in the heart of St Kilda that is open from breakfast right through to dinner. It was the day of my Wedding and needed to kick start the day with a good meal – so we decided to check this place out! I love the fit out of the venue – raw timber chairs and tables coupled with exposed brickwork and light bulbs that drop from the ceiling covered with a wicker basket that acts as a lamp shade. The vibe was welcoming and warm – which matched the service perfectly – super friendly and inviting!
The menu is full of vegetarian / vegan dishes that include an array of dishes that will have you wishing that you could sample a bit of each dish. Their breakfast menu runs until 3pm with the rest of the menu – starters, mains, salads and desserts starting from 12pm. There is really a little bit of everything on the menu – from Japanese (White Miso Soup, Age Dashi Tofu), Korean (Kim Chi and Green Tea Soba Noodle Salad), Indian (Red Lentil Dahl), Vietnamese (Viet Spring Rolls) to Italian (Rawsagna, Pumpkin & Sage Raviloli), Mexican (Big Burrito, Taco Trio) and even a burger. Dessert includes Not So Rocky Road – house made vegan marshmallows, cherry jelly, fresh strawberries, dark chocolate ganache with chocolate dirt and sprinkled with toasted almonds and coconut – yumm!
I ordered a latte to start – which was exactly what I needed to wake me up for the day! It had the right amount of milk to complement the full bodied, nutty and fruity flavours of the coffee. For food I decided to go with the The Bee’s Knees – Dr Martys Crumpets, Honeyed Ricotta, Rhubarb & Berry Compote Topped with Bee Pollen and Manuka Honey. The crumpets were fresh and soft – the honeyed ricotta and berry combination worked well together and had the right amount of sweetness and sourness. I have never had bee pollen before so was interested to see what it was.
The menu is so diverse – that you almost forget that it is all vegetarian! Definitely heading back to try out their dinner menu!
73 Acland Street, St Kilda
Tel No: 9593 8550
Monday to Sunday: 7:30am to Late
Square & Compass – Ginger & Rhubarb Waffle, Vanilla Creme, Ginger Snaps and Toasted Coconut
The Standing Room – Strawberry & Pistachio Friand and a Latte
I have heard about the Standing Room located at Melbourne University and always wanted to go –however it was always too far away from work- and unfortunately when I was a student there weren’t any cool cafes!! So when I found out a branch was opening in the Royal Arcade (locate djust off Elizabeth Street) I couldn’t wait to check it out.
As the name suggests, Standing Room is not about sitting down for a few hours – but about getting a great tasting coffee in a short amount of time with a take away focus. The fit-out keeps with the heritage listed arcade – with the combination of soft grey hues, natural timber and square white tiles lining the feature wall. A large NOW BREWING luminous sign glows from behind the Synesso machine which pumps out 5 Senses’ Dark House Blend plus amonthly single-origin batch brew, as well as a selection of tea from T2. There are also a selection of delectable cakes (from Hapsburg Empire (refer just above to my post about them), Butterbing cookies and crossiants from Noisette – always having gluten-free options on offer.
I ordered a Latte together with a Strawberry & Pistachio Friand. The staff are friendly and always have a smile. The latte was delicious – strong and rich with the fruity and caramel tones coming vibrantly through. The Strawberry & Pistachio Friand was delicious – the sourness from the strawberry worked well with the soft cake and crunch of the pistachio.
Shop 48: 355 Bourke St, Melbourne
Monday to Friday: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Tom, Dick, Harry – Chia Pudding & Fresh Seasonal Fruit and a Takeaway Latte
Tom Dick & Harry café is located on bustling Toorak Road and opened by Salvatore Venneri. It has a blink and you’ll miss it type of location – nestled amongst the larger stores on Toorak Road – however if you look out for the distinctive French bulldog sign board together with the sleek wooden bench seating out the front you are in the right place.
Tom Dick & Harry is divided into three sections – a window for takeaway coffee, a salad bar as well as a seated service area for made to order food. Head chef Anna Letho creates healthy vegetarian salads (customers can add a protein to it – miso salmon or poached chick) all whilst keeping the flavour in check. The vibe is very trendy and fun with service being top notch!
The all-day breakfast menu offers a DIY option, which allows you to customise your eggs, toast, and extras (Bacon, Hollandaise, Danish Feta, Spinach, Avocado and Potato Rosti – just to name a few). There are additionally a few other ready made dishes for you to choose from, as well as a cabinet with things like Breakfast Cups (Chia Pudding, Bircher, Toasted Muesli), Breakfast Rolls, Wraps and the Healthy Salads (which change daily!).
I didn’t have time to sit in and order a dish so I ordered a take away latte – which was served in a really cute coffee coffee which was stamped with the aforementioned French bulldog. Coffee is from Illy and every takeaway coffee is served with a piece of home-made – soft, crumbly & scrumptious!
I also ordered a Chia Pudding with Fresh Seasonal Fruit – which was bursting with flavour from all the fruit that was bundled in.
Monday to Friday: 7:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Woody P – Chocolate & Guanduja Budino, Creme Fraiche, Sour Cherry Ice Cream
Woody P – Peaches & Cream Mocktail