Switchboard Cafe – The Cutest Retro Cafe Ever!

panda 4 rating

Switchboard Cafe

Switchboard Cafe

The Hole in the Wall Cafe

The Hole in the Wall Cafe

Latte at Switchboard Cafe

Latte at Switchboard Cafe

I was meeting C for a catch-up the other day and was looking for a coffee place located somewhere near City Square in the Melbourne CBD. C suggested Switchboard Café which I hadn’t heard of before and boy am I glad she introduced me to this quaint and cute little place.

Switchboard Café is located in a somewhat drafty arcade laneway on the ground floor of the Manchester Unity Building – located on the corner of Collins and Swanston street. It literally is what you would call a hole in the wall type of café – fitted out in a Retro style feel complete with green and white floral wallpaper and brass framed glass windows. There is the world’s smallest “living area” glass box where patrons can sit inside and avoid the cool drafts that flow through – that can seat about 7 to 8 people max (Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of this). Literally across from this hole is another hole in the wall – which used to be the building’s old switchboard cupboard (hence the name) where the coffees are made.

I ordered a latte to have in and took my seat in the tiniest living area while waiting for C. It almost felt like being down the rabbit hole on the set of an Alice in Wonderland movie! The latte was absolutely perfect – full bodied with a great nutty after taste. I would definitely recommend this place for a good hit of caffeine when you feel the need – or for anytime for that matter.

I didn’t get to try out their breakfast or lunch range – but C did tell me that it was really great tasting food. Think warm soup, toasties, baguettes (Smoked Salmon) and bagels – you can choose from melted Haloumi, Tomato and Avocado just to name a few. For breakfast there is also Bircher Muesli or Fruit Toast available.

Definitely go and check out Switchboard Café – especially if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy day at work! Next on the list for me is to come and try out their food!

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – A choice of soups, toasties, baguettes and bagels
Atmosphere / Ambience: Retro, Unique and Fun!
Service: Friendly!
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
Ground Floor
Manchester Unity Building
220 Collins Street, Melbourne

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 3:00pm

Switchboard Cafe on Urbanspoon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Switchboard-Cafe/158990604124405?ref=ts&fref=ts
Twitter: @switchboardcafe
Instagram: switchboardcafe

Long Shot – Superb Coffee & Delicious Sweet Treats

panda 4.5 rating

Long Shot Café is located in the newly opened Collins Square located in Docklands. The Walker Evans Baker Restaurant Group (Lang Walker, Pete Evans, Gavin Baker) together with Executive Pastry Chef Shaun Quade (Quay in Sydney, Biota in Bowral, Urbane in Brisbane), and Jo Barrett (MoVida) are responsible for this green and white themed cafe.  Joshua Willis (previously of Proud Mary) is Head Barista, pumping out the St Ali coffee for both filter and espresso coffees.

Long Shot makes use of the limited space it has really well. It is designed by a collaborative design team – Emily Pedersen of Walker Corporation, Anna Drummond and Trish Turner of Colab Design Studio. There are black and white checkered floors, with timber tables and window seating complete with tiny wooden stools. The centrepiece would have to the overhanging green and white light shades which are reminiscent of blooming flowers. It feels like the perfect setup for a afternoon tea party. There is seating both inside as described, as well as outside – here there are high bench tables, as well as some lower tables with cushioned seating. There is a grab-and-go window for patrons that are in a hurry. The atmosphere is casual, relaxed and has that feeling that makes you want to come back again and again.

As you enter you are greeted by the barista station to the right and the impressive cabinet filled with sweet treats and savoury delights – think baked pastries, gourmet sandwiches, freshly made salads. All the baked good are made in house, courtesy of renowned pastry chef Shaun Quade and Jo Barrett. There are also bottled fermented sodas, flavoured milks (flavours such as white chocolate and macadamia, strawberry) in cute pint sized bottles that can be bought. Each day there is a new sweet treat available and if you follow them on instagram (long__shot) they post up what is available for the day mostly – these can include things like their take on a classic éclair, a decadent strawberry and pistachio cake, or a frangipane tart. They also serve Iced Coffees and teas from Byron Bay leaf teas.
For those who want something other than coffee, Long Shot also has a single tap stocking crisp German Wheat beer as well as a variety of wines by the glass.

The coffee is from St Ali and doesn’t need to be stated for it to be known that it was great tasting coffee. I ordered a latte which had a strong, nuttiness to it. The creamy aftertaste added a nice finishing touch.

Whenever I go there to get a coffee – be it sit in or take away – I am always drawn into getting a sweet treat. I will just mention a few that I have tasted.

The Chocolate and Coffee Cake topped with Meringue – was mind blowing! The combination of chocolate and coffee in liquid form would be a mocha – but to have it in a solid form was amazing. There was a richness thanks to the robust coffee – when combined with the bitter yet sweet chocolately goodness – the result was one of brilliance. The meringue was crunchy on the outside, and gooey on the inside and added a different type of sugary sweetness to complete the dish.

I have also tried the Chia Pudding with Berries and Almonds. The Chia Pudding was fresh and had bursts of flavour – the addition of the berries added a sweetness and tang that was needed to spruce up the normally plain tasting chia. I really enjoyed eating this treat – and it being considered healthy was a double upside.

Long Shot’s take on the typical chocolate brownie was interesting as well – it comes in a ball shape covered with chocolate, coconut and almond flakes. It was a bit tough initially to crack into – you need to use two hands – one to hold the ball in place and the other to attack with your spoon. The chocolate brownie was dense, rich and oh so yum! The coconut and almonds bits on the outside broke up the sweetness which was good. This is definitely one for the chocolate lovers!

Aside from the coffee – what I also enjoyed are their flavoured milks – the flavour that I had was the white chocolate and macadamia. I loved the texture of this “milk smoothie” – it was coarse due to the crushed macadamias. The flavour combination of the nuts and the white chocolate was really tasty and would be one that I recommend trying – the sweetness was just right! I am looking forward to sampling the other flavours that they have.

Long Shot is a great addition to the Docklands area – and is the place that I go to most afternoons to get my sweet hit when it gets around to 3:30itis as I work in the area. It is bringing great coffee to all the office workers in this area, as well as some great tasting house made food and sweet treats, The atmosphere is welcoming and the coffee feels like you are receiving a warm hug.

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Selection of sweet treats such as chocolate brownies, chocolate eclairs and more, as well a selection of pastries, baguettes and fresh salads. Teas from Byron Bay Leaf Teas, Ice Coffee, Fermented Sodas, Flavoured Milk Smoothies, Tap Beer, Wine – Refer to http://long-shot.com.au/menu/ You can follow them on Instagram (long__shot) to get updates of what their latest foodie treats are
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual, Fun, Relaxed and has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it
Service: Friendly
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://long-shot.com.au/
727 Collins Street, Docklands
Tel No: 9252 7979

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7am – 5pm

Long Shot on Urbanspoon

De Mad Hatter – Breakkie Invite with Alice

panda 4 rating

halal symbol
I had the privilege along with a host of other bloggers such as Brunch Addict, The World Loves Melbourne and Forksake to attend a breakfast at De Mad Hatter. Having worked in the Docklands area for the last couple of years I had previously been to De Mad Hatter for many our team lunches, as well as for coffee and ice coffees.

You can refer to my previous blog post for De Mad Hatter at https://thegrazingpanda.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/de-mad-hatter-alice-in-wonderland-style/

De Mad Hatter is located at the bottom of the recently opened Collins Square and is owned by the same people as Beanstalk Café – located just up the road from De Mad Hatter. De Mad Hatter’s low ceilings were the inspiration behind the Alice in Wonderland theme carried out throughout the venue and the menu. They change their menu twice a year according to the varying seasons.

As we were seated at our tables – the menu was laid out as well as the first dish for our breakfast which was the House Made Bircher Muesli topped with Yoghurt and Fresh Fruit. The muesli was presented in a glass- so you could see the layers of the different ingredients. The flavour was refreshing and the textures worked well together

Coffee is sourced from Degani and De Mad Hatter uses a flavour that is only exclusive to them – I ordered a Latte – which was full bodied, nutty and strong.

For the main dish selection of our breakfast – we got a choice of Homemade Pancakes topped with Fruit Compote and Ice Cream, Alice’s Brunch (Corn Fritters, Tomato, Grilled Bacon, Avocado & House made Tomato Chutney), Prosciutto and Asparagus Bruschetta (with Rocket, Olive Oil, Poached Egg and Parmesan Flakes) or the DMH Signature (which was Fried Egg, Chorizo, Oven Baked Cheesy Tortilla and toped with fresh Tomato and Bean Salsa).

Having a love of fritters – I of course selected the Fritters dish sans the grilled bacon. The dish came out with the fritters – there were around 4-5 fritters – on the base topped with the tomato, rocket and finally the avocado. The fritters were deep fried and as a result were crunchy on the outside. The inside was soft and cushion like, with the addition of the corn to create the juiciness. As a whole the dish was good but not great – I felt that the fritters could have been a bit bigger in size, therefore having a bit more of a filling to them. The house made tomato chutney was quite tasty and had a mix of sweetness and smokiness to it.

It was a great opportunity to not only meet my fellow food bloggers, but a chance to try out their breakfast menu, as a pose to their lunch menu which I have done many times. De Mad Hatter has a great vibe and serves good tasting coffee and food – if you are in the area check them out. Who knows maybe you will find stumble upon Alice herself or even the White Rabbit.

Also a point for all my Muslim readers – their Chicken is Halal. Their Chicken Parmigiana’s are ridiculously large and taste amazing. There are around 6 different types to choose from.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – A la Carte as well as food served in Bain Marie’s, as well as a selection of salads, foccacias, baguettes etc.
Fullness: 90%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Quirky and fun
Online Booking: No – you are best to book a table for lunch if you have more than 4 people
Restaurant Details and Location:
https://www.facebook.com/d3madhatt3r
797 Collins St, Docklands
Tel No: 9620 2226

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 6am – 5pm

De Mad Hatter on Urbanspoon

Alice Nivens – Baked Goodness!

panda 4 rating

Alice Nivens is tucked away in the Port Phillip Arcade and is known for its quirky Alice in Wonderland theme – just have a look at the colourful artwork which shows a picture of Alice and the White Rabbit. Alice Nivens is known for their baked goodies – and bake fresh every day!

The sweets range from cupcakes to brownies to slices. On the day I visit there is a Rosewater and Strawberry whoopie pie, Alice’s caramel slice, Lemon and Pistachio Slice, Cake pops, muffins and home made muesli.

For lunchtimes – there are also a range of sandwiches that can be made, with various toppings such as smoked chicken, turkey or the vegetarian option of roasted pumpkin, hummus and olives.

I couldn’t look past the chocolate brownie – sweetly topped icing sugar in the shape of a rabbit – tres cool! To go with this sweet treat – I ordered a latte. Coffee is from Small Batch and is truly delicious. The brownie was rich, intense and I loved the harder top layer. The combination of this layer with the smooth chocolate underneath was great.

You can follow Alice Nivens on Instagram and Twitter (@AliceNivensCafe) to find out what their daily creations of sweet are!

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Cakes and Sandwiches – refer to pics above
Atmosphere / Ambience: Quirky, fun and great for a tea party
Service: Friendly
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://alicenivenscafe.com/
Shop 13
Port Phillip Arcade
228 Flinders St,
Melbourne

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED

Alice Nivens on Urbanspoon

 

Knock Knock – Who’s There?

Knock Knock is a newly opened cafe in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Located on the corner of Queen St and Little Bourke Street – you cannot miss this cute shabby-chic colourful cafe. You walk in and you feel like you have been transported into a completely different world – you are surrounded by colourful tables, little cubby houses which have tables hidden inside and completed with fake grass.

Inside has old school decor, such as mismatched chairs and tables which give a funky edgy feel. Coffees are creamy and have a rich nutty flavour – soo soo delicious. There is olden day style sugar bowls complete with little antique teaspoons which make you feel like you are at your very own tea party. A doily completes the look.

Knock Knock is open daily for Breakfast and Lunch as well as for Late night / After Work drinks on Friday. Definitely check this place out – I know I will be back to try out their food!

Restaurant Details and Location:
3/200 Queen St, Melbourne
(Corner Queen St and Little Bourke St)
Tel No: 9939 4415

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday: 8:30am to 4pm
Friday: Open till Late for Drinks

Knock Knock on Urbanspoon

De Mad Hatter – Alice in Wonderland Style

Menu:
De Mad Hatter Menu

De Mad Hatter is a newly opened cafe in the Docklands area and is brought to you by the owners of Beanstalk Cafe (which is also located at Docklands, a 3 minute walk from De Mad Hatter in fact). De Mad Hatter has a Alice in Wonderland theme, from the name down to the decor. There is a bird cage which has a massive key encased inside to the upside down signs and of course the Rabbit’s timepiece.

The menu has mushrooms and the timepiece and interesting sayings on it, as well as a well put together food under the themed categories – We’re all with chips here – which are the burgers (there are 4 different burgers), A Mad Parma Party which consists of 6 different Parma’s including a Gluten Free option, “Who stole my sald?” Said the Queen of hearts – where three options of salads are available and finally Down the Risotto Mole – which has 5 different risottos to choose from.

I ordered the Pasta dish  which was Ricotta and Spinach Tortellini in Napoli Cream Sauce. The pasta was good, but wasn’t house made and the flavours of the dish were fresh and delicious. The second time around I ordered the Three Mushroom Risotto with Rocket and Parmesan. The dish was indeed full of mushrooms (sometimes when a dish says it contains a particular ingredient, it can sometimes be a scarce amount), and the serving was quite generous. The risotto was cooked perfectly, the rice was just the right texture and the flavours worked. I am a huge fan of mushrooms, but there was one type in there that I didn’t quite like. I also tasted some of my friends dish – Black Ink Risotto tossed with Seafood – and that too was packed with flavour together with a tangy taste. The majority of the table ordered Parmas and they were all impressed with the size of these dishes as well. The Parmas came with a serving of chips and the Gluten Free Parma with a serving of salad instead. I must say De Mad Hatter’s chips is one of the yummiest chips I have come across. They were crunchy and absolutely tasty!

Another major plus point is the coffee that is served here. You will find a queue during peak hour times in the morning and the afternoon with people waiting to get their coffee hit. One of the good coffee places in and around the docklands area. Their chai latte’s are also really good and creamy.

One negative however, was the wait for food. At lunch times if you are ordering from their menu, we had to wait around 30-40 minutes for our food once we ordered. If you order from the bain marie and sit down to eat, or from the food that is on display it will be quick.  Overall though I think that it is a great addition to the Docklands area.

Rating : 3 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – A la Carte as well as food served in Bain Marie’s, as well as a selection of salads, foccacias, baguettes etc.
Fullness: 90%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Quirky and fun
Standout Dish: Any of the Risotto dishes
Service: Friendly but a tad bit slow. Might need a few more wait staff perhaps
Online Booking: No – you are best to book a table for lunch if you have more than 4 people
Restaurant Details and Location:
https://www.facebook.com/d3madhatt3r
797 Collins St, Docklands
Tel No: 9620 2226

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 6am – 5pm

De Mad Hatter on Urbanspoon