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!
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Lil Boy Blue – Great Combination of Ingredients

panda-3-5-rating2

My friends and I headed to Lil Boy Blue for breakkie/brunch on a Sunday. I had seen some of my other friends visiting this place for dinner and the food looked amazing, so decided to check it out.

Lil Boy Blue is a restaurant and bar in Kew by owner/chef Joshua Clarke and is located in a heritage listed buildling. The place has a modern yet rustic feel and is filled with wooden tables complete with blue water glasses (which I really want for my house by the way), a brass horn which is mounted on the wall and the look is completed with a sketch of a little boy (done by local artist Conrad Bizjak). It really does live up to its name!

There is the main dining area at the front of the restaurant, and you can walk through to where the kitchen is and there are higher tables where you can dine as well. There is an upstairs function area which is available for bookings as well as a private sunroom.

The menu is a mix of simple Modern Australian food, where an interesting mix of ingredients are put together in each dish and consists of Breakfast (served till 2pm on weekends), Nibbles, Lil Plates and Big Plates are also available on the menu which is available later on in the day and into the night. There is also a dessert menu, and sweets which are made in-house every morning by the chefs which are located in the front cabinet.

My friends and I were seated on the higher tables and were given the food menus to peruse. I had had a quick glance at the menu before coming here so had an idea of what I wanted to have already, but was still torn between certain dishes as to what to order. I was tossing up between the Salmon Gravlax with Polenta Chips, the Piklets and the Poached and Crumbed eggs (you know how much I love my crumbed poached eggs =p). I settled with the Poached and Crumbed eggs, as P was getting the Salmon Gravlax and I was going to try some of hers. We also agreed to share the Pikelets at the end – as our dessert for brunch =p
T also wanted to try out the Popcorn Pork Belly Popcorn (which is under the Nibbles section and was only available after 12, but the waitress asked the kitchen and we were available to get this dish). That’s a big tick for customer service! Our waitress also asked us if we wanted to wait until we finished our food before the pikelets were put thru so they would be fresh when they came out – thoughtful – another big tick!

We started off our meals by getting our coffees that we ordered. The coffee here comes from Allpress and was nutty and creamy and all round delicious.When our dishes came out, they were visually pleasing and this proceeded in all three of us taking many pictures of our food (yes we were those people =p). Once we were done, we tucked into the food. My dish was Poached & Crumbed Eggs with Trio of Mushrooms, Soldiers, Salsa Verde, Pickled Capsicum & Goat’s Curd. T had the same dish as me but added salmon and P had the Salmon Gravlax with Polenta Chips, Avocado Puree, Poached Egg & Creme Fraiche,  Dill & Mustard Dressing.

My dish was delicious – I loved the trio of mushrooms and they were juicy and flavoursome, this coupled with the pickled capsicum and the soft texture  and tanginess of the goat’s curd completed the dish. I liked the addition of  soldiers – pieces of buttered sourdough. The poached crumbed egg was perfectly cooked, and the yolk was runny just like how a poached egg should be. One addition that I would have liked would have been a sauce or some sort – to dip the soldiers into.

P had the Salmon Gravalax – this means that the salmon has been cured in salt, sugar and dill which adds to the flavour and yummyness of the salmon. The Polenta chips were fluffy and fresh, and were perfectly cooked – crunchy on the outside and soft and like clouds on the inside. The avacado puree was smooth and the creme fraiche had the perfect tanginess to it. As a whole the dish was cleverly put together and tasted fantastic. Definitely a dish try. T and P enjoyed the Popcorn Pork Belly that came with Apple Aioli. I thought the combination was quite interesting and as I dont eat pork, I only tried the apple aioli which was sweet and fresh.

The Pikelets came once we done with our savoury dishes. The Pikelets came with pear, apple, vanilla & spice compote, cinnamon ice cream & almond praline. The Pikelets were fluffy and lightly sweetened and the combination with the poached pear and apple was fantastic. The ice cream was my favourite component of the dish – I have never had cinnamon ice cream before. Eventhough I was really full from my savoury dish, I really couldn’t leave any of this dish behind – it was that yummy. I must say it is one of my favourite pancake / pikelet dishes to date.

Lil Boy Blue is a great find in Kew and the atmosphere is welcoming and the place is buzzing with conversation. The service is friendly, warm and attentive. I do want to come back and check out their dinner dishes and see if they are just as good as their breakkie ones. Lil Boy Blue is open seven days a week and goes right through to dinner and cocktails from Tuesday to Saturday.

Rating: 3.5 Pandas
Price:$$$
Menu: The menu can be found at http://www.lilboyblue.com.au/menu
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Relaxed, Buzzing with chatter and warm, great for a catchup with friends
Standout Dish: Pikelets with Pear, Apple, Vanilla & Spice Compote, Cinnamon Ice cream & Almond Praline
Service: Friendly, Warm and Attentive
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
www.lilboyblue.com.au
309 High Street, Kew
Tel No: 9853 5003

Opening Hours:
Monday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Tuesday to Saturday 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Lil Boy Blue on Urbanspoon