Hero Subs – Not Your Ordinary Sandwich

panda 3.5 rating

Hero Subs is brought to us by Michael and Eleena Tan who are responsible for The Grain Store. Hero Subs was inspired by Michael’s travels around New York City together with his fond childhood memories of being looked after by a traditional Nonna – eating food such as parmagianas – and putting what he finds special into food.

Hero Subs specialises in oversized gourmet Brooklyn inspired subs – with a distinct Melbourne twist – that come in an array of fillings and flavours. The subs come in both half and full sizes and you can choose from a Brioche bun or a Baguette style (Seeded, White or Gluten Free). If bread subs aren’t your thing – you can have a wrap style (Chia Seed, White or Gluten Free).
There are 11 different flavours to choose from – including #Sonny In Law (Sticky Fried Chicken, Kim Chi Slaw, Sriracha Mayo), #Kanye’s Revenge (150gm Beer-Battered Fish Fillet, Apple Slaw, Lemon Dill Aioli) and #KidRoyale (Hickory Slow Cooked Beef, Onion Jam, Baby Spinach, Honey Dijon Mustard and Crispy Onion Rings) just to name a few.
Naked Salads, Potato Kris Cross Chips, Sweet Potato Kris Cross Chips, Onion Rings, Corn Fritters and Sweet Treats (Hot Ball Donuts – in Berry Jam and Salted Caramel) are also available.
Hero Subs has funky quotations on its wrapping – sayings like “Stack Mad Chips Spread Love With My Peeps”, “Spread Love, It’s The Brooklyn Way” – and tissues – like “Oh You Missed A Spot.”

I ordered the #Cypress Chill – Corn Fritters, Green Goodess Spread, Baby Spinach – Diced Tomato and Herb Fetta Sub in the Wrap Style (Chia Seed) with a side of Potato Kris Cross Chips. The Kris Cross Chips were crunchy on the outside, flavoured well and soft like clouds on the inside. There is just something about eating chips in the shape of a kris cross that makes it more appealingly delicious. I really enjoyed the #7Grand Wrap – the corn fritters was perfectly cooked with the right level of crunch and consistency. I loved the combination of the spinach, fetta and the Green Goodess Spread – it was tanginess exemplified but not over the top. A really great tasting sub!

One thing I would love to see on the menu would be some seafood subs – prawns or soft shell crab would taste delicious! Hopefully they start making them soon!

Hero Subs are not just about the subs – they want to become a Lifestyle Brand – to run and organise music festivals, create a swanky clothing line, support fresh Street Art as well as to engage charities and organizations. They also have something called the Hero Social Programme – where every franchisees that joins the Hero family will commit to 10 hours of community service. What a brilliant idea – if only more companies were this encouraging.

Not only do they have a great vision and mission, but they have great tasting subs that are out of this world – but with a Melbournian twist. Check them out – there are 3 different Melbourne CBD locations. They also do catering for Private Gigs and Functions – you can check out their packages here – http://herosubs.com.au/catering

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Refer to http://herosubs.com.au/menu/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Funky and has a street-vibe to it!
Service: Friendly
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details, Location and Opening Hours:
http://herosubs.com.au/

357 Collins St, Melbourne
(Opposite Huxtaburger, Food Court
Tel No: 9629 6067
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

28 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
Tel No: 9642 8891
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Sunday: Closed

1 Steward St, Melbourne
(Back of RMIT SAB Building 80)
Tel No: 9995 4655
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Hero Subs on Urbanspoon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/herosubsau?ref=ts&fref=ts
Instagram: herosubsau
Twitter:@HeroSubsAU

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Addict Food + Coffee – Mushroom Delight!

panda 3.5 rating

Menu:
Breakfast Menu Lunch Menu

Addict Food and Coffee had been on my list since they opened earlier this year. Located in Fitzroy on Johnston Street, between Brunswick Street and Smith Street and right on the corner of Gore Street, Addict is owned by two couples – Greg and Brooke Brassil (who used to own a coffee roastery back in Shepparton) together with Joe and Brooke Ventura (who run the floor here at Addict). Ex-St Ali chef runs the kitchen –  Steve Hogan – with barista Greg Brassil pumping out Clement and Market Lane coffee in both espresso and filter.

Addict is medium in size is light filled and airy thanks to the windows that wrap around the corner positioning of the store. The décor is minimalist complemented with wooden tables that have black top, black chairs which can seat parties of two or four. There is also a communal table at the front for larger parties. Colourful flowers in jars together with pot plants hung up with macramé nets together with a sneeky picture that seems to have taken inspiration from the Gorillaz further add style and charisma to the venue.

The menu created by Boyd not only includes regular breakfast dishes you would expect to see but also some intriguingly created dish combinations. The breakfast menu runs all day together with a six dish lunch menu. Crumpets are supplied from Dr Marty, butter from Pepe Saya with Little Bertha supplying the delicious cakes, slices located at the front counter. The breakfast menu consists of dishes such as Wholemeal Buttermilk Pancakes served with a dollop of mascarpone and poached quince, Cumberland Sausage + Black Pudding, Northern Beans (with tarragon parsley, confit tomatoes, poached eggs, garlic croutons), House Cured Smoked Salmon and your usual breakkie dishes with a difference such as Eggs Benedict served with smoked Ham Hock + Tarragon Hollandaise, Porridge with Bananas, Walnuts + Butterscotch Sauce.

The lunch menu covers all dietary bases with offerings of a Pulled Pork Burger, Chicken Breast with Kipfler Potatoes, Confit Duck, Salad of Quinoa & Roasted Root Vegetables and Olive Bread with Avocado, Baby Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Haloumi Crumbs & a Poached Egg.

Aside from coffee you can find Mork Hot Chocolate, Prana Chai as well as a great selection of Teas and juices. Bonsoy and Almond Milk are also available.

We arrived on a Saturday around 11am and the place was buzzing and quite packed – we were asked to put our name down for a table for two with a 10 -15 minute wait, however within 5 minutes we had a table.

I ordered a latte to start whilst I decided what to order for breakfast and N ordered a long black. N’s long black came served with sparkling water – and he said it was perfectly flavoured and crisp. My latte was full bodied, rich and whilst no particular flavours stood out it was a well-rounded and balanced coffee.
During my meal I also ordered a Prana Chai which comes served on a wooden board; with the chai in a silver pot to allow it to brew longer. You can then pour cup fulls yourself when you are satisfied with the length of time that it has been brewed. The chai was delicious – warm with just the right hint of spice added.

Deciding on a breakfast dish was hard – I was tossing up between the Buttermilk Pancakes, Corn Fritters or the Potato Hash + Mushroom Duxelles. I decided to go with the Potato Hash + Mushroom Duxelles (with roasted field mushroom, poached egg + caramelized onion) due to my hankering for mushrooms that won over my sweet cravings. N ordered the Black Beans, Chorizo + Otway Pork served with garlic crumbs + a poached egg.

My only complaint for the day would be that the wait time for food was a tad over the top – we waited around 50 minutes for our meals to arrive – and I had to ask twice how long our meals would be. I am not quite sure why it took so long for two dishes to come out, I mean there seemed to be turnover of patrons quite regularly and other dishes seemed to come out with a much shorter period of time – lost order perhaps? We weren’t really offered an explanation – but just an apology for the long wait.

My dish was perfectly plated – the finely chopped and mixed garlic flavoured mushroom mash which provided a stable base for the crisp and deep fried deliciousness that was the potato hash on top, followed by a whole roasted field mushroom and finished off with a perfectly poached egg. It was not only art perfection but flavour perfection. The mix of earthiness and butteriness paired with the crunchy-on-the-outside-yet-soft-on –the-inside potatoes was divine. The caramelised onions added an element of richness and sweetness which rounded the dish brilliantly. A winner of a dish and a must try!

N’s dish was presented well as well – with the stewed black beans and chorizo mix taking up most of the plate with a thick slice of Otway pork sitting on top and finished with a poached egg – garlic crumbs added an element of flavour and crunchy surprise. N said that his dish was luke warm and bordering on cold and that there wasn’t that many pieces of chorizo. Maybe it was their off day but this dish has the opportunity to be better.

The staff here are quite friendly and really know their dishes when you ask them to explain a component you hadn’t heard of before. Dishes are beautifully presented with appealing dishes and the coffee is great on the palate. The place is warm, inviting and makes you relax. A pity about the wait time for our food – but hopefully many don’t encounter this – some would say the wait could be forgotten once you taste the dishes. Try it out for yourself.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to pictures above
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Relaxed, Welcoming and Chilled out. Great light filled space, which is great to meet friends for a catch up
Standout Dish: Potato Hash + Mushrom Duxelles with roasted field mushroom, poached egg + caramelised onion
Service: Friendly and Knowledgeable
Online Booking: NoRestaurant Details and Location:
http://www.addictmelbourne.com/
240-242 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Tel No: 9415 6420

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Addict Food and Coffee on Urbanspoon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/addictmelbourne
Twitter: @addictfitzroy
Instagram: addictfoodandcoffee

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

The Bell Jar – Vintage Style Cafe

panda 4 rating

Menu:
Food Menu Lunch and Drinks Menu

The Bell Jar café is located on the Clifton Hill side of Smith Street (almost near Queens Parade), almost hidden between a battery shop and few garages. I actually drove past it and had to do a u-turn and come back around.

The Bell Jar is a very vintage, unique and welcoming café – from the moment you step in you are greeted with a cheery hello from the staff. There are tables located out front that you could sit at – inside there are wooden box seats that line the window, as well as mismatched and vintage tables and chairs in the main dining area. Out the back there is another room which has a communal table perhaps for a larger party as well as a courtyard. Styling is minimalist but it works with the look and the feel of the place – the main highlight is definitely the shiny coffee machine which is placed front and centre of the counter. This counter in itself is quite intriguing – made of wooden floorboards, there is a selection of cakes and muffins that you can buy placed on top here too.

Coffee is by Five Senses – ‘Dark Horse’ and includes blends of Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Sumatran beans. There is also Calmer Sutra Chai, Larsen & Thompson Teas, as well as juices from Emma & Tom’s and Sunzest Fresh OJ. While I mull over the menu I order a latte – which is strong, fragrant complete with the nutty flavours – it was a real pick me up!

The Bell Jar has an interesting menu which starts of with dishes under the ‘x’ section, followed by ‘xx’ and ends with ‘xxEXTRAxx’ – which is a really unique and great concept. The starting dishes include Toast, Breakfast Bruschetta, Porridge and Muesli dishes. Some of the larger dishes include Baked Beans, as well as an interesting dish consisting of Spiced Pumpkin and Avocado – there is also a fritters dish, as well as a Bell Jar Breakfast – their take on the Big Breakfast. There are a list of specials which are located on the blackboard as well – when I visited there was a Parmesan toast with roast tomato and basil dish, an eggs Benedict dish as well as ricotta hotcakes. There is also a separate lunch menu which consists of six different sandwiches to select from – a combination of vegetarian and meat options available. Refer to the menu pictures above for more detail.

I was tossing up between getting the fritters or the hotcakes and in the end decided I felt like something sweet. So I ordered the Ricotta Hotcakes with Banana, Mixed Berries and Maple Syrup – sans the bacon and I asked for some cream on the side. The dish did take quite some time to come out (and the waiter did apologise for the wait) – but I think the wait was well worth it.

The dish was well plated and against the stark white of the plate – the pancakes and the colourful shades of reds of the berries was delightful. The banana was layered in between the pancakes – so it created a wedding cake like appearance. This was topped with strawberries – with a mix of blueberries and raspberries off to the side, enveloped with maple syrup. The pancakes were delicious and fluffy and I loved the thickness of them – perfect! The combination of bananas, tangy berries and the pancakes together with the sweetness of the maple syrup and the cream was fantastic. You felt as if you wanted to savor every mouthful. If these are on the special board again – try them out! Hopefully they move it onto the main menu so it’s there all the time!

I had a great time at The Bell Jar – the vibe is fantastic and the coffee and food are delicious! Check out this hidden little vintage and quaint gem!

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Breakfast and Lunch menu – refer to pictures above
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Chilled out, relaxed. Has a very vintage feel. You can sit outside or by the window. There is also a communal table in the back room as well as a courtyard area to sit in.
Service: Friendly and Welcoming
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.thebelljar.com.au/
656 Smith Street, Clifton Hill
Tel No: 9482 7980

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

The Bell Jar on Urbanspoon

South of Johnston – Relaxed and Enchanting

panda 4 rating

My first impression of South of Johnston or SoJo as it is affectionately known as was that it had a really vibrant yet relaxed country feel to it. It was a place that you could literally spend hours and hours and feel like you are away on a day trip, yet you are located in the inner city suburb of Collingwood. Stuart McKenzie (from Mart 130) spent a lot of time finding the perfect venue to open his café and wonderfully transformed the once old valve-repackaging factory into the venue that it is today with some help from Carver Design.

SoJo is quite a large venue, in Oxford Street, and is made of multiple spaces that you can pick to choose from to sit. There is an outside covered quadrangle located at the front, which looks out onto the street and lets the bright sunshine in. What is super cool as well is the “urban orchard” that is located at the front of this area – with herb and fruit trees located in planter boxes. What was also great was that there were blankets placed on each chair – perhaps if you got a bit cold – such a novel idea. There is a covered courtyard area located at the back as well as the main area where the bar / coffee bar is located that is quite large (and where bookings can be made as well). This main area also consists of a fireplace with comfortable looking lounges located around it. If you think its hard deciding on where you want to sit, wait till you get to the food menu – there is a huge variety to select from!

I love the combination of the wooden tables and chairs with the simple, modern and pastel pieces of artwork. As well as the colourful cushions that are tossed across the comfy looking couches. At the entrance there is a table with knick knacks and various elegant artifacts which adds a classy touch.

South of Johnston has an all day dining menu to offer and consists of classic breakfast dishes with a contemporary twist, and they can cater for all dietary requirements as well. There really is a little of everything on the menu and like I said you will spend even longer than you did deciding where to sit. There are egg breakfasts: scrambled and folded with goats’ cheese and truffle oil; fried eggs and kaiserfleisch; or soft-poached and saucy with sugo, black olives and spicy chorizo. The usuals such as Bircher muesli with poached seasonal fruit, crunchy granola and vanilla bean infused yogurt can also be found. Two dishes that most people seem to talk about is the French Toast served with Brioche and the Corn fritters – where the corn cobs have been oven roasted to get that smoky flavour – mm yuum!

It was quite a warm day and I felt like fresh juice and the waitress informed me that they had a special for that day which was a grapefruit juice – so I thought I would try it out. It was quite refreshing albeit a bit bitter. Towards the end I did have to add some sugar in it to cut some of the bitter taste. After much deliberation I decided to have the Pancakes served with Mixed Berries and Vanilla Infused Mascarpone with Pistachio Nuts as I felt like something sweet. The pancakes come with a maple syrup bottle that you have all to yourself – so you can put as much or as little as you want around the pancakes. There hasn’t been a place yet that I have been to that does this. The dish was quite sizeable and it seemed like there was a mountain of pancakes to get through (I couldn’t finish the whole dish) – the pancakes themselves were delicious – soft and flavoursome.  The combination of the tangy berries with the vanilla mascarpone and crunch of the nuts against the fluffy pillows was fantastic. The addition of the maple added more sweetness to the dish.

SoJo is a relaxed and inviting café (in fact they almost encourage you to sit and stay the whole day), that has a great selection of tasty dishes coupled with a variety of drinks. The menu is for All Day Dining and the multitude of options of where you can sit add to the homely feel of this space. I will definitely be back and this time I will sit in a different section of the café =)

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to http://southofjohnston.com.au/spring-summer-menu-13.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Relaxed, Comfortable, Warm and Inviting. Great place to just chill and hang out and spent most of your day. (There is free WiFi as well)
Standout Dish: Didn’t try it but the French Toast Brioche and the Corn Fritters seem to be a hit
Service: Friendly, Helpful and Warm
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
southofjohnston.com.au
46 Oxford Street, Collingwood
Tel No: 9417 2741

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

South of Johnston on Urbanspoon

The Mess Hall – Favourite Seafood Pasta!

panda 4 rating
Black & White Tagliatellewith Mussels, Prawns, Clams and Salmon @ The Mess Hall

I had been to The Mess Hall years ago – prior to me ever starting this blog and remembered that the food here was pretty good. So on the night of the Stereophonics concert, I needed a place for food and The Mess Hall happened to be near where they were playing. The Mess Hall is quirky and funky looking place complete with wooden tables and interesting accents in the form of decor around the place. The staff are friendly and welcoming. The food served is Italian style and they are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as for snacks.

The Mess Hall is a rustic and intimate menu and despite being simple is a great place to visit for a romantic occasion with its soft lighting. The menu is short and simple, with many dishes catching my eye but I settled on the Black & White Tagliatelle with Mussels, Prawns, Clams and Salmon. I have to say this has been on my favourite seafood pasta dishes ever! The pasta was perfectly cooked and the flavours were simple yet delicious. The Seafood was fresh and all cooked to perfection with each separate component complimenting each other. The serving size of the dishes are just as great as the actual food and are quite generous.

I did also get to try out their coffee which was nutty and creamy. As we had to rush off to the concert, I didn’t get a chance to check out their dessert menu but from the sounds of it – it sounds delicious! I definitely do want to come back and try out some of their other dishes for dinner – but high on my list is to come here and try out their breakfast menu – the corn fritters sound great.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu: http://www.themesshallmelbourne.com/ – you can find all the Menus under the Menu heading
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Comfortable, Casual and Cosy. Really great for a dinner date with that special someone.
Service: Friendly and Welcoming
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.themesshallmelbourne.com/
51 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Tel No: 9654 6800

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 10pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am -10pm

The Mess Hall on Urbanspoon

Hammer and Tong 412 – Sublime Menu

panda-4-rating1

Hammer and Tong comes to you from the team of Dennis Ferriera and chef Simon Ward and is located in the previous location of The Brix. They pretty much left the fit-out as it was  with the open kitchen, the large open windows and the decor.

Both Ferriera and Ward come with a wealth of experience and have worked in restaurants such as Di Stasio, Caffe e Cucina to France Soir, Momo, Vue De Monde and Jacques Reymond. In Hammer and Tong they have brought together casual dining and fine dining all in one and they do it exceptionally well.

Hammer and Tong has a bright and chirpy atmosphere and although it accompanies a smallish space, the light and large windows make it somewhat spacious. There are elements of old school from the big vintage scale at the front where newspapers are held one with a old school iron. There are three different dining spaces such as the main dining hall as you enter, where you can see the baristas’ busily making coffees, followed by the corridor bar and the sunroom at the very back of the space. Both the corridor bar and the sunroom has bar seating that overlooks the window as well as low table seating. In the corridor bar there are hanging plants over head and interesting lighting around the place.

We came on a Saturday morning around 11am and as expected there was a line to get a table. The staff informed us it would be about a 5-10 minute wait which it was. We were seated in the corridor bar and placed our coffee orders whilst we looked at the menu. I had heard a lot about the soft shell crab burger, but settled on the spiced corn fritters as I wanted something more breakfasty. I also wanted to try out their pancakes and told the waiter that once we were done with the savoury dishes to bring out the pancakes – as a dessert =)

We placed our food orders and it wasn’t until we had almost received our food that we got our coffees. It was full house and I did have to remind them about our coffee orders – this was somewhat of a let down.The coffee was good though – creamy and smooth and is from Dukes Coffee Roasters.

My Spiced Corn Fritters, Avocado,  Sour Cream, Chilli Jam, Tomato with a Poached Egg came out and was plated up brilliantly. There were three corn fritters, atop of the tomato in a triangle shape with the poached egg in the middle and the other elements around. The fritters were dense and tasty and I loved the hint of spice attached to them. They were the perfect crisp on the outside as well. Combining them with the avocado, sour cream and chilli jam completed the dish perfectly. This was a sublime dish – one of the best corn fritters I have had to date. N ordered Fried Eggs with a side of Chorizo and said the Chorizo was the best that he has had at any of the many cafe’s we have been to.

Once we were done with our savoury dishes, the waiter brought us the pancake dish – Buttermilk Pancakes, Blueberries, Maple Syrup & Popping Candy Ice Cream. If you think just from reading about the dish that its good – wait till you actually try it – it definitely does live up to all its expectations. There are four buttermilk pancakes surrounded by blueberries, maple syrup and ice cream which has the popping candy placed on top. As the dish is placed down in front of us, you can hear the crackle of the popping candy. Not only does the popping candy add a hit of crackle and a party in your mouth but adds lots of colour to the dish. The pancakes were thick but not too thick, fluffy, sweet and warm. The blueberries were fresh and juicy. All the elements together worked together and made for a great dish. It did get overly sweet towards the end but for some people that really isn’t a problem =p

Hammer and Tong is great new breakfast/brunch place that has a great ambiance and fantastic music playing over the speakers. From the lines at the door it certainly is popular and after having tried it I can tell why – the food is fresh, delicious and unique, and you can tell the experience of the team from the dishes. I forgot about the fact that our coffees were late as those corn fritters were just amazing, not to mention the pancakes.

Hammer & Tong offers coffee, breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages six days a week, from Tuesday through to Sunday. Dinner is offered Thursday through to Saturday.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Brunch menu – http://www.hammerandtong.com.au/brunch.html Dinner menu – http://www.hammerandtong.com.au/dinner.html
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Bright, Light and Chirpy – it really does pick up your day!
Standout Dish: Spiced Corn Fritters, Avocado,  Sour Cream, Chilli Jam, Tomato with a Poached Egg
Service: Friendly
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.hammerandtong.com.au/index.html
Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Tel No: 9041 6033

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Hammer and Tong 412 on Urbanspoon

Elceed – Vintage Brunch

panda 4 rating

Elceed is located in Queensberry St in North Melbourne and is a cosy cafe that is buzzing with activity. There is warmth as well as colour at Elceed, which has mismatched tables in various colours and yellow 1970s chairs. There is also an outside courtyard area with ladders and is a sort of urban chic.

G and I had to wait about 5 minutes to be seated as this quite a popular venue for Sunday breakkie/brunch. The small wait was forgotten once we were seated and served our warm beverages – we both had Chai Lattes. The menu is a mix of cuisines in each dish but this variety I think is great. It shows a place willing to try out different combinations and experiment. There is a Paprika spiced Chicken Burger, Brioche French Toast, Pie of the day or Smokin’ Eggs from their Menu and a board full of specials. It was on this specials board that I found my dish – Indian Spice Pumpkin Scone with Poached Eggs, Pesto, Tomato Salsa & Feta. G went for the Corn Fritters with Sour Cream, Salsa, Rocket & Pesto.

My dish was delicious! The only time I have had a scone is with cream and jam, so to have it as a savoury dish with pumpkin and spices was original and super tasty. Together with the eggs, pesto, tomato salsa & fetta – there was the right amount of flavours and moistness. The scone as expected was like how a sweet scone would be – dry and crumbly – just perfect. G enjoyed her corn fritters – although there was a bit too much tangy rocket.

I would definitely head back to Elceed to try out their other dishes on their menu and to see what specials they have on offer. At the counter there are tasty sweet treats that look enticing. It would be wonderful to sit out in the courtyard in the sunshine – perhaps next time!

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast / Lunch Menu and there is also a specials menu
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Vibrant and Happening together with being relaxed and laid-back
Standout Dish: Indian Spice Pumpkin Scone with Poached Eggs, Pesto, Tomato Salsa & Fetta
Service: Friendly and Welcoming
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
610 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Tel No: 9326 8648

Opening Hours:
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday – Friday: 7:30 am to 3:30 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am to 3:30 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

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Two Birds One Stone – Bustling Brunch Venue

panda-3-5-rating2

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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