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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Panda Wedding Fun!

Hey Guys!

So relating to my previous post of being MIA – one of the main reasons was because I was busy planning a wedding and got married back in June 2015. We have been lucky enough to be nominated for Wedding of Year 2015 and would greatly appreciate your support. If you could click on the link below and Vote for Shazrina & Nik – that would be awesome.

I had a really fun time organising and planning all the details of the wedding – from the quote on the bottom of my shoe to the personalised thank you tags for guests, the photo collage in the shape of our initials – I really did love it all. Of course my favourite aspect was the food tasting and selecting of dishes for my guests on the two different nights.

For our Indian reception we had catering done from Topaz Catering – a delicious Sri Lankan banquet.
For the reception at Encore in St Kilda – we had the lovely staff provide our guests with a 3 course meal of dishes we selected.
Entree:
Spanner Crab with Avocado, Apple Puree, Daikon and Puffed Wild Rice
Slow cooked Buttermilk Chicken with Crisp Jerusalem Artichoke, Goats Curd and Figs

Main:
Truffled Chicken Breast with Boudin Blanc, Sweet Corn Polenta and Popcorn
Slow Cooked Salmon with Prawn Colcannon and Pea Puree

Dessert:
Caramel Ice Cream Paddles with Chocolate and Praline Hazelnuts
Passionfruit Tarts with Soft and Crispy Meringue
Wedding Cake

What I also enjoyed was cake tasting – and picking the different flavours for our – not one but TWO wedding cakes. My choices were White Chocolate Raspberry (which was my all time favourite), Caramel, White Chocolate and Chocolate Fudge.
We had the lovely Vinu from Vindya Boutique Cake Studio – https://www.facebook.com/Vindya-102326746613223/ (for the Indian Reception) and Jo from Splendid Servings – http://splendidservings.com.au/ (for the Encore Reception) creating our beautiful cakes.

If that wasn’t enough sweetness – we also had a beautiful blue themed dessert table created by ever talented Ngoc from The Dessert Parlour – http://thedessertparlour.com.au/. Our table was filled with homemade and personalized cookies, marble heart shaped chocolates and meringues – along with a variety of lollies and candies.

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Our Wedding Cake by Vindya Boutique Cake Studio (https://www.facebook.com/Vindya-102326746613223/)
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Our Wedding Cake by Splendid Servings (http://splendidservings.com.au/)
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Our beautiful Dessert Table from The Dessert Parlour (http://thedessertparlour.com.au/)

If you could head to the following link(s) and Vote for Shazrina & Nik – that would be great!

http://www.easyweddings.com.au/real-weddings/competition/december-2015-nominees/

http://www.easyweddings.com.au/real-weddings/traditions-combine-shazrina-niks-three-day-cultural-wedding/

Thank you all so much for the support

Much Love

Grazing Panda xx

Fitzrovia – Vintage and Funky Cafe

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

Circa, The Prince – Perfect Sunday Lunch


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Circa, the Prince located in St Kilda is owned by John and Lisa van Haandel with Head Chef at Jake Nicolson the helm together with chef Paul Wilson. The dining space was cretaed not just to satisfy and delight the palate, but the eyes too with various artworks and design by Meme’s. There are multiple dining areas – all of which consist of modern table and chairs.
The dining space we were seated at was like an indoor / outdoor space. This space is both roomy and filled with light thanks to the glass ceiling. The room is filled with wooden tables and chairs in a mix of greys, yellows and ivories tones. The result is stylish, modern yet casual – definitely what was needed for a Sunday lunch. There is also a mix of industrial and greenery which gives the sense of homeliness. The greenery consists of big potted plants as well as a wall of various flowers and herbs.

We were given a set Sunday lunch menu – where we got a soup to start off with, followed by starters to share, then a choice out of four for main as well as for dessert. Can I just start off by saying that all the dishes that we were given tasted fantastic and it was resounding sentiment that was shared from the entire group ( there were six of us), hence the 5 Panda rating.

The  soup was a Fish soup, Saffron Aioli, Gruyere. The initial sound of Fish soup didn’t sound  very appetising, however once you tasted the dish it was creamy and wholesome. Initially the dish came out with the Gruyere and Saffron Aioli in the middle, and then the waiter poured the soup on top of these in front of you. There’s something about soup being poured in front of you that enhances the food eating experience. The starters were exceptional, especially the Salmon Rillettes. Grilled Baguette. The Salmon was fresh,  rich and creamy and had just the right amount of flavour.

The mains were all plated beautifully and were vibrant in colour and flavour. The fish, beef and lamb shoulder were all cooked to the right amount of tenderness. The John Dory, Creamed Leeks, Crosnes, Truffle Vinaigrette was my dish of choice. This was my first time eating Crosnes – which is a tuber vegetable  and can also be known as a Chinese Artichoke. The Crosne was crunchy and tasted a bit like potato and worked well with the creamy leek and fish. The Truffle Vinaigrette  was a wonderful addition of texture and flavour.

Desserts at Circa, The Prince were just as beautifully plated, however the combination of Rice Pudding, Rhubarb, Custard Apple Ice Cream was a little peculiar. The Custard Apple Ice cream, as well as the other ice cream’s that came out on other desserts like the Coconut Ice Cream and Strawberry Sorbet were creamy and light and tasted great! The deconstructed Vanilla Bean Cheescake, Strawberry Sorbet and Jelly was great. The base of the cheesecake was soft and crumby andd the jelly and sorbet were a great addition to the dish.

I said at the start of my post and I will say it again – all the dishes at Circa, The Prince, not only looked amazing on the plate but tasted fantastic! I enjoyed every minute here and would definitely recommend Circa, The Prince for any occasion.

Rating : 5 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – There is a Breakfast Menu, A la Carte menu, Lunch Menu, Bar Menu and a Chefs Menu as well – all can be found at http://www.circa.com.au/food
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual and Stylish, Modern and Light filled.
Standout Dish: Roasted Marron, Tarragon Butter
Service: Fantastic and Friendly
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://www.vuedemonde.com.au/reservation
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.circa.com.au/home
2 Acland St, St Kilda
Tel No: 9536 1122

Opening Hours:
Breakfast
Monday to SundayL 7am – 11am
Lunch
Friday: from 12pm
Sunday: from 12:30pm
Dinner
Monday to Sunday: from 6pm

Other Comments:
Circa will be extending its opening hours for the month of December, as of the 5th of December we will be open for lunch everyday excluding Saturday. Our Opening hours will be:

Monday-Friday lunch: 12-3pm
Sunday lunch: 12:30-3pm
Monday-Sunday Dinner: 6pm
Open on New Years Eve

Circa, the Prince on Urbanspoon