Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Absolute Perfection

A spectacular and eye capturing glass display show case sweet perfections of cakes, macaron, chocolates and biscuits. Silky glistening glazes and ganache shine under the lights so perfect that you could see yourself in it's reflection.

Welcome to Bibelot.

It is a wonder why it has taken me this long to finally visit this sensation of dessert experience.

Chocolate that runs on tap should surly be the breaking point to visit to anyone who either is the general chocoholic or has a passion for dessert eating.

To the front of the long counter as you walk through ceiling to floor glass doors is the ice cream area where creamy ice-cream is served and smothered with a chocolate sauce fresh from the flowing tap.

Further down are cabinets upon cabinets of decadent desserts and treats, where you drool over and become indecisive of what you actually came in for.

Bright macarons of traditional and unusual flavours fly out the door packages beautifully for the perfect gift or just for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home where you don't have to hide how many you end up eating by yourself.

Individual cakes are perfectly lined in a row, and makes for even more excitement and becomes hard to choose. The flawless cake creations are unbelievable to look at with each cake consistent to the other. Inspiring to all patisserie students and all master chef lovers.

For me it was too hard to choose so there is nothing better to choose from thank the tasting plate selection that was easy to share between 2 - 4 people. Accompanied with a coffee or other hot drink you can relax and catch up easily with a friend.

Showcasing a selection from the cabinet in smaller sizes again, there was nothing but amazing quality and fantastic combinations of flavours.

The sweetness of the cakes are not over powering where you need to stop eating because you have obtained that sugar/ sweetness overload and our body starts shutting down.

Here is is more the balance of the fruit flavours  on some cases the chocolate flavours where it naturally comes through without the addition of extra sugars.

To go amongst friends is a must especially if you love the catching up over coffee and cake experience. I had a magnificent afternoon in the South Melbourne sun with my sister for a catch up, and then travelled through the Market as an additional touch. You may as well, it's just beside you.

And if you don't like having people envy you for going well then the answer is simple. Take something home with you. You can say you brought them something and then make them share it with you so you don't miss out. It's a double win.


Bibelot
285-287 Conventry street
South Melbourne
9690 2688

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Polí nóstimos (It's very Tasty)

It's not what you know, it's who you know and for most diners and foodies the fact you can say you've gone to George Calambaris's restaurant you can tell that these people enjoy to name drop.

Greek cuisine is always an amazing choice when you want to experience natural flavours with a slight char grilled flavour and balanced off with acidity and freshness.

Here at Hellenic Republic it all about the congregation of your family and friends and to enjoy marvellous creations of the traditional cuisine but refined to a delicate and exquisite style.

A choice to design your own evening of shared plates or go for the style of designed sharing plates chosen by the team. I tend to always enjoy someone else choosing my dishes, it's as though they are giving me a surprise for the night that always makes it for an exciting dining experience.

A serve of soft golden croquettes that were a sensation within themselves and smoked mackerel on a bed of beans and tomato was a great starter for the evening.

The croquettes were heavenly and creamy and retained that divine golden crunch coating. The mackerel was fresh and brought a pleasant palate cleanse to what was ahead.

To follow was Saganaki with sweet peppered figs. Away from the traditional way of serving with lemon, this lovely piece of cheese served on a warm grill plate achieved everything that you would expect. Delicate cheese flavours sweetened with the glorious syrup and fig. As the plate cooled you gained a slight toffee addition which added that finger licking experience.

Spit roasted Chicken with oregano and garlic as well as some lamb was succulent and tender. Served with tzatziki and slaw these natural flavours burst with great complexion. It was hard to not devour this quickly. Subtle flavours really helped the meat shine it's natural flavours and a slight smoke from the spit roasting.

 Charred prawns and grilled fish served with a grain and pomegranate salad was fresh and perfect. The prawns sang songs of deliciousness as you ate them and took you away on an ocean cruise (almost). Plump and juicy prawns accompanies with the delicate fish was a great way to complete the mains for the evening.

Dessert was a combination of donuts and rice pudding. Golden honey soaked donuts with a light centre, chocolate and hazelnuts was a sweet and joyous experience. To join was the delightful creamy pudding finished with pistachios, almond shortbread and salted caramel
Both were pretty tasty and made for a pleasant end to the night.

Tonights experience lead to be a rather generous and tasting experience of which would make us dine again.

Hellenic Republic
434 Lygon Street
Brunswick
9381 1222

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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Corn Bread



Ingretients:
1 cup Self raising flour
1 cup Polenta
1 cup Milk
250g Cheese, grated
2 Cayenne peppers, yellow
3 Jalapeño peppers, some seeds removed (dependant on personal heat)
1 Zucchini, grated
1 Creamed corn (regular can)
2 eggs, beated
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Combine all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add milk and eggs, mix until combined.

Stir through cheese, creamed corn and zucchini

Finley chop chillies removing seeds to your acquired taste. 
The more seeds the more bite of heat you will have.
Stir through into mix.

Grease a loaf pan or muffin tin dependant on how you would enjoy eating.

Spoon mix into your prepared pan.

Bake in a 200c oven for 30 minutes until golden and firm.

Remove and allow to cool or enjoy warm.

To serve spread with butter or a slight smear of honey.



The Modern Appertite

Down the hidden path ways of Carlton on a frosty morning was a delightful sensation of what is to be an expansion of the Modern breakfasts that are hitting the Melbourne scene.

Grand wooden doors await ahead of you as you walk down a slate grey cobble path, with a smaller door opened it is almost like you are walking into a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

In the entrance is a grand stand of pastries and bench seating for those who just come for a quick coffee, continue through and you are welcome to a sunlit dining experience with hanging plants, coffee roasting equipment and an overall organic theme.

Welcome to The Vertue of the Coffee Drink.

Warm greetings from staff and coffees on the go as soon as you sit down, you are welcomed like family to dine. The menu speaks Modern and will be hard to beat from it's competitors.

The Morning breakfast selection of Smoked ocean trout served with curried aranchini, soft duck egg and accompanied by a mango chilli chutney had bold flavours which exploded on the tastebuds.

The trout flakes way with a simple scrape of the fork and together with the rick duck egg that has a golden oozy yolk intensified the flavours. Sweeten it up with the side of chutney and balance it with the crisp gems of the aranchini. It is hard to compare it to other breakfasts around Melbourne.

If you love your eggs and bacon but want to adventure to something away from those 2 eggs and short cut bacon strips then perhaps try the Scotch egg. These Smoke Pork belly covered eggs that once again have a rich golden yolk centre shone on the plate accompanied with pig skin crackling, piccalilli mayo, toasted brioche and the most delicate black pudding I have tasted in months.

This glamorous breakfast is far from the traditional and is a sensation of textual elements that lead to a very happy dining experience.

Sides for your breakfast are fairly basic apart from the unusual Avocado with ricotta, popcorn and lemon. Fairly mild and fresh in flavours with the popcorn just adding a very mild corn flavour to the avocado. Diners around were ordering this and smearing it on slices of toast. It's just the next step away from the smashed avocado which gives it the individuality menu choice.

Coffee is medium bodied with a slight acidic flavour from the daily blend. Single Origin and always changing, be sure to ask what blend they are using if you have a specific palate to your morning grind.

A pleasure to dine here and one you will talk about to family and friends. Of course with that pastry display at the pay station you can not say no to taking that something naughty home with you. Donuts filled with raspberry and rose custard..... a very good choice.

With it's doors only being open for the past 4 months, this gorgeous eatery is one you should visit and experience.


The Vertue of the Coffee Drink
8 Raffa Place
Carlton
8060 6987

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Trendy Serenity

Hawk and Hunter is a well layed out open spaced cafe that is bustling with morning local diners of Ripponlea.

Large communal table with delightful comfy seating is where we sat so I could gaze upon the action of the Sunday morning. Over hanging industrial lighting on the pallet made table with a mix match collage of a paper tree was actually rather a pleasant feel to the dining experience.

Service was fantastic and I commend our waiter, a young well mannered gentlemen was more than happy to chat, offer ideas and was fast on his feet. I unfortunately failed to get his name but the service truly made me feel welcomed to dine.

Using 5 senses coffee the creme was golden and rich and a medium well bodied blend of bean. Would make anyone enjoy there coffee. Temperature was perfect and if you are into it a little art on your late was good.

So breakfast on a Sunday, theres no denying by now it's my thing and if you haven't read my other blogs - I am one to enjoy the Sunday Breakfast.

Hawk and Hunter have what you would expect on the menu for a breakfast meal.

Smashed avocado, Corn and Zucchini fritters, Spanish Breakfast, Bircher muesli and so on to name a few. But I have to say the serving sizes are large and the dishes have a slight change to the usual to make the dishes there own.

For example the Fancy Forest Mushrooms are far from having just a serve of buttered button mushrooms. Here we have sautéed mixed mushrooms in a truffle butter served with a runny poached egg and polenta chips. This selection of wild mushrooms were full flavoured and with a slight add of lemon juice brought this dish to the next level.

The Hawk Benedict was gorgeous with the perfectly cooked poached eggs with short cut bacon on top of what they call Dr Marty's crumpets, fresh asparagus and house hollandaise.

The crumpets were amazing, far from any other house made crumpet that I have tasted. Light fluffy and delicious soaking in the hollandaise sauce and the oil from the bacon. On the side there version of a potato rosti. A dense rosti indeed but jam packed with fresh herbs and a stunning golden crisp coating.

To unwind and relax you should try there detox tea, served in a dainty glass pot with cup and saucer I did feel a little bit like Alice in Wonderland for a moment. But the tea was lovely, fresh lemon, mint and a touch of chilli really made you unwind and enjoy your serenity.

On your way out or perhaps if you still have room for more you should check out the cake counter.

A counter of muffins, slices, filled donuts and musk sticks just to name a few delights but make sure you check out the fridge for more intense chocolate treats.

I really did get to enjoy  the overall experience here. The staff worked well together and it showed both in the service and on the plate.

If you are in the area and you catch Public Transport into the city then you will be happy to know that it's right beside the station for that easy access to caffeine on the run.

Happy dining and Thanks to the Team of Hawk and Hunter.


Hawk & Hunter
8 Glen Eira Ave
Ripponlea
9528 2719

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Thursday, 14 May 2015

How may I direct your call?

With these wintery mornings it is getting so much harder to get out of bed. But if you are a food entrepreneur such as myself (or blogger which ever you would like to say) it's great. While the people are tucked in their beds I get up put on the beanie and scarf that I knitted, drag the hubby with me and head out for a quiet breakfast as the cafe doors just open.

Recently I was able to get to Operator 25. Just around the corner of Victoria market nestled down a side street behind a dance studio and offices it was already bustling with diners.

The menu has a great selection of dishes that are all plated with phasic and inspiring compositions that is now what is hitting the breakfast food scene.

The coffee has a stunning crema and is full bodied, great for those like myself that need the morning to start off with a good coffee. The respect of a bean can really make a difference and here the coffee is well respected.

On this mornings menu choice I went for the sweet option of the Elderflower Sago: a combination of chia seeds, strawberry and rhubarb compote, freeze dried mango and a white chocolate foam.

A refreshing and sweet start to the morning. It was hard not to eat it too quickly, some restraint was required. A very well balanced flavour with nothing over powering. I enjoyed the mango shards to give it complexion and texture. And of course.... pretty on the plate.

It was hard to choose my breakfast and I wish I could sometimes have 3 meals to myself, but alas it won't happen.

But to choose against the Sago, Ginger and date bread with caramelised banana mascarpone, salted milk crumb and pomegranate sauce or the Granola clusters with seasonal fruits coconut honey yoghurt and mandarine juice is really Hard.

Paul went for the savoury side of things, and it was a good choice at that. Smoked Sardines: on grilled rye bread covered with pickled cucumber, manchego, sour cherry, rocket and dill.

Under those luscious greens are delicately smoked sardine fillets that when combined with the cherry, cucumber and green mix is a world of pleasure about to be had when placed in your mouth.

Sweet and sour combinations enhance the sardines and are outstanding. It's possibly a dish that most would shy away from, being sardines and all. But these little fish are actually really good for you and hold an amazing flavour.
If you feel like getting a little fancy try In-house coffee spritzer and iced tea. The coffee spritzer is flavoured with cold brew, maple syrup, lemon, lychee, micro lemon balm and tonic water. A great stomach detox with all the lemon and tonic water and slightly bitter on the palate.

The iced tea is more suited for the sweet toothed people with Hibiscus, chamomile, eucalyptus honey and served with mint, orange and nata de cocoa.

It was a pleasant dining experience and most popular with the mums with kids in the dance studio. Great location pre or post venturing to the Victoria market and catch up with a friend.

There plating is eye catching and they will continue to grow with fans of the food crazed population.


Operator 25
25 Wills Street
Melbourne
9670 3278

Operator25 on Urbanspoon

Heighten the Senses

Isn't is amazing how our 5 senses are continuously working every minute of every day. I think they work harder than ourselves at work to be honest.

Everyone eats with their eyes, when it's fancy on a plate there is no doubt your mind will tell you its going to be delicious.

When you hear the surrounding people talk about their meal, your mind will believe them.

Smells and aromas that carry though out the restaurant activates the taste buds making you get anxious about where your dish is and changes you to all of a sudden be starving.


I recently went in and stopped at North Melbourne's new addition to the cafe scene "Mork Chocolate". A cafe dedicated to our grand chocolate lovers.

This quaint modern establishment is a place where you can catch up with a friend for an hour over petite cakes and of course chocolate beverages galore. Choose anything from a unique chocolate soda to the usual hot chocolate.

Start your dining experience with coco infused water to cleanse the palate and to get you ready to enjoy the rich chocolate goodness.

I had to go for something different that you wouldn't find in any other chocolate cafe and that was the Chocolate Soda. This lightly sparkling mineral water was infused with a bitter chocolate and a side of in house syrup to heighten the sweetness at your leisure. Unusual to say the least however interesting all the same and it works.

At first I was unsure whether I was meant to expect something like a spider after seeing the fizz the chocolate created when added to the soda, but it was far from that.


You can not compare it to anything from your childhood memories of chocolate and sodas. The flavours are rich and genuinely intense, but pleasantly enjoyable.

A lovely little brûlée tart was the perfect match as suggested by the team. creamy custard centre under a golden brûlée top and shortbread biscuit base.

The other unusual chocolate drink that caught my eye was the smoked chocolate. Smoke caught under the glass and chocolate served on the side was a magical experience. As the glass is turned the smoke awakened your senses but caught enough that when chocolate is added the fusion begins. Add a little salt to the glass and the experience has begun.

You can never say no to the accompaniment of a toasted marshmallow either. It makes you feel like you should be back on your school camps. Smoke of a camp fire and toasting your marshmallows while sitting on the logs. It's a perfect memory to be placed with this drink.

Although the menu is not extensive than a usual cafe, it is not needed. It is an indulgent place where you can not go to the extreme to  have everything on the menu, although you may think you should.

I did 2 chocolate drinks and both were as rich as each other, you can't really go for a third unless you are an extensive chocoholic and are crazy.

The best thing about this is that you would return. I'm already scheduled to go again to take my sister and she is a Chocoholic, so I will be interested to see how she goes.

I think I will be going for the Layered chocolate of chilled dark topped with warm custard or perhaps the A chocolate bar of hot chocolate with hazelnut and caramel. Who knows?

The team are great and can help you with the right selection and matching cake to go with what you choose. So don't be afraid to ask questions. You have to get the pairing right, it will make your experience even more exciting.


Mork Chocolate
150 Errol Street
North Melbourne
9328 1386

Mork Chocolate on Urbanspoon