Sunday, 1 November 2015

Dear Sir,

A delicate palate of stone, timber and white decor leaves for an enticing relaxed environment with it's open seating space which is bustling with Sunday morning punters.

Welcome to Sir Charles.

With a warm welcome from staff as we enter the doors we are sat and coffee ordered instantly with only moments before they are delivered.

Now coffee being delivered so fast makes me think 2 things.... the baristas are controlled and understand the deliverance of perfect coffee at a rapid pace or that these guys realise the need of getting coffee orders out fast before their Sunday morning customers get into a rage because of the lack of caffeine.

Either way I am not complaining. And to tell you the truth, I am going to say it's the first. The coffee was delicious and had a perfect balance to the blend.

What drew me to Sir Charles was the delicious menu they have on offer. It reads only mouth watering dishes that use perfect flavour combinations that would make anyone happy.

For instance this Miss Piggy dish best describes an adventure of Pork. Crispy skin milk braised pork belly served with orange and sweet potato puree, herbed Kohlrabi salad, sweet potato crisps and finished with a horseradish dressing.

Now as much as you want to lick the screen to taste this sensation, it would probably be best if you didn't. It wouldn't help you.

Luscious puree melted into the delicate sweet port belly and with a salty crackling made for a purely amazing dish, one you lick the plate for.

The other meal that was insanely impressive was the Salmon Benedict. Now you may have just read that and said really? Benedict, they are all the same, well let me tell you something...... they aren't. wWell not here anyway.

The Salmon Benedict is a creations of Panko crumbed eggs, sriarcha mayonnaise, fresh chilli and bacon served on roti bread.

This light and delicious breakfast was something that made me filled with happiness. Eggs that are soft and oozing with golden yolk as you cut through.

The lack of the standard english muffin and replaced with a crisp roti bread made a lighter choice and allowed for flavours to burst out rather than be hidden by bread.

For the sweet tooths check out the salted caramel hot chocolate, it is scrumptious. The other to check out which I will be returning for is the Peanut butter and Jelly, coconut and peanut butter porridge served with maple cream, strawberry jell and praline only screams AMAZING!

There no hesitation that I will be back an eating my way through these dishes exploring the destiny of the perfect menu and gorgeous presentation the Sir Charles delivers.

It is with this that now my mouth is watering in the anticipation of going again, where I will finish before my mind explodes of temptation.

See you soon Sir Charles and to the readers, maybe I will see you there too.

Sir Charles
121 Johnston Street
6122 0332

Sir Charles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On cloud 10

They say cloud 9 is the limit, where you feel extreme happiness and floating on air. However I think I have come across cloud 10.

Hash specialty coffee and roasters are delivering a unique theatrical adventure where you yourself can experience your very own cloud. A cloud of fairy floss that is.

Sitting delicately in a cup you gaze into the floss and pour luscious silky chocolate and watch it disappear before your eyes and creates the best hot chocolate I have had in a very long time.

Using a dark chocolate and designing the fairy floss to become the sugar component of this drink, it creates a luxurious silky hot chocolate that only makes you want more, but don't go crazy it's still intense and rich.

Dining with a friend today the chocolate was what I had heard a lot about, however their is no reason why we can't stay and enjoy a spot of lunch.

A simple but glamorous menu makes for a hard decision but the one thing that stood out to me were the croquettes. Who doesn't love a golden crumb coating with smooth delicate insides?

I know for certain I can't refuse
At Hash their croquettes were Leek and cheddar flavour that sat atop of cauliflower puree, ham hock, kale and s turmeric egg.

Golden crispy coating surrounded the smooth luscious leek and cheddar filling. The puree itself was delicate in flavours which allowed the ham hock and kale to come out and shine.
My friend in crime today chose the Crushed Avocado. Avocado finished with chilli, coriander and lime and accompanies with toasted corn arepas and cherry tomatoes. Something so simple but was told was delicious.

With light meals being offered while you indulge in other things, it leaves for a pleasant experience and able to spend time chatting the afternoon in the quieter end of Hardware street.

If you are not a chocolate fan, the coffee is also one to enjoy. Full bodied and medium strength. The crema is dark and is and easy drink to the palate.

Sure on weekends this place will be crowded of punters trying to grasp onto the newest thing on the city streets, and I laugh as I watch the staff hold back as others just like myself want to get the best photo available.

The staff are friendly and relaxed, which makes for an easy dining experience. Their is no feel of rush although they are attentive but not hovering to push you back out the door.

Will I be going back? Of course, although my friend has already bet me in returning.

She clearly couldn't wait to go again to try something new like the Grilled Banana and pecan loaf served with blueberries, milk crumb, burnt honey marscapone and whit chocolate custard.

Her response..... OMG Best decision EVER!


Hash Specialty coffee & Roasters
113 Hardware Street
8529 0284

Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 9 October 2015

Fattoush Salad with Falafels

1 x 400g Chickpeas
1 x 400g Butter Beans
3 x Rashers of bacon
1 x Brown Onion
3 x Garlic cloves
3 x Eggs
1 x Rd chilli (seeds included)
8 x Semi dried Roama tomatoes
1/4 cup Plain Flour
Salt and Pepper

* Plain flour to coat, peanut oil

4 x Baby Cucumbers
6 x Spring Onions
1 x Bunch Continental parsley
1 x Bunch Mint
15 x Baby Roma tomatoes/ cherry tomatoes
1 x Lemon
Mixed Green Leaves
Olive oil (garlic infused)
4 x Pita Bread rounds

* Natural yoghurt to serve

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth

Once smooth, spoon mixture into dessert spoon sized rolls

On a plate combine flour and seasoning. In a small pan heat peanut oil on medium temperature.

Gently coat falafel mix in flour and set aside. Drop a small amount of the mix into the pan with heating oil, if mix begins to fry your oil is hot enough.

Par cook falafel mix in peanut oil, until a light brown crust is formed. Place falafels on a lined baking tray, season and place in oven on 120c for 30 minutes.

Wash mixed greens and place in mixing bowl

Roughly chop spring onion, mint and parsley and add to bowl

Cut tomatoes in half, and slice cucumbers to preferred size and add to mix.

To Dress, squeeze juice of 1 lemon and lightly drizzle olive oil and mix through salad.

When your falafels have 5-10 minutes left, cut pita bred into small triangles and place in oven to crisp.

To Serve:
Place some Pita bread on a a large serving plate

Top with salad mix

Place remaining pita bread and falafels around the edge of the salad

Finish with Natural Yoghurt.

* you may choose to add some lemon zest to the yoghurt to add a bit more zing to the dish.

For the Love of Coffee

I love coffee, in actual fact you could almost have me as the replacement of a chocoholic and call me a coffaholic.

The aroma of fresh roasted beans that seeps the smell of the beautiful oils, is just the beginning. Like a drug I wake up and within minutes a coffee is in my hand without remembering how it got there.

Today in our daily life we venture out to find the perfect blend of bean and the best Barista in town that can deliver on the expectations of fine coffee.

Melbourne being known for it's cafes and coffee, it is sure that each individual knows where to stop for their morning brew.

My question is however how long do you expect to wait?

I once waited 45 minutes in a busy city cafe in it's opening week just to get a bunny on my latte. Sure if you were with a group of other enthusiasts to get a bunny on their latte it wouldn't be a problem, but I was on my own. Boring and lonely.

Was it worth it you ask? Sure, the coffee was well balanced and I got pretty excited to see that bunny smiling at me. Would I do it again? NO.

I understand that the Barista has more things to think about and it's a technique that not everyone understands.

Each bean variety contains a different flavour, and to extract the oil from those beans to make the delicious crema that holds all the flavours you taste can be hard.

To ensure the deliverance of the quality is the entirety of what the consumer demands to receive.

I wonder though, and it is what I recently think most about is why can meals come out from a kitchen quicker than a coffee.

In a lot of places I visit now, you order your coffee as soon as you are seated. You peruse the menu for a good solid 5 minutes maybe longer when your with someone, and yet your meal is served to you before your coffee has hit the table.

Now I'm not discussing the cafes that place the bunny's on my lattes or the Lions in my cup. Those of course you expect to wait, you should never distract an artist.

I'm talking about the love hearts or the roses. These techniques are the beginning of every Baristas life. Some of the time it's taken that long to get the pretty pattern on the top that it comes to you tepid and the milk has started to aerate and bubble.

I'm on the foreground of service and have a team that deliver monstrous amounts of coffee everyday. I value the perfect roast and my team ensures the grind is right and deliver consistency, and on down time they get to do lion's in cups. But I feel that the importance of a consumer is to ensure the coffee is out within 3 minutes and that flavours are perfect.

Im not sure that each individual wants the art, especially when they just want a quick cuppa or don't have time to wait and get a take away. Even then you'd feel like it's taking 15 minutes.

Have we slowed the service down, by expanding these expectations onto our Barista's. The Roasters have provided Melbourne's cafes with amazing blends, all of which come with scales and automatic grinders, which and dare I say it, back in my day never existed.

Do I classify myself as a Barista? Yes. In 1999 and for many years after I spent hours behind the machine serving the cappuccino with mountains of froth, and in that time the more froth you got the better barista you were. Now not only do I feel OLD, I have developed with the trends to ensure the blend is maximised in flavour and the service is gainfully friendly. But what saddens me is that if ever I was asked if I was a Barista, I would have to say no due to the fact that I can't do art.

I have always been told by many roasters, that for a good coffee it is within the flavour of the bean. And I will always stand by that.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Get your Freak on

Birthdays only come but once a year, but sometimes I wish I could have a birthday everyday. It would give me more reasons to celebrate and feel less conscious about eating all things naughty on any particular day.

Speaking of all things Naughty... it so happens that on my Birthday this year I had the pleasure of dining at Naughty Boy cafe, located on Lygon street.

The name of this cafe says it all really. 

A warm modern café with a giant cheeky boy painted as a feature wall makes for a quirky dining environment.

It is no surprise to grasp that first coffee as you gaze across the menu hoping for something to launch at you. However on this occasion, I had it all planned. I had imaged for days that I was going to indulge in the Red velvet pancakes and join it with a Freak Shake.

It’s my Birthday after all and I need no judgement on my choices.

Soft cloud like Red velvet pancakes donned with mascarpone cheese, freeze dried mandarin, berries, citrus powder and burnt meringue was exactly what I expected it to be.

Not an overly sweet breakfast but texturally made for an adventure on your palate. Meringue and chocolate fudge like pieces added the hint of sweetness, but with the tartness of citrus and berries it evened it back out. Add that creamy mascarpone and it’s a luscious exotic experience.
The Benedict was a lovely savoury option and a crowd pleaser.  Beautifully poached eggs exploded as you cut through them, which lay atop of grilled sourdough, pulled ham hock and smothered with apple cider hollandaise.

The hollandaise was lovely and light compared to the norm being made with the cider, which was very pleasing.

Now lets get to the sugar explosion of the day. The Freak Shakes.

Hitting the Melbourne food scene with an explosion these crazy shakes are monstrous but fun.
With my frutilicious Pavlova shake; it was a full powered sugar high in itself. Coconut milk based shake with passionfruit curd, mango sorbet, Pavlova, fresh fruits and finished with fairy floss.

The other was A Salted caramel shake with sticky date rice pudding, nutella rim, bitter praline and chocolate floss. Rich, decadent and a definite challenge in itself to complete.

The menu at Naughty boy has exciting dishes that will make you return, such as a Knuckle sandwich, the Hot Hanoi Roll or the Buttermilk waffles.

Service is friendly and welcoming adding to the overall experience. We will be visiting again very soon.

Naughty Boy Cafe
499 Lygon Street
Carlton North
9041 7870

Naughty Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Happiness is.......

Where did the blue skies go? 2 days ago we were all praising the first day of spring and today we are back in out woollen jumpers venturing to grasp a hot coffee and comfort foods.

Twenty & Six is a quaint little cafe away from the main street of North Melbourne. Here it sits with it's cozy and calm interior making it the perfect spot to get out of the chill in the air.

Staff greet with a pleasant welcome and have ensured that coffee is ordered as soon as you are seated.

The menu speaks fresh and flavoursome and being filled with an array of dishes, showcasing a large use of fruit and vegetables.

For me the Sticky black rice pudding with banana, coconut cream, passionfruit and buffed rice. As it is presented the aroma of passionfruit surrounds you. Your mouth instantly connects with your senses and can't wait to hoe into it.

Elegantly presented in a large bowl that you can wrap your arms around as your spoon is dug through the fresh ingredients.

Not overly sweet and well balanced with the sprinkles of the puffed rice and crisp sugary corn flake pieces.

The problem for me was that I couldn't finish it. I wanted to believe me, it's delicious, but alas I met my match.

Twenty & Six is a lovely quiet place to sit and unwind during the week, watching the world go by, read a book with a coffee and just escape to some peace.

Weekends they are packed with locals and being a place that can sit about 20 inside at 8 or so outside, you'd need to get in early for your morning brew and breakfast.

I'd be interested in returning again to try some savoury dishes with the Herb crusted kingfish ceviche or the lamb shoulder being my next picks. Otherwise I'm going for the Brioche french toast, but taking a friend so I can steal some of theres to compare.

Twenty & Six
594 Queensberry St
North Melbourne
9329 0298

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Saturday, 22 August 2015

A Mighty Desire

With a big appetite for food but wanting to get away from the usual breakfast flavours I stumbled by Mighty Boy Eatery and am glad that it happened.

This small eatery decked with cement polished floors, simplistic white brick walls and wooden seating, made for a calm feel. Not being over crowded in design work made for an open and relaxed environment to diners.

An all-Asian inspired menu speaks unique to the palate when going for breakfast. Different from the surrounding competition of Fitzroy, leaves it to be one of a kind.

It’s difficult to decide as it is far from what I am used to and for a person who hasn’t been to anywhere in Asia leaves me nervous to choose. But hey, it’s all about the adventure right?

With a menu that says “Our Favourite” next to a dish made for ease of mind. Coconut Soup with roasted banana, peanuts and black sesame seeds was a delightful sweet dish. Warm coconut milk exposing slight roast banana essence as it lay at the base of your bowl. On a rainy winter day this was nothing better to experience.

Now I have to say, I was by myself when I had the Coconut soup and was so excited about it, I had to return with Paul so I could try more things. That’s got to say something right!

On my return visit it was just as amazing as the first. Paul even showed excitement to the choices.

The choice to have the Soul egg and the Potato hash was on the cards.

Soul Eggs, delicately cooked with brioche soldiers, smoked salmon and a citrus ricotta with Thai basil leaves was a delicate and rich breakfast. With touches of chilli it made for a great well balanced breakfast, but nothing to intense.

The Cheesy Potato hash served with chilli, poached egg and spring onion too was delicious. Crispy thin potato hash added a complex texture and caught the flavours of the chilli heat. We added a side of spiced sausage, which was bold in flavour and added depth to the dish.

Now I am normally one to laugh at those who eat out and just order the toast with condiments. Because seriously… why wouldn’t you try something outside the square?

But here I will commend you in trying the Kaya toast. A sweet egg custard topped brioche slices lightly toasted, sprinkled with coconut. On the side lightly poached eggs and soy sauce.
Confused as to how to eat it, on it’s own with no egg or soy the brioche is overloaded in sweetness making it similar to the custard buns and can make it difficult to get through. To cut through the sweet flavours spread some egg and pour some soy over the top and you have just created this sweet salty combination that brings your tastebuds alive.

It was a pleasure to experience and on both visits left with a very happy stomach and excited tastebuds. It's always nice to get out and try something new, and heres a place to do it.

Mighty Boy Eatery
61 Gertrude Street

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Eat Better Feel Better

Exposed brick walls decorated with old create boxes and industrial lighting is just the beginning of your experience at Lux Foundry. The pleasant feel of an organic inspired interior always makes for a pleasant experience and well suited for the Brunswick scene.

Local brew of Proud Mary never goes astray with the knowledge that the coffee will be respected and deliver on a full-bodied blend. It is always a great to support your local businesses and with me being a fan of Proud Mary, I fell it can only deliver just as much on the food.

With warm welcomes from multiple staff the relaxed atmosphere is heightened knowing you will be looked after well. Both diners and staff all seem to be smiling and watching the floor as I often do I couldn’t feel the stress of what you would usually see on a busy Saturday morning. All tables inside and out are full, but yet the staff are relaxed and so to are the diners.

So what to eat…..? The menu speaks to you in fresh and delicious flavour combinations but yet not over loading in overpowering produce that would leave to an undesired meal.

This morning we abolished some rather tasty breakfast of the Smoked Salmon and the Breakfast Quesadilla.

The Smoked Salmon breakfast served with cauliflower fritters served on top of a horseradish crème fraiche, capers and lemon. Your choice to add the poached egg of which I highly recommend, it is done perfectly and oozes nothing but yolky goodness over the fritters.
If you would like to add a hint of spice to the dish I can also recommend the most amazing well-balanced accompaniment of the caramel chilli. Oh my such a glorious thing, if the heavens were opened they would be singing sweet choir songs of happiness.

The Breakfast Quesadilla is filled with subtle spiced refried beans, cheese, cactus, and tomatillo salsa verde, chilli and coriander. A pleasant meal but would have liked more of a morning kick of spice in there. To ours we added some chorizo and a side of green chilli relish, which assisted in the kick we were after.

With the ordinary choices of the usual Big Breakfast to the more unique of the Smoked Salmon or the quesadilla I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to venture and explore the horizons of flavour combinations at breakfast and go for something you wouldn’t cook yourself at home.

With service being on a high and meals that are respected and look amazing it is a place you wouldn’t want to miss for much longer.

Lux Foundry
21 Hope Street
9387 8075

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