Saturday, 12 November 2016

A Tropical Treat

When you think of Fruit Punch your mind takes you away to the tropics and being showered in mangoes, watermelons and sweet fruit goodness, an array of bright colours and of course white sand beaches.

Here at Punchbowl Canteen they certainly deliver in the vibrant tropical colours in a more than uplifting way. Clean white walls with its quirky pastel fruity colours splashed around this spacious dining hall.

The menu is tasty and enticing with a great assortment of flavour combinations in not only meals but in beverages as well.

The Sunday Peaches Smoothie made with a coconut milk and yoghurt base was mixed with sweet Peaches, mango nectar and banana. A definite rev up for the morning, and also very pleasant to enjoy in the coming hot summer days.

Not one to be on the healthy side of the wall and would still like to enjoy something on the milky side other than coffee, then head for the milkshakes. Flavours such as Strawberry cheesecake, Banana Cream pie and Gingerbread are sure to entice you.

Back when I was young my grandparents used to surprise my sister and I with what they called a wigwam for a gooses bridle. This always has resulted in being given a gingerbread man. So from a very young age I have always been an advocate for gingerbread. 

Sweet gingernut biscuits overloaded the top of the spiced thick shake. It was as though you had a large serving of milk and cookies. Dunking those biscuits into the drink made for a rather enjoyable tasty beverage.

The meals were delicious and full of flavour. Dishes such as Pork Belly with cauliflower and miso puree and apple remulade or even just pumkin donuts with cinnamon sugar, whipped yoghurt and freeze dried mandarin screams enjoyment.

The Korean Fried Chicken Burger was full of bold spicy flavours that coated the lightly battered chicken making it for a finger licking, kick in the face burger.

This saucy coasted chicken is well balanced with the kim chi slaw and the soft seeded bun, which made for delectable eating.

In 1738, the invention of the Scotch egg was created in London. Traditionally a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat crumbed and then fried or baked.

It has become an icon of England where by other countries have grasped its recipe and as we would, change and develop it to make it more modern but still yet delicious.

Here at Punchbowl they deliver on the Scotch egg recipe by creating a Fish cake scotch egg, served on radish, pear, chard and beetroot salad and finished with a curry mayo.

This inspiring dish was purely delightful. Its soft boiled egg nestled in the fish cake glistened with is soft yolk. It was like sunshine on a plate.
A luscious spread of curry mayo under the fresh salad balanced off the golden crisp coating of the fish cake.

I would have ordered two servings with no question and it is truly a dish I would return to again. I can not explain in words on how delicious this was. It was actually what made me visit here when I was reading the menu, and trust me when I say I was not let down.

Dining at Punchbowl Canteen was great. The team was vibrant which matched it's decor and the food tasty and delicious.

Busy during the week over the lunch period being located in the industrial section of Port Melbourne, and would only expect it to continue to be busy during breakfast on the weekends. Don't let this steer you away from a visit though, there is plenty of seats available inside and out.

Punchbowl Canteen
1 Fennell St
Port Melbourne
8534 9957

Punchbowl Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 27 August 2016

To be one with the Lady

When you look for somewhere to gather with friends and have the opportunity to pass time over conversations and laughter then I have found the location for you.

Lady Carolina sits on the corner of Lygon and Glenlyon in Brunswick is set for all your social needs. Dine in the front restaurant where it is decked in candlelight and warm interior, long bars and bustling with diners.

Out the back is a more casual environment, layed down with grass flooring with a which stripped bar and trees. The perfect place to catch up with friends over some cocktails and a Mexican feast.

Start with the simple char grilled corn on a cob smothered with coriander mayo and quesco fresco cheese. These cobs are certainly a crowed pleaser with us all ordering a second round.

To follow was a fresh and delicious White fish Ceviche with citrus, chilli and sweet potato crisps. Fresh and vibrant, this beautiful tender fish with citrus bites in the flesh and a slight hint of chilli and coriander. A great starter to get those taste buds sing.

Tostadas are a treat at Lady Carolina with Spiced chicken, lettuce, cream and quesco fresco cheese. Bite size fun with bold flavours of spice and fresh shreds of lettuce.

Match these with a Mojito or a Caipirinha and the Tostadas will go down a treat.

Try the Taco of slow cooked pork wrapped in banana leaves and coated with a luscious achiote spice finishes with onion orange and habinero pickles.

Bold flavours surround this tender pork  on a soft taco shell. A true delight and went down exceptionally well with the crowd.

There is no better way to finish a meal than to devour servings of Churros served with a dark chocolate and caramel sauce.

Golden sugared coating surrounding a soft centre, with hints of cinnamon. Accompany this with a delightful

Espresso Martini, and this will become the most tremendous finish to anyone meal.

Lady Carolina was a great place to spend time over cocktails, and Mexican Canteena meals.

Service is friendly and attentive and the atmosphere is bubbling through out the night.

All dishes were well balanced and enjoyable, and will be one that we intend to return to. If you haven't already visited Lady Carolina, you should, it won't disappoint you.

Lady Carolina
175-177 Lygon Street
8592 - 7382

Lady Carolina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 22 August 2016

A Spoonful of Sugar

As a child I would always imagine a world of puffy white marshmallow clouds that I could bounce off and be showered with candy, drink from chocolate rivers and slide down rainbows made out of sour fruit straps.

This has never come true to no surprise however today I came pretty close to this dream.

Sugar Buns Cafe is pushing the limits to the craze of the Mega Shakes, so much so that you are almost terrified to touch it.

A wide selection of choices from the Strawberry shortcake to something that is called Candy Land. As much as Candy Land would have been the closest image to my dream, I saw it go out to another table and I was to scared to take on the challenge.... Chicken!

The Strawberry shortcake was a calm strawberry milkshake finished off with a solid mound of strawberry ice cream and then covered with strawberry tarts, white chocolate tim tams, musk sticks, wafers, strawberry coulis covered sponge cake, fresh strawberries and Persian fairy floss.

Don't worry my next dentist appointment is at tooth hurty tomorrow........

A Malteser Mega shake was also an addition to the table with a very lovely and subtle Vanilla Malted milk with a chocolate rimmed glass packed with chocolate ice cream and finished with an array of maltesers, tim tams, wafers, chocolate sponge coated with chocolate sauce, malt crumb and Persian fairy floss.

It was a pleasant change from gorging oneself in chocolate, and not too sweet as the vanilla malt calms it all down.

For those who shudder to these extravagant Mega Shakes knowing it would be too much, too sweet and there would be no way to finish, it's ok. There are tiny sizes available so you can experience the same as everyone else but in moderation.

The Salted caramel was so cute as it came to the table. Salted pretzels, Jersey caramels, Persian fairy floss and the good old lollygoble bliss bombs over take the tiny jar of caramel milkshake.

A meal within itself and a perfect size for kids and those who don't want to fill up and have a meal.

Lunch was a tasty experience and if we didn't all go so crazy on the giant sized shakes we would have tried more. But this just means we will have to go back.

The Smashed Avo Rosti was a delight. Crisp golden compressed rosti sat atop of crimson beetroot humus, and then coated with smashed avocado, oozing poached eggs and a side of raw veg and goats cheese.

Fresh vibrant and a stunning picturesque dish that wows the crowds as it bypasses your table.

On weekends lines are out the door and at 11:30 during a weekday this cafe is strong in trade and turning over tables quickly.

It's clearly a place to stop in and catch a glimps or spoil oneself in a shake and a bite to eat.

Sugar Buns Cafe Bakery
Shop 1A, 55 Hallam Rd
Hampton Park
8658 3414

Sugar Buns Cafe Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 19 August 2016

Toasted to Perfection

I don't know about you, but there is something about a toasted sandwich that makes you feel good. Is it the buttery crisp coating, or is it the gooey melted cheese on the inside?

A simple yet fullfilling delight that you would never turn your face to, if it was served to you by even the worst cook you know.

Toasta has been something that has been on my radar for some time now, seeing their food trucks out and about, but being a weekend worker I have not been able to get there. Luckily for me Toasta has opened up a small little place nested on the corner of the quiet streets of West Melbourne.

A simple offer of toasted sandwiches accompanied with a coffee or for those luxury types a beer or cider. Bringing things back to basics with a modern twist of flavour combinations.

Take for example the the 'Greg', thick bread slices filled with a mix of scrambled egg, capers and dill with a touch of mayo. Added as extra sliced bacon and pickles. Rich but an utter flavour bomb to experience. I would highly recommend to enjoy this with a beer for a lunch time choice,

Now the 'Mack Daddy' is the daddy of all the toasted sandwiches here. Cheesy mac accompanied with pulled pork, bbq sauce, caramelised onions and of course cheese. Stings of melted cheese pulls away from the first bite you take, and follows with a creamy salty taste everything that makes the world of eating perfect. Hints of succulent pork cuts through with the onions and bbq sauce.

This one was the one that did it for me today - my suggestion to encounter for a first try.

For those who like to overdose themselves in cheese goodness, then grab the 'Rami', gorgonzola and cheese blend melted together with pastrami, spinach and caramelised onions. This very rich but delicious toastie is one for the cheese fans. A beautiful salty cheese combination mellowed out with the slithers of pastrami is well enjoyed. I do have to say that when I say rich, it is intense, recommending it to be one to share.

Service here is welcoming and humble. It's a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. For something on the run or to take a quick lunch break it is a fabulous way to unwind.

Be sure to check out Toasta & co or find out where their food trucks are headed. It's worth the hunt and sure to be a crowed pleaser.

Toasta & Co
181 Adderley Street
West Melbourne
9995 0308

Toasta & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 10 July 2016

American Smoked Delights

There's nothing better in this weather than to head to a smoke house and gorge oneself in meats, craft beers and cocktails.

Melbourne is increasing it's American BBQ restaurants and makes me very excited. I love the varieties of smokes that add different depths of flavour to a brisket, pork or even chicken.

Up in Smoke located in Footscray is a smoke house that shouldn't be missed. Delivering an amazement of meats that are tender, juicy and perfectly smoked.

Starting the day off with some Hot Wings with ranch dressing and accompanied by a fresh cocktail, was a great beginning to the day. Coated in smokey spices and enough to get your palate active as small hits of chilli dances on your taste buds, but held with restraint so that they don't burn your senses.

The Meat tray is probably the best option to select here, ensuring that you get a taste of everything they offer. Brisket, pulled pork and my favorite Jalapeno and cheese sausage. OMG!!!!

Served with pickles, milk buns and a choice of 2 sides, it's the perfect and ideal choice when your with other meat lovers.

The brisket is melt in your mouth and falls softly away making you just want to continue to eat more and more. The sausage is perfectly balanced with heat and light hints of cheese. One of the best sausages I've eaten. We chose to enjoy with a serving of chips and the apple fennel salad. These I think were the perfect option, a touch of freshness to cut through the rich meats and something fried is always a great option.

Dessert enticed us with a banana cream pie and the special dessert of Smoked chocolate almond brownie served with raspberry and peanut butter.

The Banana cream pie is the BOMB! A shortbread based filled with fresh banana and for texture bites of banana crisps finished with a light cream. Sensational and loved every bite.

The brownie was rich and intense, glad is was served with ice cream. The smoked chocolate was decadent and delicious, and made the dessert to be remembered and different to other smoke houses.

I can't wait to go again, and am very excited that they have a little retail shop on the side so I can top up my kitchen with delights.

Up in Smoke
28 Hopkins Street
9689 8188

Up in Smoke Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 17 June 2016

And I Ate

Winter is putting on it's charm with all this drizzle and gloomy skies. Normally on a day off such as this I would be rugged up on the couch watching TV series back to back, but today there was a need a need for food.

Ten One Ate has been on my list for some time now, and one of my work colleagues keeps talking about it so there was no time like the present than to venture out into the streets of Essendon to experience it myself.

This all sustainable and organic kitchen using local produce, has designed a rather leisurely menu to make for pure enjoyment.

With a menu that offers Buttermilk pancakes with a limoncello curd or Truffle scrambles eggs served with mushrooms, goats curd and caramelized onions is sure to get the apertite thinking.

Our choice this morning through was for the Potato waffles served with a hot smoked salmon, pickled heirloom beets, crisp kale, salsa verde and oozy poached eggs.

This picture perfect breakfast was a true enjoyment to eat. With a well balanced flavor combination, it was a perfect start to my morning. Waffle pressed potatoes that had a perfect golden glow topped with a good serving of smoked salmon which with the pickles of the beetroot and salt from the salsa verde, made for delightful eating. A small spray of fresh lemon lifted it even more. Adding some fresh avo and of course some bacon (you can't have breakfast without bacon) left me comatosed it gluttonous eating.

The other dish of the day was the Eggs benedict. Now this is no ordinary Benedict, in fact the one at Ten One Ate is served with delicious slow cooked pork shoulder, crisp pancetta, apple cider hollandaise and finished with apple pearls.

Not only did this dish look amazing it too was amazing. It is a picture perfect breakfast with is glistening apple pearls that truly are bursts of granny smith apples. Perhaps a little to sweet for this particular dish, however absolutely delicious. So delicious I would eat an entire jar of these.

With an addition of roasted mushrooms and avo, the breakfast was great. Pork shoulder was perfectly smothered in a luscious sauce, but not over powering through the hollandaise. This rich and tasty breakfast is one not to pass up.

Now because I can and felt like I needed to gormatise myself even more and go that extra mile in spoiling myself, the crazy shake came out to play.

Giant over loaded milk shakes that really is a meal within itself are always a fun table discussion. It can also become a somewhat regret after you finish it and have a sudden overwhelming feeling that you shouldn't have finished an entire one to yourself. Never the less, I had to do it.

The choice of the Salted Caramel finished with popcorn, macarons and a giant marshmallow came out almost as big as the Eureka towers.

Creamy caramel goodness left me feeling very full, but so satisfied.

This delightful cafe is one that you need to try and also return to. The vibe is bustling and the staff very friendly and attentive through out. You really have to get there.

Ten One Ate
1018 Mt Alexander rd
9379 4892

Ten One Ate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fresh is Best

A delightful bakery that serves fresh delicious delights and consistently has a line out the door for take away and full tables for most of the morning, is really saying something. It's a good place to be.

Rustica is a modern and quaint little bakery that is bustling with local trade.

Surprised in our luck we were able to stop in and grab a bite to eat and we were very happy we did.

A Croque monsieur was not like the normal. Made with a soft pumpkin brioche and coated in cheese goodness and stuffed with ham was expected to be rich, and with seeing the size passing our table as we waited questioned how we would conquer it.

To our surprise it was delicate and light and truly delicious and amazing to eat. So much so we went and brought a loaf of the pumpkin bread so we could make it at home. It's that good!

I went for the selection board, filled with a salmon croquette, smashed avo, fritter and a poached egg with an oozey yolk for the hot selection. For the cold a bircher museli jar and cold pressed juice.

What a fantastic idea, especially when you are so indecisive of whether you want hot or cold, savory or sweet.

Although the cafe may be small, the menu is bold and have some great delicious ideas to please all palates.

Once finished and your up and paying, check out the pastry and bread displays to take home. Delicate cream filled donuts and rich croissants was very welcomed in the afternoon with a cup of tea.

Rustica Sourdough Bakery
402 Brunswick street
9417 7775

Rustica Sourdough Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 26 May 2016


Morning sun beams shine through the tall bared windows, which stream across the dark timber tables and shining above the succulents that sit pretty on the window ledge. It is a relaxing and calm beginning to a Sunday morning, and to be frank I wouldn't have it any other way.

The Glass Den, positioned on the outskirts of the CBD and worth the extra drive to visit. Its tall windows and casual seating sets the scene of a relaxing and modern environment. It's everything you look for in a cafe, a stylish and hip brings nothing but pleasant moods to the scene.

Soaking up the morning sun on my back I begin with a luscious St Ali blend coffee and get excited about the menu.

Choosing something off the special board is always fun, it gives you more of what the chefs enjoy creating and lets them expand there minds and test new ideas.

The choice of the Spinach open omelette with herded infused fetta, beetroot mousse, kale sesame crumble and red chilli was a hit. I swear it looked just like I stepped into the garden. Amazing combinations of flavors and so pretty to look at. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Vibrant green omelet covered in an array of soft mousse, salty fetta pieces and a delicate crumb was truly a delight to have.

The other;  Egg au Gratin. Golden hash or Gratin with confit portobello mushrooms, broccolini and a runny poached egg finished off with rich creamy hollandaise sauce and kale sesame crumb.

A breakfast for the rich flavour seekers and this too was a pleasure to eat. Add a serve of the pork belly on the side and you will be set not just for breakfast but for lunch as well. A solid breakfast but really delicious to enjoy.

The Glass Den will have something for everyone's palate and to go with that is licensed and have also got a great juice selection to put a little bit more oomph to the start of the day.

As much as I wanted to continue to indulge my morning away here, I feel that I would have turned into Violet Beauregarde, but a little less blue and needing to be rolled back out through the door by the staff.

It is a cafe that I wished I had visited earlier, but must say with the current menu offer it will be one to tell friends about.

The Glass Den
14 Urquhart Street
9354 5032

The Glass Den Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Super Delicious

Theres never a moment where I don't get excited about going out and finding delicious food combinations where it explodes nothing but flavours and textures. Where chefs have thought about the dish and how they can take it to the next level.

Being a home cook, I sometimes wish I had the resources to do what they do, to make my casseroles blow my husbands mind and have people lining up for hours to enjoy my cooking....wait take that back, please don't line up at my door to taste my food. You get the idea though.

An evening out at Supernormal was a perfect evening of cocktails and food delights. Staff where on point with service, friendly and efficient and fast. A sometime rarity, when you are in a busy restaurant the upping the ante doesn't always show.

Food at Supernormal is inspiring, and showcase some amazing produce with sublime flavour combinations. Nothing with so much power that it hides the main component of the dish. Everything is with restraint and respect.

Tuna with smoked tomato, pickles and a spring onion oil danced calmly as you enjoyed each mouthful. Tender raw tuna with crisp herbs for texture had slowly soaked up the oil and smoked tomato leaving a light and delicate combination of flavours. A perfect way to start the evening with a cocktail.

For something a little more intense, the smoked beef with mustard leaf and clam mayonnaise was beautiful. This creamy but yet delicate dish was a pleasure to eat and worked well after the tuna. The elements worked gracefully together and if able plate licking worthy.

Prawn and chicken dumplings in a chilli oil were a blessing of enjoyment. You can never say no to perfect dumplings like these. I have to say, dumplings in chilli oil are one of my favorites and these little bite sized flavour bombs did not disappoint.

The one thing that you have to taste and is worth going the full serve is the Duck Bao. A twice cooked duck leg or half, served with a sticky plum sauce that you pull apart and nestle it within cloud like bao's. The skin.... oh the skin is so delectable you wish you had a bucket of it.

Desserts were delivering a sweet sweet finish with a peanut butter parfait, with a thick salted caramel sauce and the softest chocolate that melts so smoothly as you glutonise over each mouthful. Such heaven of desserts, but rich all the same - so be careful or share.

The other the sour cream cake, with a black sesame ice cream , strawberries and yuzo sauce. Wow what a finish. This cake is easy to eat and not too sweet. A waiters choice and a good one at that too. Highly recommended.

It truly was a pleasure to eat here and surly would again. Cocktails and great food, always a fantastic combination with a friend, partner or group.

180 Flinders Lane
9650 8688

Supernormal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato