157 Spring St, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph (03) 9639 0335
Gelato fever has struck Melbourne! With the arrival of the Sydney imports N2 Extreme Gelato and Gelato Messina, I was reminded of our visit to Spring St Grocer for a good old fashioned ice cold treat we had, ironically on a freezing cold Melbourne Spring day.
Mini Me patiently wait for the gelato
The artisanal gelato here is to-die-for, and I love how they offer a great selection of flavours that changes daily.
When you finish the delicious treat you can pick up organic fruit and vegies and a great variety of gourmet ingredients in the grocery section, reminiscent of the local Grocers of the old.
I remember when Grill'd was new to the scene - it was a one of the first great alternative to the overly greasy heavy burgers from the local take-away or the highly processed "burgers" that tasted like anything but. Fast forward to 2013 and the business opens its 28th Victorian store in Fairfield and has become a favourite place for a quick bite. I was invited to check out the store recently and so Mini Me, Macaron Monster and I had lunch there a few weeks ago.
The store is quite big and comfortable, with large communal tables good for big groups and taller, bar-height tables with barstools to perch on.
The kids menu is one of the things that made me visit Grill'd initially, as they have a cute little "Mini Me" Pack ($7.5) comprising of a mini-burger made with either a beef pattie or chicken fillet, with a mini-serve of chips and a choice of juice or water. They come with entertainment in the form of pencils and coloring pages so that I can enjoy my meal in peace!
Mini Me had the Mini-Moo Snack burger ($7.5) which is a smaller version of their full sized burgers. Quite substantial and not that mini in my opinion!
I usually have the Crispy Bacon and Cheese Burger or the Summer Sunset (with pineapple!), but on the day I chose to try their salad. It's been on the menu for a while but for some reason I never noticed it!!! A lovely, lighter, lower-carb option, the Chicken, Pomegranate and Goat's Cheese Salad was delicious and a great alternative when I'm not in the mood for burgers (okay, that's fairly rare!).
I love this strip of shops in Fairfield, as they have an interesting array of shops and of course for those with little kids you've probably visited Fairyfields for a kids party or two. Grill'd is a welcome addition!
Disclaimer : Kids and I dined courtesy of Grill'd Fairfield. Opinions are my own.
2A Prospect Hill Rd, Camberwell 3124 ph (03) 9882 7359
Prospect Espresso is another excellent little coffee place in Camberwell which serves up some pretty nice food. I've been on a number of occasions when I've shopped at the Camberwell shops and have always enjoyed the coffee and pleasant food. The staff have always been friendly, and extremely accommodating when I've had Bubs with me.
Coffee is their forte, and my mochas ($3.8) are consistently smooth and lovely.
Their Breakfast Roll ($12.5) with bacon, poached egg and hollandaise is a pretty filling breakfast. I've had it "burger style", but it also works "deconstructed" when I've shared it with Bubs.
On my most recent visit I noticed the Buttermilk Panna Cotta ($12.5) served with mango mousse, passionfruit and amaretto biscuit on the breakfast menu. I ummed and ahhhed about the decadence of having a dessert for breakfast/brunch - it's surely no more indulgent than having brioche french toast or sticky date pudding right?! Boy, I was so glad I did. Not only was the dish delicious, but I was surprised at how beautifully plated it was! The flavours made me long for our still-missing-in-action Spring weather, with the light fruity mousse a perfect compliment to the oh-so-smooth panna cotta, the added almond crunch of the amaretto bikkies giving it the perfect textural kick. I must say this is one of the most delightful dishes I've tried this year!
The little shop is always packed when I've visited, but the staff have always been friendly and helpful. A must visit when shopping at Camberwell Junction!
I've said on more than one occassion that I am extremely envious of city office workers. Not for the commute obviously, but looking forward to the variety of lunch time offerings would definitely make getting up in the morning to go to work a whole lot easier! I have long heard about the great coffee at Patricia from all my city-worker friends, and I finally dropped in on a day when I was out and about by my self, no work, no kids!
Just as well I didn't bring Bubs, as Patricia is the cutest littlest coffee place, with stand up room only. The staff's friendly, and seem to know their regular clientele well. The hidden unmarked entrance off Little Bourke Street only gave aways its secret by the clusters of suited up workers waiting for their coffee outside.
Like quite a few of the boutique coffee places around town (eg/ Market Lane Coffee), I can't get a mocha here. I opted for a more exotic Costa Rican as a latte. Rich and pretty, I can see why they have such a cult following.
I'd missed out on the Lune croissants for the day, but this was made up by a wonderful canele from Gracious and Delicious.
You lucky CBD workers, I would so love THIS around the corner from my work (or house)!
Coffee stop - standing room only, no high chairs of course!
If you've been out and about eating and drinking, no doubt you would've come across Thankyou Water. Did you know that Thankyou.co is a social enterprise that exists for the sole purpose of funding aid projects in developing countries? I was thrilled to receive a package recently to try out some of their goodies as they expand their repertoire with the introduction of the new Thankyou Food range.
If you've ever read the blurb on the left side of this blog you'd know that Mini Me is a big fan of Callum Hann from Masterchef Season 2. He went on to win Masterchef All Stars, become the Director of Sprout Cooking School, and has now gone on to develop the new range of Thankyou Food products which includes museli, nut bars and oats, all proudly "made with love" in Australia.
We're lucky in Australia to have such an abundance of foods, in both quantity, quality and choice. In contrast there are many in the world who don't even have enough to eat. Thankyou.co Food gives us an opportunity to do a little bit to help change the world. Every product you buy from their range has a unique tracking code, which you can enter in the web app found on http://thankyou.co/projects to track the progress of the food project your purchase has funded.
My family of taste-testers couldn't wait to get into the goodies. The first thing we tried was the Jam-Packed Nut Bar with quinoa and chia seeds. Unbeknownst to me, Hubby had found the pack and started munching on one before I got a chance to take some pictures! The bars are packed with superfoods you can actually see and are really tasty. You'd never even know you're eating something that might be good for you!
The other product we tried was the Apple and Apricot Clusters with pepitas and cinnamon. Mini Me is an ultra slow breakfast eater and getting all the kids off to school in the morning on time is one of my biggest chores! Having the kids eat their brekkie without nagging is a small victory. The clusters have gone down really well this week and in fact today Mini Me had a bowl of this after school as a snack, which surely is a testament to its taste!
Bubs photobombing, trying to get at the Clusters!
Thankyou.co Food fund short term food aid, as well as long-term sustainable food projects for someone in need. Good for my health, good for my soul, I will definitely be trying the other flavours once they become available at my local supermarkets this month! Disclaimer : I received the Thankyou.co food products in this post courtesy of Thankyou.co and AMPR Public Relations. Opinions are my own.
My Bro-in-Law and Sis-in-Law are in town visiting from Overseas, and we've been out brunching Melbourne-style as often as we could manage in the last few weeks. As their visit nears the end, much to the kids' distress, we took the opportunity to visit Touchwood on their second day of opening. This is actually pretty cool, as we had no preconceptions of what to expect, being totally free from reviews and opinions. Most of our cafe visits are usually well planned and researched, but the only things I'd known about Touchwood was that it's brand spanking new, serves 5 Senses coffee, and seats 110. (The last fact being the clincher as it's the school holidays and we didn't fancy waiting to be squeezed into a little cafe with a party of 6 including 3 kids.)
What we found was a large, spacious cafe which was bright, minimalist but welcoming, with concrete floors and a liberal use of wood for furnishing. The back opens up to a wood-decked courtyard where we were seated in a booth, perfect for our group, and extremely kid and pram friendly.
At a glance, the menu serves up interesting modern cafe fare with the usual all day breakfast suspects and lunch from 11:30am. Dishes ranged from porridge, eggs, and fruit bread, to burgers, tacos and po'boys. First thing first for me is of course a smooth, smooth mocha, of good Melbourne standard! ($3.8)
S-i-L had the impressive sounding (and looking) Tequila and citrus cured salmon, with poached eggs, smashed peas, dill, lemon creme fraiche, sauteed endives and sourdough toast ($17.5). She gave her approval and I think I will definitely have to try this on my next visit.
B-i-L had the Omelette, with caramelized shallots, roasted capsicums and buffalo mozarella and basil oil. ($16.5) and a side serve of cotechino sausage ($5). He quite liked this, and I tried some of the sausage which was really flavour-full.
I ordered the Pulled Pork Tacos ($18.5) from the lunch menu. This was really tasty, with the tender pork, contrasting with the crunchy mix of cabbage, fennel and coriander, and the winning addition of the sweet apple compote giving this taco an interesting twist. I also liked that the ingredients were not overly watery even though the pulled pork was moist, which made it a relatively "neat" taco to eat!
Mini Me and Bubs had Scrambled eggs with toast and bacon ($10) from the "Little Peeps" section of the menu. This was a pretty decently sized serve (we all shared!) and the scrambled eggs was lovely and creamy.
Last but not least Macaron Monster, my sweet-toothed child, ordered the Peanut butter and jelly whole meal waffle ($16) with poached raspberries, whipped peanut butter ricotta and peanut brittle, which of course went down a treat. She generously shared some with us all and it was a delicious end to brunch.
A few little things like sharing the deck with smokers and an un-smiling (perhaps stressed?) wait staff common to many cafes were our only negatives. Considering how new it is, Touchwood made a good impression on us and I have no doubt we will be back!
We managed to have dinner out without the kidlets on the weekend, and as a bonus we "detoured" via Fitzroy to try out the new N2 Extreme Gelato that's just landed in Melbourne. Already a fixture in Sydney, I was keen to try out the "instant" ice-creams that's churned on the spot with with liquid nitrogen and a KitchenAid.
The flavours change weekly, and even if you're sceptical about the "gimmick" *cough cough Hubby*, the interesting flavours on offer is surely enough to make you want to give this place a go!
The first flavour we tried was the Creme Brulee ($8) The ice-cream was really smooth, with a lovely custard flavour, and yes, even a brulee sugar top. Their serving size is not small but I could've kept eating this one!
The next flavour was the Deconstructed Chocolate Lava ($8) is a sour cream chocolate gelato that comes with a syringe full of chocolate ganache sprinkled with cocoa powder (Is food more interesting when it comes in a syringe?) The flavour is good but perhaps because I work in health care the syringe thing wasn't as exciting a draw card as it was meant to be for me. The ganache was quite tasty so squirting THAT directly in your mouth is pretty yum and fun.
The star of the night for me was the Earl Grey Ice-cream with Dulce Le Leche ($6). I love the taste of Earl Grey tea in desserts but find that most of the time, it's subtle flavour is stomped all over by whatever other flavouring it's paired with. The Earl Grey flavour is excellent here, with the caramel flavour a sweet complement, making it a perfect combination!
It was Saturday night, and he line was pretty long when we first got there but it moved at a reasonable pace. We were told it was another 20 minutes wait after ordering, but it wasn't as stressful as we weren't waiting with the kids, and the company was fun. Even if you don't buy into novelty food trends (and we have so many in Melbourne!), the ever changing, taste-bud challenging flavours N2 offers will no doubt keep the store busy. Looking forward to more stores opening up across our city!