Friday feasting in South Melbourne…

Another good day to work in South Melbourne… I started my day with an early morning spin class at South Melbourne Rec. A very positive move from someone intending to eat out for both breakfast and lunch… a negative move in fashion stakes though… So annoying having to plan your outfit the night before… especially when you have a bit of a late one… So I ended up heading to breakfast looking super cool in a pair of denim knee-length jeans (?!?), two sizes too small… dammit! And also no jacket, on a morning where autumn was well and truly showing her presence… double dammit…

First up, a breakfast meeting at St Ali. First we had to do a quick drive-by Freshwater Place to pick up one of the attendees…. That shows the love we have for St Ali… that we would do a round trip to pick up and drop off our buddy to eat a quick brekkie. Had a great gossip session over a couple of yoghurt boards and Stacey’s breakfast antipasto – A made-up breakfast of sides with seemingly no central focus but when combined it made perfect sense…. Similar to our conversations really….

Yoghurt, chunky muesli & poached plums

This was a case of me ordering light as I knew I was out for lunch later that day. Pretty tasty light brekkie but it’s hard to go to St Ali and not eat My Mexican Cousin…. mmmmmm…. must eat corn fritters…
St Ali on Urbanspoon

Lunchtime was another girls gossip session… Obviously in between the gossip, we had some serious work discussions too right…? FUN! The weather had improved drastically since the morning and it was actually too hot to walk to Lamaro’s from Clarendon St. I have already written about Lamaro’s on my blog but I just love eating and telling you about it so I figured since it’s so delish, it worthy of a second story. Also I ate very different dishes this time. We shared the tasting plate between three. It was HUGE! On the menu it says “a seasonal selection of tasty morsels for the land, sea and garden”. No kidding!

The incredible tasting plate

Let’s play spotto from the top: I can see quick fried prawns, goats chess fritters, salami, prosciutto, marinated mushrooms, pickled onions, gherkins, mini toasts, olives, relish, pate, rillette, beetroot salad and…. PORK BELLY!!!! wahooo!! Seriously impressive! And easily enough for the three of us!… ooh I forgot breadsticks too! ha!

For mains it was nearly three for three on the raviolo special. Pumpkin filled and topped with burnt butter sauce, walnuts and chives but Lise couldn’t go past the parma… An old favourite. I sensed a minor case of food envy on her part. I also forgot to take pics before we had hoed in too much… Oops. But I did take dessert pics of Jocks sorbets and the yummy chocolate fondant.
Lamaro's on Urbanspoon

Great day… great, great day! and for dinner… peanuts and rose… Woot!!

Family fun at the chocolate warehouse…

Another fabulous family field day. I call it a field day as it meant another trek across the river to East Brunswick… It is so so far… I mean I get to Victoria St and I figure I must be there already and it’s not even half way! Dammit and obviously I am already late by this stage… oops! My wonderful aunt (who lives in East Brunswick… (I wonder who chose the venue huh?) and my cousin who traveled from Perth (yes okay she wins!) were waiting… hungry! We had scheduled brunch for 12 noon as I had a wedding the day before and was worried I wouldn’t be feeling so great…. Turns out I was actually okay, unfortunately my sister visiting from London, was not so lucky and became the “bad niece” as she was so ill she was banned from my car and therefore never even made it for brunch… ha!

So, I eventually arrived at L’atelier de Monsieur Truffe AKA The Warehouse of Mr Nose (?!) according to Google. HAHA! A big open space, a chocolate warehouse, entered through a cool red door on Lygon St. I didn’t immediately see the ladies and therefore made it all the way through to the front (back) counter and chocolate retail space… Woot! I knew I would be back for some take-away choccie before I left! Anyway, I found the fam and Auntie Chrissie mentioned pork belly as soon as I sat down… She must have known my pork belly after noon rule… I had decided before I had even looked at the menu…

pork belly roll, with mango, coriander, & thinly sliced chilli

Mozzarella salad with rocket, pear & hazelnut

Both Auntie and myself had the pork belly. Lots of bread but delicious and rich, with the herbs, fruit and chilli cutting through the fat of the belly… YUM! Lil cuz had the mozzarella salad which was equally pretty but definitely not as filling. Lucky Auntie was so generous with her brunch as I definitely wasn’t.

Four and a half fabulous hours of conversation, and 3 bags of chocolate treats (including a little box for “bad niece”) later… I was en route back to East St Kilda, thinking how incredibly lucky I am to have such a great family!

L'atelier by Monsieur Truffe on Urbanspoon

A GAStronomical start to the day in South Melbourne

There are a lot of good things about working in South Melbourne. Food choice being at the top of my list, particularly brekkie choices. If I go out for brekkie it’s rare that I would go past some kind of hot dish with eggs. My feeling is, if it’s cold, it’s pretty easy to do myself. There is one exception that I go back to time and time again…. The muesli at GAS on Coventry St South Melbourne. I am not going to say it’s the best in Melbourne as I cannot claim to have tried them all (and have heard the muesli at Pope Joan is to die for) but in my muesli realm it is definitely the best yet. I am talking about the roasted muesli of course.. And although this dish is essentially a cereal, I think it would be difficult to claim a low fat tag…. I could be wrong but his stuff tastes far too good to be healthy!

On this particular morning, a work friend and I were just going to grab an energy boosting bite to eat before a three hour meeting. We went to GAS but we were trying to be healthy so we ordered away from our standard roasted muesli with greek yogurt and two serves of rhubarb and instead ordered a similar, seasonal speciality… the mango cheeks with rhubarb, pomegranate and greek yoghurt…

Mango cheeks, rhubarb, pomegranate and a special side dish

Notice anything..??

We just couldn’t go a brekkie at GAS without the muesli and asked if we could get a little on the side…. hahaha!
Gas Eatery & Supplies on Urbanspoon

Life lessons at Pope Joan

My northside brunch challenge began today with a visit to Pope Joan. I learnt two very important things:

  1. I will never be cool enough to live Northside, no matter how hard I try (and the trying thing is probably the problem)
  2. I LOVE MELBOURNE! I really do!

The morning started early. I have recently had the pleasure (?) of meeting a couple of “breakfast bitches” (who would have thought we would be putting our names and numbers on a list for a table before noon?) and wasn’t keen to see one this morning but while the place was packed (and much bigger than I though), my clever aunt had arrived earlier than me and nabbed a small table in the side courtyard. The problem with a 9:30am brunch is that it isn’t actually brunch, it’s breakfast and therefore I cannot order pork belly. I was intrigued by the polenta waffle with scrambled eggs, avo & smoked salmon and so I ordered it. For me, the only thing it needed was a chunk of butter on top… Only because when I think of waffles, I think of greasy, fattening, delicious waffles and this was much healthier than that. MOST people would MOST likely prefer it Pope Joan’s way. Ha! Chrissie ordered the roasted heirloom tomatoes, with basil and smoked mozzarella rarebit. This is going to sound ridiculous but I always thought rarebit was meat… because it sounds like rabbit obviously… when in fact it’s actually glorified (and super tasty) cheese on toast. It was sensational!! I will definitely be ordering this one next time.

polenta waffle with scrambled eggs, avo & smoked salmon

Roasted heirloom tomatoes with basil & mozzarella rarebit

Three hours later after fabulous food, coffee and brilliant conversation, plus a quick honda civic face-off, I began the trek home. I drove past a couple of other places on my northside brunch challenge list. I drove along Johnson St past Jim’s Greek Tavern (mental note: must go back soon!). I drove over the river next to the Collingwood Children’s Farm into leafy kew, and at that point realised what an awesome city we live in and how glad I am we moved here for my formative adult years… Even though I had called it Smellbourne and laughed at the brown river when initially told of the move from beachside Sydney… Oops!

Pope Joan on Urbanspoon

A Northside brunch pledge

I posed a question on facey the other day:

Can I please have some brunch suggestions for NOTR (north of the river)? What are your favs?

Wow, what a response! It could have been my most popular facebook post ever! So I have compiled the list in order of votes and am now aiming to brunch my way through them in order over the next 12 months or so… First stop 9:30am tomorrow at Pope Joan. Here is the list for you:

pope joan 4
three bags full 3
apte 2
auction rooms 2
the premises 2
twenty & six 2
albert street food and wine store 1
arcadia 1
backstreet 1
birdman eating 1
de clieu 1
di bella 1
eat, drink, man, woman 1
gluttony 1
ici 1
madame sou sou 1
a minor place 1
Mixed business 1
Proud mary 1
rays 1
seven seeds 1

This makes me think I should create a tab dedicated to reader’s input for places to try… Or maybe the facebook page is fine? Mapo seems to be doing very well so far!

The Duchess & The Smith

I had a fab eating day last Sunday. It started with a brunch in the west. I don’t often cross the Westgate to eat but we wanted a change from the norm and with a little man in tow, a trip to Williamstown beach was on the cards. I put a post out onto facey for some west recommendations and only got two which suggests some unchartered waters perhaps?

We decided on The Duchess of Spotswood based on the quote “it’s really good…. even for the west”. I had the prettiest brekkie ever called Simple Pleasures, and it really was a bunch of delicious, simple, pretty ingredients! The rest of the menu looked amazing too. I think we will be making the trip back.

Poached eggs with marinated avo, heirloom tomatoes, goats curd, radish, peas, herbs

The foreshore stroll was highly enjoyable, especially for the little man Gus, and his running buddy Ben, dodging bikes as they raced each other along the waterfront.

For dinner Ben and I accompanied Ben’s dad and another couple (family friends from France) to The Smith in Prahran. I was really excited to try it as I had heard great things and it’s super local for me. We decided on the $65/head 5 courses menu. This always makes me happy because I get to try more things! Woot! To start we ordered some bubbles, once again celebrating getting engaged (you can never drink too much bubbles). Sidenote: It was at this stage my intention to drive home. It became clear quite quickly however, that the entire dinner was going to proceed in French… hhmmmm… I understand of course, that when I get married in December I will become half french and I am really excited about it… It’s just that my second language skills suck! So, at this stage the decision was made to leave the car and really enjoy the fine food and wine as I couldn’t understand anything else that was going on at my table. The waiter certainly found my situation amusing and was really helpful in filling my glass regularly with the fab Crawford River Riesling

unfortunately... I can't remember which fish this was... prob due to the wine consumption

lamb cooked two ways, with peas and jus.... by the looks of things

So I really enjoyed the entire evening… including the conversation by the end when I’d had enough wine to join in… even if by joining in I just mean yelling out the words that I knew… oops

Duchess of Spotswood on Urbanspoon