Bridesmaid brunch at Gardiner & Field

It was probably a mistake to try the new Armadale venue, Gardiner & Field, on it’s first open weekend… especially after a good write-up in Broadsheet earlier this week…

I kinda thought that the old milk bar was going to transform into a cool cafe to give the girls at the Cubby House Canteen some healthy competition… but really, it’s not actually targeting the same crowd… or at least it shouldn’t be but obviously some of the Malvern Mums forgot that the little ones like a babycino and a swing-set as there were certainly a few kiddies filling the valuable real estate in the small cafe…

We knew we would have to wait and we were told 20 minutes… No problem. Five great friends and only one hangover (oh no… not the bride)… Half an hour later a very apologetic waitress explained that a group had finished but they just wouldn’t leave… Understandable. I hate being rushed out of places so we waited patiently for another 15 minutes and eventually sat down and ordered asap…

Spiced quinoa, pumpkin and chickpea fritters with flatbread, spiced yoghurt, coriander and poached eggs

Poached egg with prosciutto and a broad bean, peas, avo & fetta mash

I ordered the quinoa fritters on flatbread. Pretty much clean and lean too, except the flatbread… which was EXCELLENT!!! The whole dish was delish, except the eggs just felt a little out-of-place among all the other ingredients… and I am the one who loves weird stuff… The ladies told me the that broad bean eggs needed more fetta in the mash. Don’t hold back boys! Whack in some flavour or otherwise it’s just too healthy…. The coffee was great, served in really cute aqua cups.

For me this is a place I would return on a weekday… then again, these days I feel like I am writing that at the end of every breakfast story… Basically I just need to stop having hangovers and get up earlier! Dammit!

Gardiner and Field on Urbanspoon

A sisterly coffee in Hawthorn…

A catch up to discuss living arrangements now we are both back in the one city… and we own the one house together… in that one city… inneresting…

Sis is currently renting in Hawthorn, around the corner from Porgie and Mr Jones, a place I have heard a lot about, a place where a queue is standard. Today it was a case of good timing as we rocked up at noon and there were a few tables available… Not for long though, the lunch rush started about 20 mins later…

This was a coffee date but I was super hungry and couldn’t resist an order of folded “scrambles” with fresh herbs and chunks of goats cheese…

Scrambles with fresh herbs & goats cheese

It was really delicious (a nice ordering change for me) and seemed good value for around twelve bucks but I found the menu pricing super confusing with my old favourite eggs and avo on toast at approx $17 yet most of the dishes were around $12 or $13 dollar mark… The avo was costed with a few other things, as an extra at $5 which seems a little extreme for extras too… maybe I have just lost track of how much avos cost these days… It’s just I am not normally a price driven consumer and on this occasion it seemed to stand out. Overall I would definitely re-visit… at noon of course.
Porgie and Mr Jones on Urbanspoon

Brekkie in North Melbourne or was it Carlton…

… It’s tough to get brekkie in North Melbourne… without waiting in a queue… as we learnt on a recent Sunday brekkie.

Mum had requested we go to Duchess of Spotswood after reading my food story from our visit west, but I convinced her that North Melbourne was better brekkie territory so I could knock off another venue on my Northside Brunch Pledge. My intention was to visit the much-lauded Auction Rooms and that was the first address I gave to mum… The parentals were waiting out the front when we arrived… along with about 30 other people… The wait was about 30 mins according to the “brekkie door bitch”… I’m not really keen on queuing for brekkie and I would think that peeps over 50 are generally less inclined so quick-thinking Ben suggested Di Bella around the corner where he’d had a great coffee the week before (little did he know that was also on my list so there were no arguments from me). We jumped into one car and drove around the corner… We didn’t even need to slow down to see the situation was the same if not worse out the front of Di Bella… I clicked onto my Urbanspoon app to suss out the next closest venue (on my list) and we found Seven Seeds around the corner and, by now in the next suburb of Carlton. There was no obvious queue thank god, as Dad’s patience was well and truly waning… Unfortunately, once we got inside, we saw the little group of people milling at the front and were told 20 minutes… This time we did wait and were finally seated out the back on a table under a heater. I quite liked the little outside bit until a bunch of smokers also joined us dammit…

Brekkie was okay. The pics make it look fantastic (I think my best brekkie photos so far). The bacon and egg bagel was definitely the winner but mum’s rosti was a little disappointing with an overpowering oily taste. I choose my standard eggs and avo which was good (I think I am getting bored with my standard…. it might be time to mix it up a bit)

egg & bacon bagel with roasted cherry tomatoes & tomato relish

Heirloom tomatoes w yarra valley feta, avocado & sauce vierge on toasted seeded sourdough

Carrot & Potato Rosti with avo & tomato

I think Seven Seeds deserves another visit when it is our intended destination… and when I can get a little more exciting with my order!

 Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

Girl talk at Chez Dre…

Lunch at Chez Dre was a gossipy affair over some delicious light meals. I was feeling really bad about the last time my friend and I hung out because as usual, my wedding talk took over, and I didn’t manage to ask enough questions about my friend to find out she had a new boyfriend… self-centred bitch that I am! Wedding talk is super boring compared to new boyfriend talk… as we both found out!

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella & Pancetta Bruschetta

Moroccan Baked Eggs with Sourdough

I ordered the bruschetta which comes with an egg. The combination sounded little strange but totally worked for me. The pancetta was fab. The Moroccan baked eggs looked amazing and were ordered with sourdough instead of ciabatta to avoid too much crunch. We basically both ate brekkie at lunch but nothing wrong with that and to top it all off… they had one of their incredible cakes on tasting as we paid the bill… Yyyyeeeeesssssssss!!

Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

Mother’s Day at Axil… Or should we call it Auntie’s Day..?

Stunning weather for Mother’s Day in Melbourne this year… or maybe not. I woke up to heavy rainfall on the window for about the fourth morning in a row… Bob the Dog could tell you exactly how many days it had been, as it would also be the number of days that he hadn’t been for a walk…. oops… Anyway, he definitely wasn’t getting a walk this particular morning either so I snuggled back under the covers… without turning my alarm back on…. double oops…

So we were late again… Ben and I in the car… me being a front seat driver in the rain… eeekkk. We were off to meet Auntie Chrissie (Mother of Max) for a little Mother’s Day brunch. Also in attendance, London sister and her NZ boyfriend, in Melbourne for a flying weekend visit. I warned Auntie that we were running late… She responded with:

“I have put us on the list”

List dammit?! What is with queuing for brekkie in Melbourne (special weekend I know but this is pretty standard these days)! When we arrived at Axil on Burwood Rd in Hawthorn, I had flashbacks to uni days flitting between The Glenferrie Hotel and Nevermind Bar but I have no idea what used to be in the cavernous space that is now Axil. Cool space too. With massive milk-can pendant lights and a barista training room – which on this particular day just had a family sitting in the glassed-in room enjoying brunch. We didn’t wait too long but it was pretty funny as each time “the doorbitch” (one of the owners I think) flew past he kept telling everyone quite loudly that they were all at the top of the list… We were seated at one end of the big share table watching the food come out. We ordered and were delivered our coffees really quickly which was super impressive given the busy-factor. Good coffee too but unsurprising given the coffee pedigree of the owners three-times barista of the year or the like! Our meals were also served up quite quickly.

Fran's obligatory smashed avo & goats cheese with poached egg

Haloumi corn fritters

quesadilla with eggs, avo & chilli

A really delicious meal was had by all. I was very boring ordering my standard avo and goats cheese on toast but was happy with the range around the table. I am definitely returning to try the frozen yogurt muesli brekkie when I am feeling a bit sweeter… frozen yogurt for brekkie would be a first for me and maybe needs to wait until it’s a bit warmer but I guess that will give me more time to get back to my Northside brunch quest

Axil Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

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 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!