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.
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…
A super Saturday night dinner at Movida to celebrate a couple of birthdays! The four of us (Ben & I and the Kooyong couple… joking, joking!), had been planning a Movida dinner for ages (and you need to plan for it given the wait to book). These birthdays seemed a very good reason to finally book it in! It had been probably two years since my last visit to Movida, a restaurant that used to be my favourite, but with the explosion of new kids on the block, my focus had moved to trying out new stuff, rather then re-visiting old stuff… I definitely won’t be leaving it as long in the future! It is still deserving of the top spot!
We started the evening with a little glass of the Roederer… because we were celebrating… and complimented the meal with 3 more bottles of french and spanish wine… Including a particulalry delicious garnache! YUM!
And what a meal it was! I got to be the orderer… And I was really hungry… Check it out below… Mr Kooyong showing off the salty cod fritters!
Oh the Jamon! This was probably the dish of the night for me! So flavoursome, so delicious and the toasted bruschetta… I can’t believe it beat the lamb and the beef which were also both fabulous!
The famous beef cheek….
What do you think of my ordering huh?! AMAZING! Can you believe we ate all of this!?! But wait… there’s more… We also hoed into some amazing dessert… churros, creme caramel and the top dessert…
Sometimes I feel old because I can’t remember the last time I was in a nightclub… But then, when I have a Saturday night like this one… Great friends, less pain on the wallet and no hangover (okay… maybe a little headache)… I realise that the future is bright 🙂
Ben had told me we were having dinner with his parents on Tuesday night… Tuesday night was public holiday eve again! Woot! I got home from work and asked where we were going… “Not sure but probably a pizza place on Glenferrie Rd”… Excellent, some pizza and a few glasses of wine with the in-laws to be! 15 minutes later I was ready to go… Ben looked up and said “A bit casual aren’t we?”… Uuummm…. For a pizza place on Glenferrie Rd?? And more to the point… I was dressed perfectly fine!“Excuse me?! I would dress like this for Vu De Monde!”… Wowsers, a fight before we even got out the door… I was seriously grumpy as I drove towards Glenferrie Rd, when Ben started directing me in the opposite direction… I began to think something funny was going on…. and when I parked near the corner of Kooyong Rd and Glen Eira Rd I suddenly understood the irony of my earlier comeback! We weren’t going to Vue De Monde but rather Attica! Melbourne’s best restaurant according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and the location of my favourite meal ever. Good Tuesday night surprise Benny! Especially on a public holiday eve! Double Woot!
Tuesday night is Chef’s Night at Attica. This is when Ben Shewry and his team test and develop new menu items. It costs $95 a head for five courses and you can match wine for an additional $70. I have added a photo of the evening’s menu.. it’s not very descriptive. In fact, it’s hard to imagine what you will be eating from the list of ingredients describing each course.
That’s the beauty of it! The shiitake broth flavour was INCREDIBLE. I knew I could smell mushrooms cooking when we walked in. They must have been cooking hundreds of them to get the depth of flavour that was happening in this tiny bowl of clear broth with eleven types of basil leaves and a liquorice leaf floating in it. No photo of the first couple of courses as I felt a little funny taking pics for some reason (until I’d had a few wines of course). Each course was very small but blew me away with the flavour combinations. Really hard to describe too. I had to keep telling myself to slow down and really enjoy each little plate of food. For once I was happy to keep nibbling on the delish bread between courses as I wasn’t afraid of getting too full!
The dessert was slightly too strange when it first came out but as the granita melted it became more enjoyable. I was really hoping for a final treat like the last time we came and my wish came true when the bird nest arrived with four gorgeous caramel filled eggs to really finish the meal!
Attica again lived up to the hype as Melbourne’s best… I can’t wait to go again on a Tuesday and see what new dishes are coming out of that genius kitchen!
We woke up after a wonderful winery wedding in Beechworth with a few sore heads. Lunch didn’t start until 1pm but food was required immediately so we headed up the main st of Beechworth for some brunch. Beeline for the Beechworth Bakery… but were scared away by the crowds and found the Beechworth Pantry. I was pretty keen on a pie and decided it was perfectly acceptable to eat a pie for brekkie (brunch?) when you have a sore head.. So I did… and it was excellent!
And then obviously, as per my rule: every meal needs dessert, I just had to try this tangy, raspberry, meringue, cream deliciousness of dessert and will drive 3 1/2 hours again just to eat another piece… definitely!
Fitzrovia is a lovely little spot for lunch on my favourite food street in Melbourne; Fitzroy St, St Kilda. On this occasion; a ladies (work) lunch, the location was key, as work seemed to be super busy for all involved and we needed a central point… Plus I was totally bored of South Melbourne (a silly thing to say really given how many places I haven’t actually been to)… The sun was out, trying desperately to throw some heat our way as April pushed back, reminding us when we sat in the shade in our singlet tops, that it was actually autumn…
The menu had me drooling! There were a LOT of things I wanted to try… I was hoping to have a taste of four great meals. I had to settle with three great meals as Debs had Greek fasting which meant no meat, no dairy… and a strange order of toast with jam and roasted tomatoes… I gave that one a miss. The girls ordered special healthy juices which looked pretty delish but I would recommend also ordering some ice.
My salad was amazing but I was glad I added ham (prosciutto) to make it a little more filling for my lunch. From the little tastes I had of the girls’ lunches I will definitely be returning for a full plate of fish cakes or the trout salad when I want a light lunch. Or how bout this? My dream sandwich!
Otway free range pulled pork shoulder ploughman’s, with Pyengana cheddar, Scotch quail’s egg, sourdough bread and an apple, sour cherry and fennel chutney
Definitely got a few reasons to go back, not to mention the daily changing specials and the completely different dinner menu. Lucky me it’s so local!
A relationship-saving ‘date night’ at Bistro Thierry as harvest draws to a close 😉 Okay, that is probably a bit drastic… but it was certainly nice for Ben and I to have a night out together at a lovely restaurant where we both got a little dressed up and Benny spoke in French all night… to the waiter…. dammit!
I find it pretty hard to go past a steak tartare when in a french restaurant, but as this ended up being the second french restaurant in a week and I had already had a decent crack at 250g of raw meat, I thought a tuna tartare would be a better… And look how pretty it looked.
I had a small problem with the menu this particular night. I just wanted to eat all the entrées… I couldn’t go past the quail special but figured as long as we ordered a side of pommes frites it would be fine… and it was… OMG, the french fries were fantastic…
We finished the night off with a brilliant creme brulee… a big cracking crunch!
Bistro Thierry is the perfect local date night restaurant, especially if you like chatting in french… with the waiters…
Another wedding… another plane trip… this time to Sydney… The wedding was actually on the NSW Central Coast however Ben was doing a wine event at Ivy Bar on the evening before so I also flew in for a little wine tasting… or so I thought… ‘little’ would be the wrong word to describe the HUGE event Merivale put on with over 700 peeps tasting wine from a number of regions around the country… the problem was that it was so bloody busy that Ben had no time to talk to me and the other folks that I knew didn’t arrive until 8:30pm… I arrived at 6:30pm… uh oh… I’m assuming you can guess what happened… I tried to disguise my slipping sobriety by writing tasting notes as I ticked off each winery on what I called Frank’s Australian Riesling Tour… As the crowd dwindled, it occurred to me I should put some food into my tummy to try to soak up some of the riesling… The next day was going to be busy (and filled with Ben’s family) and the last thing I needed was a hangover!
We traipsed downstairs to Felix Bar & Bistro and sat on one of the ‘laneway’ tables. Ben ordered more wine… and more wine… and I ordered a bottle of mineral water – sparkling! We feasted french style…. three course of course… starting with my favourite french dish – steak tartare…
For main I order the spatchcock. It was super simple and perfectly accompanied by quite a number of french fries.
For dessert we shared profiteroles and the bombe alaska…
We crashed into bed close to midnight, fed and watered (especially me) and awoke to clear heads for the sunny, special wedding day ahead of us!
So we have a new South Melbourne local but there is a problem… It’s so bloody good that it’s getting super busy. The place is run by a team of two behind the bar and stove…. oohh… I get it now… Stove Monkey… Suddenly the name makes sense but I think they may need to be hiring another Stove Monkey soon to keep up with demand… There aren’t that many lunch spots in South Melbourne where you have to queue: the market dim sims…. and Origami Japanese but this is going to be the latest methinks…
They do a few sandwiches and a couple of soups that you can have eat-in or take-away. They are brilliant sandwiches and soups too… peeps in the office start calling from 11am to find out what’s on for the day but in my opinion the two absolute winning dishes that you must have if you have time to eat-in are the cuttlefish & calamari spicy tabbouleh salad and/or the fried chicken on coleslaw with a crispy fried egg… What does a crispy fried egg taste like? Try it… It’s definitely worth it!
After a long day (I believe we fell into bed at 10:30pm after a 6:15am start) at “the Tassie social event of the year’… We were up and ready for a re-fuel before the flight home. On advice from a Tassie local we walked 1.8km (according to googlemaps) to our destination; Stillwater, located in a super old mill on the banks of the Tamar River. One step in the door and I knew we were going to have a good meal… I was almost disappointed that we were there for brekkie, but I made sure to order a dish that transgressed into lunch… The very intriguing sounding eggs en cocotte: eggs with smoked ham hock, green pea purée, du puy lentils, crispy ham & ciabatta soldiers… totes equals perfect brunch!
My vegetarian dining buddy asked me a fair question:
“why do you always have to order the weirdest thing on the menu?”
I don’t know the answer, it’s just something in me but since she had ordered the other potential brekkie for me; Going Vegetarian, I was pretty happy. The addition of halloumi to breakfast was a masterpiece…. Even non-vegetarians should consider this dish, just add a side of salmon, bacon or ham and you are set.
Finally the man of the gang, and what a gang we were after sharing a small hotel room between the four of us, ordered the Big Tasmanian Breakfast… The obvious choice for the size of his hangover.
Definitely a place to return for lunch or a weekend dinner on our next visit to Lonnie.
A beautiful Tassie wedding, Launceston-side… The ceremony was in Lonnie, at a church opposite the hotel we were staying at… THANK GOD! Our plane was delayed one hour… meaning we were getting into our cab at Launceston airport at 10:15am… The wedding started at 11:00am… The plane was a split crowd… with half going to the V8s; the biggest annual sporting (bogan) event in Lonnie and the other half attending the Taylor wedding; Tassie’s biggest social event of the calendar year… The fog delay meaning that the wedding half were hastily applying make-up mid-flight… pretty funny start to the day!
We jumped into our pew, once we had dumped bags and thrown on dresses, with 5 minutes to spare. The ceremony was stunning!
A scenic coach trip later and we arrived at the Leaning Church Vineyard for the reception. The marquee was perched on the bank of a dam with rows of vines lining the hills behind. A white picket fence separated us from the ducks. The perfect setting for a long lunch…
And lunch we did with a four course menu made up of 3 of my favourite things… ducks, lambies and PORK of course… plus an amazing dessert bar that I don’t have pics of because I’d had a few glasses of the local bubbly….. and cheese… and ham… and other dinner delicacies that I also can’t remember because the bubbly was so effective… and delicious…