Sunday, March 22, 2015

Eat. @ CIBI

45 Keele St, Collingwood 3066 ph (03) 9077 3941

We were on a look out for brunch on a blazing hot Saturday morning, but a table of 5 can be hard to come by and we wandered around Collingwood for a bit and had a surprisingly delicious brunch at Cibi a few weeks ago.

We had a short wander through the shop area which had all sorts of interesting Japanese bits and bobs on display (how many times do you think I had to say "Don't Touch!!" to the kids?)   

We were soon seated and started off with a mocha ($3.8).  Cibi is a fusion treat of Japanese and Australian and the coffee here is truly Melbournian.

We had the Traditional Weekend Special ($18.5). which had grilled slice salmon fillet, free range egg omelette tamagoyaki, seasonal green vegetables, potato salad, organic brown rice and miso soup.  

For $4 more we also ordered the Ultimate Special ($22.5), which was the traditional breakfast, with the addition of tsukemono (homemade pickled goodies), natto (fermented soybeans), umeboshi (sour plum) and nori (dried seaweed).  They added extra elements of taste and texture to the brekkie and the kids enjoyed trying these different traditional Japanese side dishes.

We also shared a soba salad ($14.5), with organic soba, avocado, cherry tomato, lightly pan fried bean curd, spring onion, green salad, olive relish with dashi dressing.  I really liked this dish and have been making different variations of this at home since it's so healthy and tasty!

We ended the meal with a green tea and azuki bean muffin ($4) which was all sorts of yummy, not too sweet and a perfect way to end a meal.

Cibi is a cute little place, and it's fusion of traditional Japanese light fare with good coffee, mixed in with a bit of retail therapy is a breath of fresh air in Collingwood (even thought they have been here for quite a few years!).  An excellent alternative when we don't feel like the usual egg/bacon based breakfast.

Cibi on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eat. @ Little Rogue

12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph 0433 739 148

Down Drewery, tucked inconspicuously in a little shop, are a couple of cool coffee chaps that are serving up lovely cups of brew to those who know about this little place.  Bubs and I ventured here after pictures of their beautiful coffees keep popping up in my Instagram Feed.

Their mocha is top notch and I was not disappointed by the beautiful coffee art in a cheery blue cup and saucer. 

As for something to nibble on, Little Rogue gets their goodies from Pop Up Scroll as well as the amazing crepe cakes from Mille & B.  We tried a slice of the pandan and coconut cake ($7) and there might just have been a little bit of fighting over the last bite between Bubs and I!

A true hidden gem of a coffee place in Melbourne!

Little Rogue on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Eat. @ Nitro Lab

Shop T2a Kingsway, Glen Waverley 3150 (03) 9590 6039

We had a family friend who lived a stone throw's away from the Glen Waverley train station when I was growing up, back when the place I used to get my ice-creams was ...... at the local milk bar, because there was no other choice!  Nitro Lab has recently opened up in the tall apartment building just outside of the station and we wandered over there for dessert after we feasted on our favourite Korean Fried Chicken over at Meega.

Nitro Lab, as its name suggests, is one of the liquid nitrogen gelato made-to-order dessert bars, offering 6 different flavours of ice-cream a month, as well as waffles and milkshakes on its menu.  The prices are $7.5 for "a little bit" and $8.5 for " a bit more". The cups don't look big but I always find that the ice-cream goes a long way!  We ordered 2 "a bit mores" and comfortably shared it between 2 adults and 3 kids.

The first was a vanilla pannacotta was a safe but most delicious flavour.  The ice-cream was smooth as expected and the sauce and crumbly bits on top.

The Mango and Coconut is always a cool tropical combo and this was topped with mango pearls and coconut.  Quite refreshing and my only gripe was that I would have loved a stronger mango flavour in the gelato.

Limited seating is available inside and also in front of the store.  A nice refereshing dessert and it was certainly a hit with our kids!  Can't wait to try next months' flavours.

Nitro Lab on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Eat. @ Jardin Tan and Play @ Botanical Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra 3004 ph (03) 9691 3888

A day out to the Botanical Gardens brought an impromptu visit to Jardin Tan, the Shannon Bennett backed Vietnamese fusion restaurant that opened in the Gardens last year.  As such we didn't have a booking, and so could only order from the bar menu, but we didn't have any expectations so it wasn't a big deal.

We started off with some drinks, including an expensive but delicious coconut ($7).  Lemonades from a large dispenser was refreshing at $4 a glass.

And followed with a Vietnamese coffee.  Happy that it was a traditional Vietnamese drip coffee, although I did see other ice coffees served a cute beaker. 

We started with Cha GioThit Heo ($14) which was a Vietnamese pork spring roll.  This was quite delicious and had a bit of a spicy kick to them.  (Even without the chilli garnishing the rolls).  Unfortunately we only found that out after giving one to Bubs only to have him start crying and polish off an entire glass of lemonade to put out the fire.  Bad parents!

Next up another spicy dish in Ga Chien ($18) which was fried chicken with a firecracker sauce.  This was really more-ish and I definitely would have liked more for the price but I also recognise that this is no ordinary eatery at your local park.

We also shared a Banh Mi Tom Hum ($22) which was their lobster roll. This was very delicious.

We then ordered a dessert platter ($9) which came with 3 desserts randomly picked out by our server from their selection.  Macaron Monster however was very keen on their creme brulee so we ordered one of those as well ($4).  There was a mousse with passionfruit curd, a raspberry cream filled choux pastry and a coconut and palm sugar panna cotta if I recall correctly.  

After that we had a fabulous walk through the botanical gardens.  New things we have noticed include a gondola ride in the waterways ($65 for a family) and the children's play area.  We brought along our Timmy Junior which is a toy I remember from my childhood and the kids had a ball flying it and learning about kinetic energy from their science geek parents.

We returned to the outside cafe area of Jardin Tan for afternoon tea, and had a couple of donuts (blackberry jam and passionfruit curd).......

as well as some choc tops to cool off after an afternoon of fun.

All in all an afternoon at the botanical gardens is a free, fun place to go with kids.  The addition of Jardin Tan means that you have the option of dining in style, with delicious food in a lovely setting.  The food and prices are far, far away from what I remember of my own visits to the gardens when I was little!

Jardin Tan on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 6, 2015

Eat. @ Tall Timber

60 Commercial Rd, Prahran 3181 ph (03) 9676 9333

I won a voucher at the gorgeous Lou Salon on Greville St in our kinder's trivia night raffle, and took the opportunity to visit Tall Timber on my way there (sans kids!).  It was so nice having their beautiful mocha ($3.8) by myself!

The Brekkie Board ($16.5) is always perfect for someone like me who is no good at making up my mind, and a little bit of everything is always fun!  The Lime and Coconut museli that they use from The Wild was a standout.

I brought the kids back on the way to Prahran Market during the school holidays and besides having the brekkie board again we tried the lunch menu BBQ Pulled Pork brioche burger ($18).  A pretty burger ticking all the right boxes with a smokey pulled pork and pretty and refreshing slaw salad.

We ended with a sweet ice chocolate......

....and something sweet.  A Cobb Lane carrot cake hit the spot.  I love love love their carrot cake!

Another wonderful cafe for Prahran locals!

Tall Timber on Urbanspoon

Toilets - yes
Highchair - yes

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Eat. @ The Merrywell (Downstairs Burger Bar)

Clarendon Street, Crown, South Bank ph (03) 9292 7468

During our "staycation" in Melbourne over Summer, we took advantage of the free tram zone in the Melbourne CBD and zipped all over town.  An impromptu visit to the South Bank area landed us at The Merrywell during happy hour so we ended up with burgers and fries for dinner.

The Happy Hour deal is pretty good.  For $15 you get a burger and pint.  There's a variety of beer on offer at The Merrywell but for us it was colourful pints of soft drinks with paper straws.

Hubby and the kids had the K.I.S.S Burgers, with a robust meat patty, mustard, ketchup, onions, pickles, mayo and cheddar.  The patties are meaty and juicy and the burgers were simple as its name implies but pretty darn fabulous.

I had the MW Club which was a "Sam-wich" with buttermilk battered chicken, bacon, cheddar, tomato, and mayo in a damper roll.  A good alternative if you don't want a beef burger. 

Of course we had a side of fries and onion rings ($8) which went well with the burger and drinks.  Perfect bar meal. 

We also ordered a salted caramel shake ($7) which came with swirls of cream and a cherry on top.  Unfortunately when I took a sip I found a shard of glass (fortunate as it wasn't one of the kids who got it).  The staff was good though and was apologetic and it was replaced with a new one. 

A great burger bar, extra good during Happy Hour and a cool place to hang out after work.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 30, 2015

Eat. @ Pop Up Scroll

86 Smith Street, Collingwood 3066 ph 0433 849 281

The next new "old thing" in sweets has "popped up" in Collingwood in the form of Pop Up Scroll. 

I'm always up for something sweet so Bubs and I dropped by for an early afternoon tea the other day. 

We were served by a couple of friendly ladies with cute little aprons and they were very nice to Bubs.  He generally only likes to lick the icing off the top of cupcakes and has the ability to leave the cake perfectly in shape (eww), but to my surprise he wolfed down the mini scroll and we had to get another  (bigger) one which he again devoured!

The scrolls ($4.5, with mini versions for $3) are brioche based which explains the buttery softness. The original cream cheese is simply tasty and I can't blame Bubs for wanting more!

We bought some more scrolls to take home after our afternoon feast.  The Cherry and Pistachio had a delicious caramel topping that made me want to lick the screen of my camera just from taking a photo of it!

The Cherry, Cream Cheese and Gingerbread was a bit fancier and had a lovely Christmas-y feel to it. 

And last but not least we tried the chocolate and caramel.  Couldn't keep the little fingers from my photos, that's how much they liked it!

Can't wait to go back and try more flavours.  I am inspired to try my hand at making some at home too!

Pop Up Scroll on Urbanspoon