Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eat. @ Brother Baba Budan

359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph : (03) 9606 0449

The coffee was never going to be a bad experience at this city stop for Mark Dundon's coffee afficiondos, followers of Seven Seeds and De Clieu.  Most coffee nuts would have already been here, or have read the many other blogs about this place.  My take will be short and to the point for Eat.Play.Shop. readers - yes, fantastic coffee, no don't take your kids or prams in there!

This little shop just up the hill from Elizabeth Street is cutely decorated - yes with all the chairs on the ceiling!

Despite all those chairs, actual seating is pretty limited inside the shop, with one large communal table, a few "at-the-bar" type stools and standing room for take-aways.  Great for all the singletons and couples having a cool catch up over coffee.  Not so good for kids and toddlers.  

I didn't endeavor to get in the shop with the little people and the pram.  The coffee though, is worth making the effort to get your Hubby/Partner/Friend to stand outside and wait for a wee minute or two while you order coffee-to-go.

Eat.Play.Shop.Says - the place to go, for coffee on the go, for those in the know.
(okay, rapping is not going to be my day job)

Brother Baba Budan on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eat. @ Caffe Cino

2 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf 3006 ph : (03) 9027 2000

We stopped and had lunch at Caffe Cino the last time we were at South Wharf DFO, which I had visited for the first time only a few weeks ago and quickly fallen in love with! (It's way better than what Spencer Street DFO used to be, and the parking is much more reasonable at $2/hr with any purchase!)  Caffe Cino is the Hilton Hotel's little cafe and is a surprisingly good spot to grab a bite with the kids as a break from the shopping!

It has a mix of large communal dining tables and smaller square tables.  The cafe is quite spacious and pram friendly.

It has the standard cafe offerings of baguettes and sandwiches, salads, pies and quiches, with hot and cold drinks and a few sweets.

The mocha is fairly average, but not offensive.

The chicken baguettes is very pleasant and a hit with the kids, who loved the slightly chewy bread and a delicious and fresh filling of chicken, mayo and greens.

The real winner was the BLT though.  The crispy bacon was nicely cooked  (we like them crispy but not burnt!) and there was a decent amount, unlike most BLT which usually only contain a thin slice of bacon. 

The rolls were around $10 each, which is not exorbitant considering that I spent $8.90 on the most awful chicken and avo sandwich from Healthy Habits in the South Wharf DFO food court the week before.  There was a nice ambiance, and perhaps because it was a nice day and we were in a Hotel cafe, there was almost a holiday feel to the meal.  Certainly the other patrons were quite tolerant of the kids and pram, and everyone there seemed to have a smile on their face!

Caffe Cino on Urbanspoon

Toilets - in the hotel lobby round the corner, very, VERY clean!
Highchair - didn't seem to have one but we didn't ask, as the pram pulled up nicely next to our table.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eat. @ Shou Sumiyaki

160 Little Bourke St, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph :(03) 9654 3933

Shou Sumiyaki Bar and Grill is Little One's number one favourite restaurant in Melbourne.  Maybe it's the sense of being in a "grown up" restaurant, or the fun of cooking your own food, or maybe even the Japanese dining tables where you have to take your shoes off to dine at.  I have to say that the kid in me (and sometimes that kid TAKES OVER!) also loves the fun and novelty of dining here.  As a consequence we've been here quite a few times (we didn't eat all this food in one go!)

The well -stocked bar

The draw card of Shou is the smokeless tabletop cooking that goes on.  You can cook anything from wagyu rump steaks and duck breast, to fatty (but delicious!) pork belly slices and seafood.  We found that a great value option is to have lunch here, where a lunch set is from $18.90 - $22.90, and includes options for meat, a set entree, rice and miso soup.

The set entree is the Kaisen Harumaki with Wafu Salad.  Surprisingly yummy, the harumaki (Japanese spring rolls) are freshly fried.  The salad is fresh and gives the lightness this meal needs for balance.

Once the entrees are finished, the staff will remove the top of the concealed burner in the table and place a hot cooker with a grill plate on, ready for you to cook the delicious pieces of meat.

Hot burners ready to go!

We shared a few dishes on the day : the wagyu rump, the wagyu scotch spencer, and a separate order of belly pork (not part of the lunch special).

Little One is not old enough to cook yet, but is fascinated with the whole process.  I can't believe I didn't take a photo, but each set comes with a plate of 4 sauces which, in combination with the freshly-grilled flavour, make the little morsels of meat absolutely divine.  There may not seem to be a big serving of meat but they go a long way with a bowl of rice, and doesn't leave you with a heavy "I've eaten too much" feeling that often goes with barbequed food.

If you don't fancy cooking on the day, or are in a hurry and don't want the hassle, they also offer a very reasonable ramen and soba lunchset menu, with a choice of soup and appetisers.  These are also great for the noodle-loving kiddies.  We chose the tempura prawn and the karaage sides on the day. 

A very decent serve of Tonkotsu Ramen.

Four tables located towards the back of the restaurants cater for groups.  Little One loves to sit here because you have to take your shoes off!

Grilling meat at the table is a delicious and fun way to eat yakiniku, but obviously has its draw backs.  It is more suitable for older children who understand the concept of not touching the hot grill.  There are no high chairs here, but the staff have always gone out of their way to accommodate us with our pram.  We'll have to take a break from here once Bubs in Pram grows out of sitting patiently in the pram while we eat!

Eat.Play.Shop. Says : A fun way to eat with the older children.  And it's absolutely delicious!

Shou Sumiyaki on Urbanspoon

Toilet - Yes, and very very clean.
Highchairs - No

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eat. @ Vibrante

133 James St, Templestowe 3106 ph : (03) 9846 6222

Vibrante is a relative newcomer to Templestowe Village, which is a trendy little strip mall with cafes, women's clothing stores, beauty salons, organic food store and a few other little shops.  It is housed in an old body repair shop. 

There are sections for dining in small and large groups, including booths and an upstairs functions area.  We've had lunch here a few times with the kids and found the food to be of good quality and the whole experience quite pleasant and welcoming.

During the week they have an express lunch.  Hubby had a the beef burger, and could not stop singing praises for their chips.  Freshly fried, crisp on the outside and fluffy inside, I had to agree they're pretty good.  The beef pattie was also very nice, great texture and very meaty.

I had already had lunch that day so I indulged in their home-made chocolate mousse.  A lovely, chocolatey treat which is smooth and creamy. 

Great with a pot of their SereniTEA infusions.

The mocha was fairly average, less hot than how Hubby usually likes it.

On the weekend the express lunch menu is not available, but there are plenty of choices from their main menu.  We started off with some whitebait as as an entree.  Good tasty dish, I've also had their salt and pepper calamari which is similarly prepared, with a side of aioli.

The duck risotto was very tasty, and great to share with the kids.

Continuing with his love of their chips, Hubby had the fish and chips and again was impressed with its quality.

The Penne Napoli from the kids menu is a great serve.  The kids always love this dish and this was no exception.

We shared a serve of their tiramisu for dessert.  Creamy, chocolately and coffee all at once.  It was a great end to the meal with a cup of tea.

A glass cabinet full of sweets had the kids fascinated for a while.

The kids asked for one of their "drops of heaven".  Fairly average little tarts with an almondy fruit topping.  I think their enjoyed playing with them than eating them!

Eat.Play.Shop. Says : One of the better quality cafes in this area.  Vibrante caters well for families as well as other groups, with a fairly decent, good quality menu.

Vibrante on Urbanspoon

Toilets - Yes, spacious and has a change table
Highchairs - Yes

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Eat. @ L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe

351 Lygon St, Brunswick East 3057 ph : (03) 9380 4915
Wednesday to Friday 8am to 4pm/ Saturday and Sunday 8:30am to 4pm

Having recently been to Monsieur Truffe, I'd been very much looking forward to visiting its new post in Brunswick East, which I've heard is much more spacious and therefore more kid-friendly in terms of space.  On arrival at the address, all we could see was this bright red door. 

Yes, we did miss the door and nearly went into El Mirage next door.

This very pram friendly, enticing but unassuming red door opens into a bright, cheery, warm and spacious room. 

There's undercover parking for the bikes too, for those who can
cycle here - great to work off the calories!

The main attraction are 2 big (chocolate making) machines on one side of the room.

The seating was a mix of large communal tables and smaller tables for 2 and 4.  They had one high chair which we snapped up for Bubs in Pram.

First up of course is a warming cup of hot chocolate (house blend 70%).  This is the same hot chocolate we had at the Collingwood Monsieur Truffe of course.  Seriously smooth and creamy, it is a bit of a chocolate meal in itself.

Their Baby Chocolate is a smaller version of mine, but packs just as much punch.  It might be a tad strong for some younger kiddies used to a more watered down hot chocolate, but older kids will definitely enjoy this more "adult" version!

It was 11:20am, but I was keen to order from the lunch menu, which begins at 11:30am.  The friendly waitress let us order and I picked the Croque Monsieur, with braised leeks, whole grain mustard bechamel, Swiss Gruyere and Grandmother Ham ($13).  A very filling meal.  The ham was very tasty and the cheesy top of the toasted bread was a hit.

A pretty serious sandwich!

The Kids Blueberries Pancakes ($6) were 3 little freshly prepared pancakes with whole blueberries and a dipping sauce.  This was very yummy, and excellent for little hands to handle.

The pastries that we had at Monsieur Truffe in Collingwood are of course also available here.  We were way too full to have any on this occasion.

There were lots of other goodies to buy from the shop to take home, and the whole area is very kid and pram-friendly.

These Gingerbread Men were gorgeous!

The kids enjoyed peering through the window and watching the chocolate being made!

The toilets were spacious and a change table is available.  The staff were friendly, polite, and very helpful with the little ones.  The whole experience, from the yummy food and drinks, to watching the chocolate making and staring at the big machines, was very kid-friendly.  My only gripe would be that it took about 30 minutes from ordering for the food to arrive, fortunately for me the kids were pretty well behaved on the day.  Hopefully that's just a one-off, because we'd definitely love to visit again!  Oh why are all my favourite cafes to go with kids in Brunswick???

An understatement!

Eat.Play.Shop.Says : if you'd like to visit Monsieur Truffe with your kids, this is the place to go!

L'atelier by Monsieur Truffe on Urbanspoon

Toilets : Yes, with change table.
Highchair : they have only one, but it's a pretty cool one (maybe they can get more in the near future?  It's going to be a popular place for families methinks!)