Friday, January 27, 2012

Eat. @ Beatrix

 688 Queensberry St, North Melbourne ph :(03) 9090 7301

Beat-ers at Beatrix, cute!

Hubby graciously offered to look after the 2 littler ones while Mini Me and I had a little date of our own last weekend.  It's so nice to sit back, just the two of us, and have some fun sharing a bite, without having to worry about the younger two being noisy or trying to roam around.  Mini Me loves "Mummy Time" and I constantly worry that I don't get to pay each of them enough individual attention.  So for this "special adventure", we headed somewhere new, somewhere I hadn't been with anyone else.  Inspired by all the fantastic pictures on instagram of the goodies on offer there, we headed down to Beatrix in North Melbourne.

Beatrix is a little corner store that offers coffee, ciabattas, and some seriously mouth watering, old fashioned baked goodies.  So good I almost wanted to skip lunch and go straight to dessert!

But I'm glad I didn't.  The daily specials board proudly lists the ciabattas of the day, usually a meat and a vegetarian option.  I picked "The Brad", which was barbecue flavoured slow roasted Berkshire pork belly with smokey sauce, corn aioli, buttermilk slaw and pork scratchings. ($12.5 for a small serving, also available at $14 for large)

You can insert your own inappropriate joke here, but The Brad is pretty big!   We had the small serving, but it was still enough for the 2 of us to share.  All the ingredients were delicious, but the "pork scratchings", which is crumbled crackling, made this a pretty special roll!  Mini Me had this "deconstructed" and loved it.

Despite the 30+ degree heat I had a mocha, which was very pleasant.

We were spoilt for choice with all the different baked goods on display.  From whoopie pies and red velvet cupcakes, to giant cookies and chocolate brownies, everything looked delicious.  

We settled on the awesome looking lime angel food cake in the end, as it looked so fluffy and light, perfect for this hot summer day!

Love the old fashioned plates and cutlery!

Mini Me and I agreed that "it tasted like what clouds would taste like if we could eat it".

Seating inside is limited but there's enough space for a stroller or two, and there are tables outside which would be most pleasant on a nice day. 

Then there's always take away if Beatrix is packed by its adoring locals! 

The rest of the angel food cake did not last the car trip
into the city!

Eat.Play.Shop. says - A gorgeous, old fashioned little corner store with good, robust ciabattas for lunch and a mouth watering array of baked goodies.  You lucky people in North Melbourne have yet another great little local meeting place!  

Beatrix on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eat. @ Manchester Press

8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph : (03) 9600 4054

Manchester Press very much ticks all the boxes for the requirement of a hip Melbourne Coffee/Cafe nowadays.  Laneway location? Check!  Awesome Coffee? Check!  Urban cool crowd? Oh yeah!  Hip waitstaff and baristas? You got it!  Add to that mix some deconstructed bagels, relaxed ambience and a spectacular dose of latte art and you've got this neat little coffee hangout in the heart of Melbourne.

A mini 5 minute wait at a busy midweek lunch hour got Mini Me, Macaron Monster and I a spot on the high communal table with cool bar stools.  The staff were all very friendly and efficient, and the other patrons were very nice and tolerant of the kids.  I am glad however that we visited without Bubs as manoeuvring a pram into this busy eatery would be pushing the friendship!

A quick look at the Dymo and Clear Plastic menu and our orders were in.  We chose the Soft Egg Bagel with Salmon ($12.5)  A very pleasant "deconstructed" lunch for us, the egg was perfectly soft boiled, the bagel toasty and the salmon was very tasty.

The kids enjoyed their Hot Chocolate even though they didn't want to drink it initially because they "didn't want the lady on the froth to disappear", but then quickly starting fighting to see who could finish her face off first! (Maybe that's why she looks so startled?!)

My mocha did not disappoint.  The latte art is some of the best I've seen, with the moustachioed winking dude beckoning me for a drink.

He was pretty magical, as for some reason he stuck around even after I finished the coffee!!??

But I did finish him off eventually  (just to make sure there's not some weird twilight zone thing happening!)

We only had a small lunch as we had a late morning tea at The Hopetoun Tea Rooms that day, so please don't worry, I wasn't just being stingy or trying to starve my children here!

Eat.Play.Shop. Says - A great place for a coffee and bagel break in the city.  Better for older children but I did spot a few mums with strollers around who squeezed in amongst the lunch time crowd.

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

Highchairs - No
Toilets - Yes

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cook. @ Home - Yum Cha Style Mango Pudding

Hands up those who always order mango pudding at yum cha.  Apart from the obligatory jelly  pieces, the mango pudding is my kids' favourite.  There are so many different recipes out there to make this dessert, but I'm really glad that I found this recipe on the thermomix forum which doesn't contain any raw egg yolks, so it's suitable for young children, and all those friends who might be in their early pregnancies but can't tell you yet! 

I have reprinted my version of the recipe, but Nean's original version can be found here at the thermomix forum.  This recipe is so easy!  I have included the non-thermomix instructions in brackets.  I tried using small Japanese cups I got from Made in Japan, small ramekins and also the mini tupperware gel cups and made about 12 serves each time.

Yum-Cha Style Mango Pudding

  • Flesh of 3 medium mangoes
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin
  • 125 g water 
  • 425 g boiling water 
  • 280 g sugar 
  • 250 g evaporated milk 
1) Blend the flesh of 2 mangos at speed 8 for 30 seconds (or in food processor)
2) In a bowl, add gelatin to the water and stand for few minutes
3) Add boiling water to the gelatin mixture in the bowl
4) Stir in the sugar until all the gelatin and sugar are dissolved
5) Add this to the mango puree and mix at speed 4 for 5 seconds  (can do this by hand)
6) Add evaporated milk and mix at speed 1 for 5 seconds (again can do this by hand)
7) Chop up the flesh of the last mango into pieces and place a few pieces in each container.
8) Pour mixture on top of the mango pieces in each of the containers and refrigerate overnight.
9) Serve with extra evaporated milk poured on top, just like at Yum Cha!

Tips - 
  • You can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste.   My first batch tasted too sweet but was fine after adding the evaporated milk.
  • I use Carnation Light and Creamy Evaporated Milk in this recipe quite successfully.  It also helps to reduce each serving to about 150 calories!
  • Tinned mangoes can be used when mangoes are not in season, and you have not had the foresight to store any frozen mango cheeks away (I kick myself every winter for this reason!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eat. @ Plantation Specialty Coffee

Shop 253, level 2, Melbourne Central, 300 La Trobe Street, Melbourne 3000

I admit it. Thanks to this blog I have turned into a coffee snob, and won't order coffee unless I'm pretty certain that it's going to be great coffee.  Ordering coffee in a shopping centre?  Not likely!  The good people behind St Ali have turned that upside down however, with this awesome coffee spot in the middle of the Melbourne Central Dining Hall.

Plantation has transformed this quiet corner in Melbourne Central (opposite Cupcake Central) into its own little unique oasis of coffee and cool.  Old School (literally!) benches and School Hall Assembly Chairs set up a casual corner which is extremely kid and pram friendly, even if the coffee is serious and adults-only fare!  Ideal for Mums to catch a break in the city while on the go.

The mocha here is great coffee coupled with a hint of chocolate, and a gorgeous dose of coffee art.

I like the coffee here and tried a latte on a different occasion.

A variety of snacks including cakes, muffins and rolls/baguettes/foccacia type fare are available, more as an accompaniment to your coffee experience then centre stage dishes though.  I've had the simple parma, cheese and roquette in turkish bread which was a pleasant little lunch item that went well with the coffee.  Love the environmentally friendly and cute wooden disposable cutlery!

All the "serious" coffee places now offer different ways to serve their coffee then the standard lattes and espressos, (think Market Lane CoffeeProud Mary and Auction Rooms just to name a few) ; and Plantation is no exception.  I am most interested to try the bottled cold brew now that the weather is all summery in Melbourne.  The staff have been friendly and helpful at the various times I've dropped by for a coffee fix.

You can also buy their coffee to brew at home, and a range of coffee making equipment is also available for purchase.

Eat.Play.Shop. Says - An ideal place for mums-on-the-go to grab a more than decent coffee smack bang in the middle of Melbourne Central.

Plantation on Urbanspoon