Friday, November 30, 2012

Eat. @ Mister Close

Shop 13, Midtown Plaza, 246 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph (03) 9654 7778

Mr Close is found in Midtown Plaza, near the entrance to the city branch of Daiso, and it's not where you expect a cool cafe with excellent coffee would be.  But it is exactly that, and more!  Firstly I HAD to know who Mr Close is/was, and a look at their website reveals that Mr Close was the Year 8 teacher that taught the lads who run this joint Geography.  (This brought back hilarious memories of MY Year 8 Geography teacher who used to wiggle his bum unintentionally every time he wrote on the blackboard, tehehe!)  Anyways Mr Close sounds like a cool dude who would "take you around the world", just as the "honest food" served here aims to do!

A mid morning visit meant I was having brunch again (Mummies don't get to eat breakfasts till late) so I ordered the aptly named Fast Breaker, a roll filled with housemade thyme mayo & relish, tomato, bacon, poached egg and toasted.  Yummy combo and I especially liked the thickly sliced bacon.

Of course I had my usual mocha which was lovely and smooth, with beautiful latte art.

Macaron Monster had already had breakfast (even if I don't get to eat in the morning I DO try and make sure my kids do!) so a hot chocolate was a treat.  

We shared a canele from Gâteaux de Bordeaux.  Oh I love these custardy soft but crispy things.    These ones are some of the best in Melbourne.  One is never enough! 

The cafe was spacious inside with room for prams.  There were no high chairs but the kids, even Bubs, did okay on the benches next to me.  On the other side of the cafe is another area with lower tables to sit, ideal for office workers in the area or uni students taking a break.

Lovely to see a great cafe bang smack in the middle of town.  We will definitely be back to try their other offerings.

Mister Close on Urbanspoon

Toilet - yes, in the centre
Highchair - not that I could find

Friday, November 16, 2012

Eat. @ Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar

8 Whiteman St, Southbank ph (03) 9292 8300

A little while ago Hubby and I realised that we hadn't been on a date night for 9 WHOLE MONTHS!!!  Life has been ultra busy for us this year with juggling our work, kids, illnesses and other commitments.  And now that we we have 3 kids it always feel extra difficult to organise babysitting.  An opportunity came up for us to go out by ourselves and we were crazy with excitement - a meal where (hopefully) there's no crying, food throwing, or threats of "no dessert unless dinner is finished"!  I looked through the long list of fine dining restaurants on my list and finally decided on Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar.  We had not had the opportunity to visit prior to its transformation from Maze.  I'm glad to say that it more than lives up to the hype and we had a fabulously night dining out.

We sipped on our lemonade and dry ginger as we try to narrow down what to order from the menu.  As you'll see we went a bit crazy with the ordering!

The first of our 3 shared entrees was Crispy Little Pigs ($18).  Moreish morsels of pork with interesting zesty sidekicks of watermelon.  If you order ahead they do a meal with a whole suckling pig which sounds very interesting.

Following that we had the Charred octopus share plate ($18)  which was perfectly cooked.   In particular I really enjoyed the black garlic used in this dish.  Such an interesting ingredient, I'm not usually a fan of garlic but this was really delicious, and the dish was very pretty to look at.

Cured Kingfish with fingerlimes and smoked yogurt ($16) was very fresh and light.

For mains we had a Braised Lamb ($33) special for the night which was very nice.  We slow cook a lot so it didn't feel like a very exciting dish for us in the end, but the soft lamb and the sauce made for a bit of a comfort food" dish.

The Venison ($38) was perfectly cooked to rare, and came with a delicious parsnip mash and braised red cabbage. 

Sides of chips and autumn greens ($9 each) completed our mains.

I must confess one of the reason I picked Mr Hive was due to all the beautiful pictures of their desserts I had seen on my instagram feed.  For this part of the meal we were moved to the dessert bar and watched their dessert chefs work their magic.  We continued the food frenzy and ordered 3 desserts!  I told you it's been ages since we'd been out without the kids, and we seriously ordered like adults who didn't know when their next decent meal would be!!!

We shared Mrs Hive's Chocolate Bar, with peanuts and caramel ($18).  Melt in the mouth dessert that Hubby and I both loved.  

I had the White chocolate, with, mango, basil and coconut ($16).  The basil sorbet was a surprise but went remarkably well with the other elements.  The coconut mousse was very light and refreshing.

There's a 15 minute wait for the raspberry souffle, understandably as this has to be made fresh in the oven.  A scoop of heavenly ice-cream plunged into the centre of the steaming souffle made this totally irresistible, although my stomach had been totally defeated by the amount of food I had consumed on the night.  Hubby battled on and thanks to this awesome version he has dropped some pretty heavy hints for me to move on to souffles for my next baking adventure!

Last but not least, cute little bottles of milk shake and truffles.  I must confess I am ashamed of not finishing this even though it was ultras delicious!  We were also sent home with little bags of handmade boiled lollies and treats for a sweet souvenir of the visit.

The service was attentive and accomodating, the ambience was lovely and the food was well thought out and delicious.  Throw into that a discount with the entertainment book and we had ourselves a pretty awesome date night meal!  I can't wait to go back and have the Dessert Degustation. Hmmmm!

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

PS - I just realised that I had forgotten to publish this post a few months ago.  The menu has recently changed into their Spring Menu, although many of the favourites like the Crispy Little Pig and the desserts remain unchanged.  The prices have gone up a little as compared to those quoted in this post.