Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eat. @ La Flaneur - Dinner Service

5 Church St, Hawthorn 3122 ph (03) 9853 8587

I have always loved my coffee and the brunching and lunching at Le Flaneur.  I was very excited when I was invited to try the recently started dinner service on Friday and Saturday nights. Hubby and I were ready for another date night after the fun but noisy school holidays, and we were somewhat excited, to say the least, at the chance to try something new at a place we already knew well.  What we found was a beautifully prepared meal with some interesting twists to classic French dishes.  

The dinner menu at Le Flaneur offers 3 entrees, 2 mains and 2 desserts, and changes every second week.  I think this is a great way to do a dinner service as the chefs get to conjure their magic with fresh, in-season ingredients, and it kind of gives someone like me a chance to try different foods, as I'm someone who would go back and have the same dish over and over again if I liked it the first time!

I started with the House cured salmon, blinis, creme fraiche and salmon roe ($17).  This dish looked gorgeous and I enjoyed the lovely salmon perched atop the perfectly cooked blinis, which were slightly crunchy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside.  The creme fraiche and roe added interesting textural components to the dish.

Hubby is quite the self confessed mussels connoisseur  so it was no surprise he ordered the Mussels Marinieres, served with crispy sourdough bread ($17).   I'm not a huge fan of  mussels but these were good sized and the sauce was divine.

For the main meal I ordered the Duck Breast, served with wheat polenta, apricot reduction and broccolini ($27).   I really enjoyed the perfectly duck meat, and that crispy duck skin with the salty bite was to die for.  A really lovely dish, and if this was on a regular menu I would order it every time!

Hubby had the Poached Ocean Trout, bouillabaisse, rouille jelly and shellfish ($29).  The fish was beautifully poached and the bouillabaisse and rouille jelly were full of flavour.  And yes, more mussels for Hubby!

The 2 dessert choices were quite heavy and I would have love to have had something a bit lighter as an option.  However both looked really tempting and we couldn't resist ordering one of each to share! (Piggies!)  The Carrot Cake served with orange blossom creme fraiche ($12) was delightful, and the decorative and delicious toffee shard really brings the flavours together.  For the price it was a very generous serve.

The Chocolate Fondant flavoured with raspberries and Tonka beans ($13) was a decadent end to our meal.  Unfortunately the centre was not as flowing as we would've liked but the flavour was beautiful and the raspberries gave a lighter balance to the richer chocolate.  The 2 dessert choices were quite heavy and I would have love to have had something a bit lighter as an option.  

We dined as guests of Le Flaneur on this occasion, but couldn't believe how well priced the dishes were, for the amazing quality of food that were offered.  A main meal at my local bistro costs easily upwards of $30 for most dishes and are obviously nowhere near the standard of meals at Le Flaneur.   We thought the standard of food and services here were comparable to some of the meals we've had in more "acclaimed" establishments charging upwards of $100 a head in the CBD and inner city.  

What's a visit to Le Flaneur without a cup of my favourite mocha?

I have always found the dishes at Le Flaneur to be adventurous yet delicate and immaculately prepared, with a dash of whimsy and surprise.   The dinner service did not disappoint and we were delighted to have spent a wonderful evening in cosy surroundings, with gorgeous food and attentive service.  Highly recommended, do try them out before the delicious secret is out and bookings become scarce!

What's cuter than a coffee inspired door handle?

A tamper for a door knob!
Disclaimer : Hubby and I dined as guests of Le Flaneur.  We thank Tony for the kind invitation. 

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Eat. @ Station St Trading Company

166 Station St, Port Melbourne 3207 (03) 9646 6663

Nestled in a quiet corner on Station St in Port Melbourne, Station St Trading Co is the new venture from the people behind Coin Laundry, one of my favourite places to eat.  It's a snug little place loved by locals, and when we walked in the little shop was filled with lovely smells from all the breakfast-cooking and coffee brewing.  A friendly smile from the staff who found a little spot for Bubs and I only added to the welcoming atmosphere.

I started with a perfect mocha ($3.5), with the obligatory latte art of course.  

Bubs is quite a good eater now, and we shared the Station St Breakfast Stack ($17.5), of smashed avo, bacon, spinach, mushrooms and beetroot relish, with poached eggs on pumpkin loaf.  What more could one ask for really?  Special mention goes to the crispy bacon on skewers, or as Bubs called it "bacon lolly-pop!"

The sitting space in the shop is quite limited and I wouldn't bring the pram or stroller, although the seating outside is very pram/children/pet friendly, and would be lovely on a sunny day.  There are even blankets for the colder days.  This side of town is quite a bit of a hike for us, but coupling this with a visit to the beach for a bit of boat spotting, then a little wander through South Melbourne is quite a nice day out for us.  I found out later that they serve Lune croissants so I will definitely be back to try them out at our next visit!

Toilets - yes, a little "out-house" out the back, no room to change babies though.
Highchair - No

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