Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eat. @ Twenty & Six

594 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne ph (03) 9329 0298

Brunch roulette the other Friday landed Bubs and I in North Melbourne, on the doorsteps of Twenty & Six.  We were greeted with a smile and seated near the big coffee machine, and got to stare at the lovely carrot cakes and basket of cookies.

My mocha ($4) was lovely.  I giggled with Hubby via text message that we expect no less in Melbourne nowadays!

I ordered the citrus cured salmon tartare, with pea puree, spring pea and asparagus salad, horseradish cream, poached egg and toast ($19), plus an extra poached egg ($3) for my growing boy!   The cured salmon was delicious, and in fact quite a generous serving.  Even with Bubs eating most of my eggs and toast I was really full after the meal.

Bubs had his heart set on "bacon and eggies" and so we ordered a side of bacon ($5) which was lovely and crispy, just the way I like it.

A great cafe with excellent coffee and a great brekkie dish in North Melbourne.

Twenty & Six on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Eat. @ Nora

156 Elgin St, Carlton 3053 ph (03) 9041 8644

I visited Nora on a "Me-Date" recently and had a lovely coffee, breakfast and of course, some of their famous charcoal tarts to go.  The team behind Nora had been supplying their distinctive tarts to a few select Melbourne cafes to rave reviews and I was really excited to try their Thai inspired interpretation of breakfast and lunch dishes.

I got there at 10am on a Thursday morning but the cafe was already full so I got to admire the display of their "tarts of the day" artistically set up with their ingredients.  

Once I was seated I ordered a coffee.  They don't serve mochas so I had one of my rare cappuccinos ($3.8).

I perused the menu, and each dish is named for one ingredient, which is then followed by a few other ingredients in the dish, in a similar vein to the menus at Estelle Bar and Kitchen.  I chose BACON, onion consomme, rice, pickles, corn ($18) and to be honest I had no idea what would be conjured with these ingredients.   Fortunately what arrived was a beautifully plated dish with surprising interpretation of the ingredients.  The bacon was more of a slowly cooked pork belly, the corn was in the form of young shoots, the onion were tender caramelised rings, and the rice was a finely ground sprinkle that gave the dish a grainy textural contrast. 

It came with a side serve of what looked like a popover, which provided some bready carbs to the dish. I appreciated the depth of thought and the chef's clever handling of the individual elements involved in the dish, and the experience was immensely enjoyable.

Of course I had to have some of the tarts ($5 each), and instead of having to choose one, I got one of each and took them home to share with the gang.  (Best Mum of after school treats I am!)  After I took a million photos first of course!

From the display, the first tart was made with dark chocolate, sesame, and I think this was topped with a sugary honeycomb.

The second tart had white chocolate, pistachio and cherries.

And last but not least a lemon ginger and lemongrass brulee tart.

We all enjoyed the tarts.  The charcoal, made from coconut husks, gave the tarts their distinctive and striking black colour, but was surprisingly mild in flavour and worked well with the lightness of the pastry.  The filling were interesting and the flavours were complementary.  If Nora had been around when I was still at Uni I can guarantee I would've spent a lot of time there getting fat eating tarts to my heart's content.  I envision many future visits, if only to grab some of those yummy tarts on the go if I can't get a table!

Nora on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Eat. @ Shortstop Coffee and Donuts

12 Sutherland St, Melbourne CBD 3000

The latest pit stop for a coffee and sweet is at Shortstop Coffee and Donuts.  There's lots of buzz about this place, and I've heard about long queues and donut shortages in the afternoon.  Luckily for me there was no queue and an abundance of yummy donuts when I dropped by on a Tuesday morning just after 11 a.m.

I'd just had brekkie over at Nora, so this was a donut run as a treat for the kids after school.  I'm the best/worst Mum.

I bought five to share (and also so I can carry them home in a box, less than that number they travel in little paper bags).

So here are my selection.  First off the Red Velvet ($4.5).  This was much like the cake and the kids loved the chocolatey flavour.

Next up Earl Grey and Rose ($4.5).  I quite enjoyed this although I thought the flavours were a little subtle as the donut is quite dense.  

My favourite was the Rhubarb and Ginger Donut ($4.5).  It didn't feel as heavy as the others as it's a raised donut, and the ginger really worked in the glaze.  And such a pretty pink!

The Banana and Chocolate Hazelnut ($4.5) is again a cake donut and the banana/choc hazelnut combo is quite timeless and translates pretty well to the donut form.

And last but not least, the Cinnamon, Cardamon and Sugar ($4) is delicious in its simplicity.

I usually like my donuts somewhat lighter than the ones I've had at Shortstop but they are certainly quite nice donuts and a winner as morning tea for city workers.  I'd definitely come back for the interesting flavours and changing menu.  My instagram followers will notice that I have a thing for taking photos of round foods (food on round plates, cakes, macarons, tarts and of course donuts!) and now I'm addicted to taking pictures of these pretty donuts.

Shortstop Coffee & Donuts on Urbanspoon