Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eat. @ Hobba - New Autumn Menu

428 Malvern Rd, Prahran 3191 ph (03) 95100 8336

I have been a fan of Hobba's great coffee and amazing 65 degree eggs since my first visit back in 2011.   So I was super happy to have been invited to preview the new menu that is being launched for Autumn and to experience their new dishes!  Owner Con Katheklakis and head chef Rhys Hunter have been working hard to bring some very interesting dishes to the new menu and it was most impressive to see their passion for a great dining experience for their patrons.

We began the evening with a tasty starter of crispy calamari and Asian salad, which is part of their repertoire for functions at Hobba.  Woah, I didn't know you could have functions at Hobba, but what a cool way to celebrate an event in their cosy dining room!  

The calamari itself was really tasty and I loved the tangy dressing for the salad. The caramelised lime was a lovely touch.

The first new menu item was "Hobba's Vietnames Banh Mi".  This was my favourite dish of the night.   Marinated pork loin, in a brioche bun with chicken liver pate, coupled with radish, lombak and the most amazing pork crackling crumb.  Oh that crumb, I could probably eat that sprinkled on every dish!  The side of slaw was refreshing, and my only gripe was that the dressing soaked the underside of my otherwise crispy and buttery brioche bun.  I had no problems gobbling the whole thing down though, wet buns and all.  More crumb please!

Next up was a pan seared snapper, with a cauliflower puree, potato gratin, asparagus and heirloom beats and purple cauliflower.  The dish was very pretty, the fish perfectly cooked, and can easily be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Then came the first appearance of the 65 degree egg, which appeared in a dish of wild mushrooms (woodear, enoki and oyster), served with sherry jus and green chives.  The egg was beautifully cooked and the gorgeous mushrooms had a delicate yet almost "meaty" taste.  A fabulous option for non meat eaters.

Hobba's chilli con carne followed, and along with a 65 degree egg it was served with a 10 hour confit brisket and goats cheese croquet, topped with shaved chocolate.  A really hearty and filling brunch dish.

Then we moved onto the Alfa Feast, which is a Hobba staple.  Southern style pulled pork, with fried eggs, alfalfa salad, and a pear reduction hollandaise.   Whilst I didn't find the dish super exciting my Hubby would love this combination of slow cooked tender pork and fried eggs.

And last but not least - I always have to end a meal with a little something sweet - Hobba's hotcakes!  Fluffy hotcakes, served with seasonal berries, mascarpone, honeycomb, vanilla bean and house-made maple syrup.  My favourite part of the dish was the honeycomb crumble which gave the super fluffy hotcakes a crunchy textural contrast.  The berries adding the tang.  A really well balanced sweet brunch option.

I think Con and Rhys have come up with a great menu which gives diners an interesting array of brunch dishes to choose from.  The range of flavours and ingredients used would satisfy the fussiest of our city's discerning brunch addicts!

Hobba on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer : Eat.Play.Shop. sampled Hobba's new autumn menu by invitation of the owner and the chef.  Opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eat. @ Tana Cafe

36 Church Street, Hawthorn 3122 ph 0421 965 656

As you can tell from this blog and my instagram feed, I like my coffee.  But there are days I don't feel like one.  And on those days I will be heading over to Tana Cafe, because I seriously think they make the best Matcha Lattes this side of town!

The owners are super lovely people and always greet me with a smile.  

I don't even know how to describe the joy I get from sipping on my matcha latte.  It's just a perfect blend of green tea and frothy milk, not too sweet and oh so soothing.

Bubs is crazy for their corn mayo toast.  I don't blame him, there's just something delicious about the mix of crunchy corn, creamy mayo and that gooey melted cheese. 

Can't wait to come back and try the rest of the menu, and more of that matcha latte of course!

Tana Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Eat. @ CIBI

45 Keele St, Collingwood 3066 ph (03) 9077 3941

We were on a look out for brunch on a blazing hot Saturday morning, but a table of 5 can be hard to come by and we wandered around Collingwood for a bit and had a surprisingly delicious brunch at Cibi a few weeks ago.

We had a short wander through the shop area which had all sorts of interesting Japanese bits and bobs on display (how many times do you think I had to say "Don't Touch!!" to the kids?)   

We were soon seated and started off with a mocha ($3.8).  Cibi is a fusion treat of Japanese and Australian and the coffee here is truly Melbournian.

We had the Traditional Weekend Special ($18.5). which had grilled slice salmon fillet, free range egg omelette tamagoyaki, seasonal green vegetables, potato salad, organic brown rice and miso soup.  

For $4 more we also ordered the Ultimate Special ($22.5), which was the traditional breakfast, with the addition of tsukemono (homemade pickled goodies), natto (fermented soybeans), umeboshi (sour plum) and nori (dried seaweed).  They added extra elements of taste and texture to the brekkie and the kids enjoyed trying these different traditional Japanese side dishes.

We also shared a soba salad ($14.5), with organic soba, avocado, cherry tomato, lightly pan fried bean curd, spring onion, green salad, olive relish with dashi dressing.  I really liked this dish and have been making different variations of this at home since it's so healthy and tasty!

We ended the meal with a green tea and azuki bean muffin ($4) which was all sorts of yummy, not too sweet and a perfect way to end a meal.

Cibi is a cute little place, and it's fusion of traditional Japanese light fare with good coffee, mixed in with a bit of retail therapy is a breath of fresh air in Collingwood (even thought they have been here for quite a few years!).  An excellent alternative when we don't feel like the usual egg/bacon based breakfast.

Cibi on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eat. @ Little Rogue

12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph 0433 739 148

Down Drewery, tucked inconspicuously in a little shop, are a couple of cool coffee chaps that are serving up lovely cups of brew to those who know about this little place.  Bubs and I ventured here after pictures of their beautiful coffees keep popping up in my Instagram Feed.

Their mocha is top notch and I was not disappointed by the beautiful coffee art in a cheery blue cup and saucer. 

As for something to nibble on, Little Rogue gets their goodies from Pop Up Scroll as well as the amazing crepe cakes from Mille & B.  We tried a slice of the pandan and coconut cake ($7) and there might just have been a little bit of fighting over the last bite between Bubs and I!

A true hidden gem of a coffee place in Melbourne!

Little Rogue on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Eat. @ Nitro Lab

Shop T2a Kingsway, Glen Waverley 3150 (03) 9590 6039

We had a family friend who lived a stone throw's away from the Glen Waverley train station when I was growing up, back when the place I used to get my ice-creams was ...... at the local milk bar, because there was no other choice!  Nitro Lab has recently opened up in the tall apartment building just outside of the station and we wandered over there for dessert after we feasted on our favourite Korean Fried Chicken over at Meega.

Nitro Lab, as its name suggests, is one of the liquid nitrogen gelato made-to-order dessert bars, offering 6 different flavours of ice-cream a month, as well as waffles and milkshakes on its menu.  The prices are $7.5 for "a little bit" and $8.5 for " a bit more". The cups don't look big but I always find that the ice-cream goes a long way!  We ordered 2 "a bit mores" and comfortably shared it between 2 adults and 3 kids.

The first was a vanilla pannacotta was a safe but most delicious flavour.  The ice-cream was smooth as expected and the sauce and crumbly bits on top.

The Mango and Coconut is always a cool tropical combo and this was topped with mango pearls and coconut.  Quite refreshing and my only gripe was that I would have loved a stronger mango flavour in the gelato.

Limited seating is available inside and also in front of the store.  A nice refereshing dessert and it was certainly a hit with our kids!  Can't wait to try next months' flavours.

Nitro Lab on Urbanspoon