Top Paddock, top shelf.

[Top Paddock, 658 Church Street Richmond 3121]

Bircher muesli[The visually tantalising Bircher muesli with natural yoghurt & green tea poached pear]

Its been way to long since our last chat so best we dive straight in shall we!?

Some truly excellent friends of mine gathered to share stories of hilarity and deliciousness on this fine day whilst basking in love, sun and vibes at Top Paddock, Richmond. (I’m sure by this stage you have already had a cheeky visit, and agree it’s a pretty spesh place.)

Over the past couple of years, I have developed a rather obsessive need to order soft shell crab on pretty much every possible occasion. And just when i thought I was safe within the trusting arms of the breakfast category, not only was I confronted face-to-face with the crab itself, but it came armed with some brioche… I mean what’s a girl to do?

Soft shell crab
[Fresh soft shell QLD mud crab roll with fennel, dill & lime mayonnaise in brioche bun]

I am partial to a bit of food envy, and this was no exception.Ricotta Hotcakes[Ricotta hotcakes with blueberries, organic maple, seeds & organic marscarpone]

If you have had the pleasure of meeting Jamon, you will understand my absolute “weak at the knees” situation right here.

Jamon anchovies 2[White anchovies & jamon serrano with fried eggs, padron peppers & manchego on toast]

How you going there? Its way past dinner time here in Melbourne and let me tell you, I AM DROOLING!!!! Do yourself a favour and head on down with your loved ones to share some good times, food and togetherness.

Wishing you a truly spectacular week, and may every mouthful be as delicious as the next.

Tastefully yours,
Joanna

Light reading:
Click here for menu.

Top Paddock on Urbanspoon

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D) All of the above

. . .

[St Kilda Pelican, 16 Fitzroy Street St Kilda, Melbourne]

Food envy for me is part and parcel of my dining experience, that’s why I love when its tapas style – “mi casa es tu casa” (so to speak) & I’ve been to Pelican on numerous occasions, ironically never for breakfast and it’s always been on a warm summers eve getting amongst the warm summer vibe…

I know, I know, Melbs hardly experiences a TRUE winter (we’re currently sitting on 12.5 degrees….however, I AM COLD! …How did I ever survive a German winter…?

In this instance, I once again pretended it was summer and we sat outside… rookie error! Who can concentrate on pretending its summer, sipping a pretty summer drink when its freezing??

So we migrated to the cosy comforts of the indoors, surrounded by the aromas of the kitchen and the light hum of the conversation, normally quite busy – it was intimately quiet. 🙂

As I was too preoccupied trying to get my gear off at pretty much every mouthful and every drop of wine, this unfortunately hasn’t been properly visually documented.

However, I do have a little mish mash of photos from previous visits….(excuse the bad lighting and flashless phone camera)

Arancini balls lying on a bed of “heart attack” 🙂

(Fcking delicious)Moroccan lamb meatballs in sauce with yoghurt:

Char-grilled Calamari with a side of rocket drizzled with “delicious”

The one thing I couldn’t help but document was the dessert.

My English teacher taught me once that DESERT (as in “Bear Grylls stuck in the middle of a…”) has one “s”, and the other-DESSERT (the sweet delicious kind) has 2 “s” because you want more.

Fair enough.

And boy did I want more! We in fact went for an option called “All of the above” – I thought it was a joke, and cross my heart (Burz, this is for you beb) this was no joke!.

Please see below for “how I got diabetes”: (clockwise)

1) Creme Brulee with short bread (O.MY……..sweeeet Jesus, Mary and Joseph…..)
2) Minted lamington (hmmm, could’ve gone without)
3) Peanut brittle ice-cream (I went to the bathroom, and came back to find it mysteriously gone….so the verdict is good 🙂 )
4) Rich chocolate mousse cake (heavens above!!)
5) White chocolate Rocky Road with pistachio (mmmmmm)

Excuse the commentary, but seriously?? What in the world of decadent, moorish heaven was that??

I suppose “all of the above” options eliminates any chance of “food-envy”, it did however leave me in a severe sugar/life high.

(Pinky promise, my next Pelican visit will involve breakfast :))

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Pelican on Urbanspoon

Satisfy the “bodhi”, mind and soul.

. . .

[Monk Bodhi Dharma, Rear 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava]

Open: Mon-Fri, 6.30am-4pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-4pm

I’m not vegetarian, but don’t really eat that much meat (unless of course its Jamón ibérico, then its all a bit of “excuse me while I undress”) and Vegan? I doubt I could ever go there as I get my “bake on” way too often, and you have to agree almost everything that makes you go “mmmmm” has butter in it. (mmm butter…I’m really a heart attack just waiting to happen)

However, I will be honest say that and didn’t even notice Monk was a culinary heaven sensation for vegans anonymous. (what a mouthful, could’ve just gone with “vegan cafe”)

I often find Vegetarian/Vegan food and menus to feel like they are “missing” a key ingredient (derr, obviously), however on this day my eyes feasted, and my tummy left feeling loved, nourished and super satisfied. (yes, SUPER satisfied :))

Good deed for the day? *tick*

Juxtaposed on this beautiful day for breakfast lovers was my “newest cafe find”coupled with my oldest friend in the world!

I met this man when we were children – I was 5, he was 6, and it was lovely to see him again. It’s always surreal to reminisce about yesterday, be in the moment for today and ponder about tomorrow with someone who knew you a lifetime ago.

Lots had changed, and change is a beautiful element of life. Nothing is permanent, and we are ever evolving.

For instance, when I was 5, I hardly spoke any English and articulating my thoughts into words was a challenge… (I still find it difficult to say EXACTLY whats on my mind…pictures help :))

Today, I write this without much thought as to the words on this electronic page, but to the story I wish portray…(yes I waffle on a bit)

So…on to the main attraction, the food and coffee? Here goes:

No ridiculous latte art, just a beautiful creamy latte made with love:

Yucatan “peasant” beans, toasted carbs and vibrant Chilli jam that kicks a punch:

This deceivingly petite dish is a reminder not to judge a breakfast by its portions. It was very filling, and satisfying, and you have to say the colours were delicious!

Marlo sweetcorn ricotta hotcakes:

These were perfect balance of flavours, and were visually exciting too-I’m one to eat with my eyes first, and little Mr Marlo Sweetcorn here was easy on the eye ;).

Some cafes are great, but there is no urge to work your way through the menu from start to finish. And some – like Monk, are a real treat and keeps you coming back to try new dishes and/or relish in your “sunday favourite”.

Breakfast lovers beware, it is a little hard to find (in an alley, behind a carpark….very Melbourne) But I assure you, whether you are Vego/Vegan or not, you will enjoy every minute of this beautiful little hideout and will leave having satisfied your “bodhi”, mind and soul…

Tastefully yours,

Light reading:

About the Monk “Bodhi Dharma”: click here
Broadsheet review: Click here
Age review: Click here

Monk Bodhi Dharma on Urbanspoon

Las Chicas, best french toast… ever??

. . .

[Las Chicas, 203 Carlisle street Balaclava]

I love stace, and I love Las chicas. The two together in very close proximity blew my socks off!

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Watermelon/Apple/Mint fresh juice…. WHOAH!

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This is sooo good, and so fresh!

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French toast with marscapone & strawberries, lovingly drizzled with sweet sweet maple.

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If you have a sweet tooth, like I certainly do, try this amazing french toast option at Las Chicas!

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Something warm?

Stace had oats with bananas and almond slivers. I think this one is a 2 person deal…stace just couldn’t finish it. Very filling!

The area at times isn’t the most safest, but it sure does pound with energy and a mix of all sorts.

We had a very strange man yell at us for no reason at all, but I think he was senile, and I swear someone was following us.

Oh, and some crackpot decided to copy what we were saying…. it takes all sorts.

Apart from this minor set back, I love how carlisle street is always alive, and once you’re inside Las Chicas, you’re amongst safe breakfast loving crowd. And if that doesn’t please, the charming and entertaining waiting staff will sure tick that box.

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Menus:

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Las Chicas on Urbanspoon

Can I be the girl that you met at the coin laundry?

. . .

[ Coin Laundry, 61 Armadale St Armadale]

phone: (03) 9500 1888

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Miss H and I caught up (a little while back now) with her man to finally try this “new” place out. (I say “new”, as I’ve been away for the majority of 2010, which was when it opened. So really it was only new to me)

She had brought this gift for me which was very fitting given the location we were in.

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Coin Laundry is situated in very family friendly, very polished Armadale and it actually used to be a Coin Laundry – fancy that! 🙂

We had been here just after New year period and sadly was closed for renovations, so being there today to experiencing all the “new and lovliness” was like the smell of freshly washed laundry…. mMMmmm. I’m a sucker for amazing smells like fresh laundry, baking bread, rain on a summers day…or a new puppy… :). Things that make you go “ahhhh” 🙂

Externally, the aesthetics are simple and a tad quirky as the establishment still holds the original “Coin Laundry” signage.
You then walk into the most serene, white, fresh atmosphere with a very strong positive, yet relaxed buzz. So fresh, so clean…
Perfect scene for a boy meets girl…

The menu was amazing and tantilising.
The decor is like a breath of fresh air, relaxed and easy on the eye… much like the waiting staff. 😉

I ordered corn& manchego fritters…. YUM!!!!!!!!!!

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Visually beautiful, and a mixed flavour sensation. The manchego does make it a bit heavy, but the fresh greens are nice to break it up.

Washed it down wit a perfect “Calmer sultra chai” (sexy chai)

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Beau ordered scrambled eggs on toast. Scrambled…. I didn’t think men over 12 ordered scrambled eggs, however the meal proved me wrong – it was delicious especially with the roesti accompanying it.

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Miss H ordered the fluffiest, smoothest, sexiest pancakes in town! Varied textures and sexy flavours make this dish one to go back for!.

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The atmosphere is light, bright, postive and clean.
The decor is clean, aestethic and fresh like clean laundry

The menu is varied, interesting and easy to read

Its really a ‘lovely’ place, for lack of another word, to catch up whether with friends or alone with the paper.
Going to the laundry has never been so satisfying!!

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Joanna

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Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Polished it all off.

. . .

[Borsch Vodka and tears, 173 Chapel St Windsor]

tel: (03) 9530 2694

Boasting more than 50 different types of vodka, this Polish Vodka bar and restaurant offers the best of the southside of Chapel street in a perfectly polish themed destination.

Whether you are a vodka fan or not, I’m postive either one of the following will win you over: Vibe, knowledgable friendly staff and amazing food – the kind of food that would give your grandma a run for her money!

We tried some flavoured vodka, some clear vodka and some truly amazing homely food.

Ang ordered “beetroot soup”…. I was dubious about this as I’ve never heard of it before, and couldn’t get the taste of canned beetroot soaking through bread out of my mind.

We were in for a surprise!

First, the colour was amazing and vibrant, and the aroma of the soup was overpoweringly goooood!

Most importantly, the taste was amazing. It was light and full of beetroot flavour, but not in a canned way.

Laura ordered Goulash, which was again amazing…. moorish, and full of flavour.

And I ordered a Polish style gnocci in broth which was also out of this world.

We had polished it all off in true Polish style, and sat back to enjoy the warmth of the food and vodka as we caught up on each-others lives.

(Yes, I have a tendency to add ‘non breakfasty’ type entries… In my defence however, I really think breakfast can be enjoyed many ways including last night’s leftovers or a traditionally ‘lunch type’ food. Breakfast is what you make it. Technically the first meal of the day, and I would be more than happy to enjoy a warm hearty soup some melbourne mornings 🙂 )

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Borsch, Vodka & Tears on Urbanspoon

Just ‘bent’ around the corner

. . .

[Bent Espresso, 2/385 Centre Road Bentleigh ]

Phone: (03) 9557 1339
Open: Weekdays 7:30-3, Saturday 8-3, Sunday 7-2:30

I’m looking at the opening hours..and to be quite frank, I think I’m lying (got the information from here, so blame them :))

So Caz and I used to frequent this cute place in Hughesdale called “turtle” cafe like all the time!! (no, not the one in Elwood) And it was getting worrying that we only knew ONE place to breakfast. Then, it closed. Problem solved!!

On this fine day, we decided on somewhere local – we chose Bent espresso round the corner from us. We exchanged stories of the past year and what we’d been up to and enjoyed the mix of young and old (and middle) in a little cafe tucked away on Bent street in Bentleigh. (I’ve been here with Jess before I left for Germany, and had some amazing light treats) It was nice to do a full circle.

I’ve been on this savoury breakfast bandwagon for a while now, and as a result chose ‘corn fritters with bacon and 2 poached eggs.


(loving the way this looks right now)

Now, I dont want to spray too much negative commentary as the service is immaculate and I hear the coffees are to die for… I just think they were having an off day. Which is unfornutate, as I happened to experience that.

The meals were beautiful presented, the vibe was right, the service and clientele relaxed yet chatty… but the EGGGSSS!!!!! the beautiful poached eggs had been sitting a tad too long waiting….and consequently started to cook through.

Its really not as bad as I make it out – but there is something so sensual and exiting about a beautifully poached free range egg as you break through the whites to get to the gold inside…. The gloriously aesthetic yoke slowly oozes out like a volcano and I just can not with to taste it… not this time folks!!

I break thought the white eagerly and…


it just sat there all sad and solidified… my breakfast looked embarresed…

To give it credit though – its not as bad as Riverland…. oh god, Definately not as bad as that!!!!

I really don’t enjoy saying bad things about a cafe that is sooo good in so many other ways and especially since my previous experience was immaculate, but I’m sorry consistency is important. There’s no point having great eggs only when the good chef is working… 😦

The sad thing is, I loved my morning there with Caz, the atmosphere was buzzing and it was great to not be working on a “school day”. To me, the poached egg should be perfection, and its also saddening that everything else (atmosphere, service, fritters, bacon…) were all amazing. I just happen to be a poached egg freak!.

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Bent Espresso on Urbanspoon