Carlton

Pinoy Pop Up Dinner

Recently we were invited to dine at a media event of Filipino food to promote the Pinoy Pop Up dinner, part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Continue reading

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Elsewhere…

Many of you may or may not know that I also write for Weekendnotes, a website featuring articles about events and activities happening in Melbourne.

I’ve also just started writing for a new website called Livlicious. It has a similar concept to Weekendnotes but also has opportunities for businesses to contribute with special offers etc. Check it out and if you have any suggestions, leave it on the Feedback tab, as it’s only just starting out!

Here’s a selected few of my articles but please visit the respective websites to see the rest so you don’t miss out!

 

 

 

Goyogo Frozen Yoghurt

Froyo is all the craze now, so of course the popular and lively nightlife of Lygon St could not miss out! Goyogo is a new frozen yoghurt place on the popular strip and they’re attracting people with their bright, modern decor, and their flavours and toppings that cater to everyone. Read more here.

GOYOGO on Urbanspoon

Top Things to do in Autumn in Melbourne

It’s a common mistake to believe there’s not much to do in Melbourne once summer is over. However there’s plenty of places to explore that radiate a special and unique beauty in autumn. Read more here.

 

 

 

Blue Lotus Water Gardens

The beautiful lotuses and water lilies at Blue Water Lotus Gardens make for spectacular views in this area of Yarra Valley. It’s great for a walk – take in the luscious scenery as you walk on cute bridges in the midst of it all or sit down for a bite in a gazebo. Hurry, the season closes on 6th April. Read more here.

Picknics Cafe

Located along Nepean Highway, the strip right across the beach, this Rye cafe serves some classic breakfast meals with careful presentation. In addition to that you can walk right across to the beach after your meal. Read more here.

Picknics Cafe on Urbanspoon

Summer is calling…

As Melbourne finally heats up (temporarily), the call for ice cream grows louder and louder. I can’t say no to ice cream so let’s not waste anymore time and I will share some more hotspots, following on from my last post Gelato in Melbourne.

The Lab: 188 Bourke St, Melbourne

The Lab shares a similar concept to N2 Extreme Gelato, with large machines full of nitrogen and clouds of smoke engulfing their scientific-looking employees.

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Their location is more convenient, located in the heart of the city on Bourke St and so I eagerly joined a long queue. Their flavours don’t sound as exciting as N2, but that’s not what matters. We ended up with a banana honey crunch and salted caramel popcorn ($6 each).

The banana was nice and sweet with some added texture of muesli on top and the salted caramel matched well with the popcorn pieces scattered on top.

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The problem is I found N2 flavours a lot more smooth and wholesome. They seem to find a way to cohesively mix flavours together whilst adding innovative things such as a creme brulee layer on top, whereas The Lab just put pieces of things on top. So if you’re in the city, it should satisfy your ice cream cravings but if you have time I’d suggest venturing out.

The Lab is open Mon-Thurs and Sun 12pm-11.30pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-1am.

The Lab Nitrogen Gelato on Urbanspoon

Gelato Messina: 237 Smith St, Fitzroy

Another new and well-anticipated shop is Gelato Messina. Heralding from Sydney with great popularity, winner of this year’s Australian stage of the Gelato World Tour, and voted the best gelato in Australia by the Good Food Guide, there’s every reason for the hype surrounding them.

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A great queue greeted us on a Friday night, but they even have takeaway menus for you to look at whilst you wait. In addition to that, they have a Specials board, which makes the decision of what flavour to get that much harder.

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In addition to your everyday flavours (above), I tried to avoid the generic salted caramel that was also on show and instead my eyes lit up at my other true love, white chocolate. I was also interested by the apple pie flavour so I got a scoop of that and their special, nicciolino, which was described as white chocolate and hazelnut gelato with frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) soaked sponge and gianduia (sweet chocolate containing hazelnut) ganache (2 scoops, $6). Phew.

Until now, I didn’t even realise what those ingredients were and now I realise the abundance of hazelnut. There were some chunks of all these things, sponge, ganache and apple pie, that made the gelato quite tasty and full of surprises. We couldn’t quite put out finger on what it was, but we’re 90% sure it was the frangelico sponge that was the tastiest addition to the gelato.

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The apple pie also uncannily resembled the actual taste of apple pie quite well, with pies of pie throughout it. Finally getting to try it, I can understand the hype and the queue, however you will see where my heart lies at the end of this post.

Their outfit is also very funky, located on Smith St it’s a must. There’s quite a few spots to sit on the curvy benches inside and enjoy your gelato as well, and if you’re up for it you can even order tubs of ice cream or the misto plate ($12), a plate of five flavours.

Gelato Messina is open Mon-Thurs and Sun 12pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-11.30pm.

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

Il Dolce Freddo: 116 Lygon St, Carlton

If anyone ever refers to “Freddo’s” for short, this is where they mean. Located on Lygon St, there’s plenty of competition from other gelato shops yet on a Saturday night, this place still managed to be constantly busy.

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Even glancing at the flavours, most of them were close to finished. They have a wide range of flavours but are not as experimental, with Asian nuances. Flavours such as durian, green tea and lychee demonstrate this.

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This time, I couldn’t resist their version of the salted caramel, and now I’ve realised my liking for bits and pieces in my gelato, I also tried the vanilla crunch. My friend went for a green theme, with green tea and pistachio. I think they were about $5-6, and the waffle cone was a nice touch.

They have limited tables to sit inside and some outside to enjoy the lively Lygon St atmosphere. I enjoyed the combination of my flavours and the crunchy bits of my gelato. My friend’s green tea was also good but not too strong. If I’m ever in the mood for ice cream that I know will be good, I can usually rely on Freddo’s. They are more traditional and no frills except for a few of their exotic flavours.

Il Dolce Freddo is open Tue-Sun 12.30pm-11pm.

Il Dolce Freddo on Urbanspoon

Cones: 141A Station St, Fairfield

Cones is a local gelato shop in Fairfield, located on the busy Station St near Fairfield Station. After a brunch session at the amazing Fifteen Poundswe took advantage of the hot day and walked over for our gelato fix.

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Their flavours range from the classic bubblegum to the comforting and rich nutella. I was immensely tempted by the tim tam flavour (bottom left), but it looked too rich and full of chocolate for me to stomach in ice cream form.

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Instead, I ended up with a honeycomb flavour, which seems to look like all the other flavours I get from other shops (salted caramel, hazelnut etc)! It wasn’t mind-blowing, but subtle and enjoyable. They had decent prices and we were really happy with how full they pack your cone/cup with ice cream as it’s rare for local places to be so generous.

Cones is open everyday 9.30am-9.30pm.

Cold Rock Ice Creamery: Shop 21, Janefield Drive, University Hill

University Hill is generally a very quiet and empty ghost town in the northern suburbs. However, Cold Rock seems to be full of people looking for a good dose of late night ice cream, who don’t want to venture towards the city. If you’ve never been, you get to choose various toppings for them to smash into your ice cream.

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Their flavours aren’t that extensive, but at least they had white chocolate to satisfy me. When I realised I could get two flavours, I also got the mango sorbet as mango is my favourite fruit.

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I got them to put in tim tams, a favourite chocolate snack of mine, and as I didn’t want it overflowing with hard chocolate pieces, I also got marshmallows to balance it out. It may not look pretty, but I think I created a pretty good combination.

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I guess the only problem is customer service is a tad slow for perhaps one of the the only busy places at University Hill, and the person who served me didn’t seem too enthusiastic. To top that, he charged me the wrong price and had to come over to get more money off me. The toppings are also a bit expensive, all up it was about $8.90 or so.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t finish my filling serve of smashed ice cream as I was so full and if I’m ever feeling particularly lazy, I wouldn’t have to venture far to visit here.

Cold Rock is open Mon-Wed and Sun 10am-9pm, Thurs 10am-10pm and Fri-Sat 10am-11pm.

Cold Rock Ice Creamery on Urbanspoon

N2 Extreme Gelato: 329 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

It is evident from this post, that I eat way too much ice cream. No matter how much I like the other ones, I have decided N2 still wins in my heart but it most certainly depends on which flavours. Their popular French Earl Grey dulce de leche is a winner and third time around, this lemon meringue pie ($8) was also amazing.

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The meringue swirl was warm and full of flavour, whilst it contrasted with the cold gelato below. The added shortbread to the serving made it an overall taste sensation and now the next on my list to try one day would be their ferrero reveal, considering how much I love ferrero rochers!

N2 Extreme Gelato is open everyday 1pm-11pm.

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Gelato in Melbourne

I am one of those people who believe any time is a good time for ice-cream, and that there is always room for dessert. Here are some places around Melbourne that have satisfied my gelato cravings:

Helados Jauja

IMAG3160Situated out in the open on Lygon St, Helados Jauja is an Argentinian gelato store with a wide selection of unique flavours (see below). They were typically busy on a Friday night, whether due to its location or their enticing flavours, who knows? I’d say it’s quite a favourite of many Melburnians.

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We had taste tested a few flavours, but as the store was busy, the staff didn’t seem too warming or talkative. We tried the dulce de leche (Argentinian style caramel) and rosewater (the “Holy Mi Amor” in the picture I think, it was a long time ago!), as they were popular flavours that I had heard of. The rosewater was not too strong and I didn’t mind it, but it was not entirely to my taste. I did however enjoy the dulce de leche. I would love to try more flavours but there is a never-ending list of places to go in Melbourne and ever so little time!

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It is quite the norm now to have unique and unheard of gelato flavours (goaty cheese sounds particularly interesting, but not something I would try), but they remain traditional with their storefront and are quite a popular destination on the Lygon strip.
Helados Jauja on Urbanspoon
N2 Extreme Gelato

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The new kid on the block, surrounded by hype and lots of smoke, is N2 Extreme Gelato. The novelty factor is that you watch them make your ice-cream from liquid nitrogen, resulting in smooth and delicious flavours.

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I’ve heard of the Sydney branch, and wasn’t even aware it was in Melbourne until I heard that a friend works there. We braved the busy weekend line to try the flavours, and perhaps unsurprisingly tried the French Earl Grey Dulce De Leche. I was excited for a collaboration between N2 and Luxbite (cafe/dessert place near Chapel St) that weekend, however it ended up being a kaya flavour, and I can’t stand coconut!

The wait can be lengthy during peak times, and with all the hype, the line went well out of the door. The flavour was delicious, and although $6 seems expensive the cup was quite filling even though I shared it with my friend. For any further indication, my friend enjoyed the flavour and she usually doesn’t even like ice-cream. I know some people are doubtful over the value due to the hype, but I believe they are making new and innovative flavours!

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The fun doesn’t stop there – there’s funky art on the walls, the seating at the back is covered in fake grass and there’s a bit of a grungy garage feel. There’s also fruit plush toys sitting around for people to pose with (in their instagram photos).

What will keep people coming back is their weekly change of flavours, constantly teasing fans with photos of their ingredients on social media. I have noticed they keep some flavours for more than a week, such as the sorbet for vegans and popular flavours such as the creme brulee.

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Spring St Grocer

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Before the N2 craze, Spring St Grocer was at the top of my “ice-cream to eat list”. Finally, on a lonesome adventure the other day I thought I would drop by. It is also an open store on a corner in a less adventurous part of Melbourne, on Spring St near Parliament Station.

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I perused yet another interesting list of flavours but could not bring myself that day to be adventurous. I did try a spoon of the salted caramel and chilli, but the chilli kick that comes after a few seconds was a bit weird rather than tasty to me. I was in the mood for something I knew would be delicious, so I went with a safe hazelnut.

The flavour was delicious and comforting, and at $4.50 or $4 was a generous price for something that looked small but was filling. I might even bring myself to try something a little different next time, like pear and nutella.

It lacks the novelty of N2, but provides a more homely feel as it is also a grocer. They are no frills with their gelato hidden under silver tops, and rely purely on their word of mouth and mix of classic and modern flavours.

Spring St Grocer on Urbanspoon

Edward’s Place Coffee Lounge & Bar

Last but not least, this gelato was purely bought locally to enjoy a sit by Edwardes Lake on a sunny weekend. I went for my favourite fruit, mango, and we also tried a nutty nougat flavour. I think I’m starting to see a trend in my lack of tolerance for interesting flavours, because the nougat was overbearingly nutty so I stuck to my mango, although it was a bit weak and watery.

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I have heard the The Lab, another nitrogen ice-cream place has opened on Bourke St, so that’s another one for my list. If you have any favourite flavours from these places or somewhere else, please let me know so I can give it a try!