Reservoir

Lady Bower

Lady Bower is located in an area of Reservoir that you wouldn’t expect to turn into. On one side is a main road but if you enter from the other side, you will drive past such an everyday suburban street that you might wonder if you’re in the right place.

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It’s your typical small and cosy suburban cafe and I enjoyed that our water was served to us in a wine bottle. We were swiftly offered the menus, specials and drink orders but I had to change my order of a latte after I spotted the display below…

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The display provides a common vintage influence, along with the feeling that you’re looking at patterns straight out of your nana’s house. Upon our request, the staff let us move inside when a table became free due to the chilly and windy weather.

20140421_130912 My hand shaken salted caramel milkshake ($4.50) came in a tall 420mL jar and looked quite pale. It tasted very milky at first, but as I got used to the taste, the salted caramel became more apparent later on. You can also get a lamington version if that sounds more appetising! Meanwhile my friends ordered a latte and cappuccino.

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Whilst we waited for our food, I observed the interior was quite minimal except for the curvy lights and the wall at the back, with a tea set that continued the cute, nana sort of theme.

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Some seats also had a knit blanket (like the corner seats above), which we assumed was to cushion the plastic seat if you wanted, but may have just been there for decoration. The tables inside were mainly small and catered to two to four people, with one large table, but I’m sure some of them can be pushed together to cater for more!

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My other friend suddenly decided she wanted a hot chocolate ($3.50), which looked like your usual. Finally we received our food, which all looked amazing. Their menu had many items, which are not your usual breakfast and lunch items, so it felt like a refreshing change.

IMG-20140422-WA0003One of us ordered the Meatballs, smokey sauce, swiss cheese, rocket salad, on a turkish bread ($9.50, above). I had a taste of one of the meatballs and it tasted cheesy and a little spicy.

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My other two friends ordered the Pork Belly roll with apple coleslaw and sriracha mayo ($12, above) with extra rosemary mushrooms ($3). I found the pork nice and tender and really flavoursome. The sriracha gave it some extra spice in a good way too. I think it’s very filling for $12, so much that I had to help one of my friend’s finish it.

Finally, I decided to go with one of the March specials, Rosemary mushrooms, pate, brioche, truffle oil and autumn leaves with poached eggs ($17.50, below). I was very curious as to what they classify as autumn leaves, but it was pretty standard.

20140421_132154I think it was a good balance between various ingredients but the truffle oil wasn’t that evident and the pate wasn’t that great. I’ve tasted better pate at Rice Paper Scissors. It made the dish a tad salty, but I managed to balance it out with the salad. Overall, it’s a great looking and filling dish and the eggs were perfect, but maybe few more elements need to be refined.

It’s not a surprise as to why Lady Bower is such a popular place in an area that is a little short in quality cafes. I think their prices are decent and the staff are friendly and attentive, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t drop by especially if you live around the area.

Lady Bower is located at 1A Marchant Avenue, Reservoir and is open Tue-Sun 8am-4pm. Check out their current menu here.

Lady Bower Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Burgers in Melbourne

Before you start telling me what’s the best burger in Melbourne – let me put this straight. I’m not here to debate the BEST burger, I’m merely here to share some of the burgers I have tried. You may have heard of them, you may have not, and there’s plenty more on my to-go-list so please leave your suggestions!

Strange Wolf: Strachan Lane, Melbourne CBD

Introduced to this typically-hidden-in-a-dodgy-alleyway joint by my lovely film festival committee, Strange Wolf is located underground just off Collins St. Or should I say was – I think they’re closed now, as I heard they would be closing towards the end of the year and their Facebook and website has disappeared.


Not my picture – from Urbanspoon, click for link!

Alas, let me reminisce of the burger that was. It was called The Underbelly ($15, above), with free range pork belly, smoked cheese, pickle, apple slaw and BBQ sauce. Unfortunately, from this view you can’t tell the burger’s true size. I found it larger than your average burger, or than burgers from more casual takeaway places such as Huxtaburger, and thus quite filling. The apple slaw goes well with the large pork belly slices and made it stand out from your everyday beef burger. It felt like a fulfilling burger and it wasn’t too messy except for the bits of apple slaw that fall out.

Furthermore, they have large herby hand-cut chips, which is how I like my chips – nice and thick. I would usually prefer a larger serving than the small cone that comes with it – but the burger really filled me up! If this place hasn’t closed, please correct me, but the signs don’t look good.

Strange Wolf on Urbanspoon

Huxtaburger: Fulham Place off Flinders Lane

To be honest – I don’t have that much to say about Huxtaburger. It seems to be a highly rated burger shop amongst Melburnians, indicated by the excitement of CBD dwellers when they opened up Huxtaburger II (the original is in Collingwood).

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Like most burger places, it has a bit of an American diner atmosphere to its decor. This place has more of a take-away feel, rather than dine-in, unless you’re after a quick munch on your work break or with one or two friends. Their menu is very basic, with their staple burgers and their beer/soft drink menus on either side.

As I wasn’t too hungry, I went for the classic Huxtaburger ($8.5) with beef patty, mustard, mayo, tomato sauce, tomato, cheese, lettuce and pickles. To me, this sounds like a typical burger. It was good – but what was so special about it? I’m still not sure. I also tried their chipotle fries ($2.50-$3?), which gives the chips a kind of smoked, Mexican chilli flavour. I probably enjoyed this more than the burger – although as I have mentioned, I’m pretty weak so it was a bit chilli for me towards the end.

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Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon

Hammer & Tong: 412 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

On a bit of a different note, Hammer and Tong are more of a brunch place. One of their specialties is their soft shell crab burger ($16) and my table had 3 out of 4 people order the dish.

Soft shell crab burger

My friend enjoyed the mayonnaise/cheesy sauce, as it complimented and added to the texture of the crab, and seemed to provide the main flavour of the dish. I enjoyed a bite too – but I guess the downside is the price vs the serving size. Hardly enough to fill you up unless you’re after a light meal.

Hammer and Tong on Urbanspoon

Misty’s Diner: 765 Gilbert Rd, Reservoir

This year, Misty’s Diner opened its second branch in the northern suburb of Reservoir. We’ve discovered this place is basically where you go if you want to have a heart attack on a plate…so it’s best not to go too often. Misty’s goes all out with it’s American theme, from its Marilyn Monroe newspaper art, to the American accented cashier at the counter.

ThickshakeThe attraction of Misty’s is its extra goodies from thickshakes, deep fried desserts or American snacks such as Twinkies at the counter. Having enjoyed a white chocolate cookies and cream thickshake last time, I couldn’t resist trying a mixed berries and white chocolate shake this time! I think I still prefer the cookies and cream one (they’re a bit expensive though, can’t remember the price but probably $6 or $8+).

Burger and fries

Another extra, is that they have various fries with topping. Delicious, but fills you with so much guilt after the meal. I ordered the Western & Bacon burger ($14.90, above), mushrooms, BBQ sauce, onion rings, bacon, mayo and Swiss cheese, with a side of wet fries (fries topped with meat gravy).

In complete American style, these meals are oversized but delicious, fatty but mouthwatering.  The menu with its sauces and abundance of ingredients really attempt to pack lots of meat and flavours into your meal. Not for the light-hearted!

Misty's Diner on Urbanspoon

Beatbox Kitchen: various locations

Lucky last, and lucky for me, Beatbox Kitchen often stops by the front of my work building. Eager to try, I left my lunch at work in order to try burgers from this cutely designed truck. There were only two options, the Raph Burger ($11, beef) and the Shroom Burger ($10, portobello mushroom).

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Never content to leave it at that, we asked if we could add a beef patty to the shroom burger. Of course, it was possible, but for a price of $15. This meant my burger had a whole marinated portobello mushroom, beef, lettuce, gouda cheese, tomato, onion and stereo sauce (tangy mayo).

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Out of all the burgers, I enjoyed this one the most. It seemed to have just the right amount of everything, including sauce. That means you still get to a messy stage, with sauce dripping out, after you get about halfway. It was so good, I didn’t even need to take my tomato out (I don’t like tomato) as the other ingredients and sauce still made it taste rich and flavoursome.

The excellent flavour might have something to do with the stereo sauce, but the beef patty was juicy and tasty too. We also ordered chips with stereo sauce (at that time, I still wasn’t sure what stereo sauce was but it sounded interesting), but didn’t realise the serving was so big. The burgers were incredibly filling with the extra beef, and the chips were too similar to McDonald’s fries for me to enjoy so I didn’t finish them.

UPDATE:
To add to an already very long post, I couldn’t help but try Beatbox Kitchen again whilst pondering what I should have for lunch the other day. Spying the truck across the road, I thought this could only be a sign! I thought I would try the Raph Burger and see how it stands on its own. This included the 170gm grass-fed beef patty (medium-rare), cos lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion and stereo sauce.

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So the difference from last time was no gouda cheese or mushroom. As I was looking for something less filling, I still enjoyed the burger immensely and can deduct that the actual beef patty is cooked just right. Without the gouda cheese, it’s evidently less saucy/cheesy but the stereo sauce was still great and tangy. It also meant that this time, I could notice the buttery bun a lot more and the bun’s texture was slightly crisp and crunchy today. Goes to show what different experiences you can have with the same place!

Beatbox Kitchen on Urbanspoon

In addition to these places, I have been to Andrew’s Hamburgers in Albert Park and The Bottle of Milk in Lorne, but due to my lack of photos and memory, I can’t comment too accurately. I do however remember I wasn’t completely amazed by Andrew’s Hamburgers after all the hype, and that I enjoyed a good messy burger from The Bottle of Milk by the nearby beach! Perhaps it’s better to try it yourself rather than trusting my bad recollections.

I am still eager to try Ribs and Burgers, Top Paddock’s soft shell crab burger and anything else you guys recommend. Let me know what burgers you liked or where I should go in the comment section below!