St Kilda

Mission #3: Final Report

Well that is the end of another month, another mission, albeit a much quieter and slow-paced one! It’s amazing how fast time flies but also nice to have time to yourself to rest, especially as it nears towards the end of 2014 and all you need is a break. Continue reading

Mission #3: Laverton Market

I hope you’ve enjoyed my quieter, third mission of mobile food so far. Before I go on to talk about some of the stalls at Laverton Market, I’ll provide you with a few mobile food tips for the rest of the year.

  • MARKETS: Look out for all the markets rolling in for summer including Coburg Night Market (Nov), St Kilda Twilight Market (usually Dec) and a new market called called Hank Marvin Market at Alma Park, St Kilda East (Nov). It has already confirmed the likes of Hammer and Tong, Koba and more!
  • NICHOLSON ST PROJECT: Speaking of Hammer and Tong Truck, they recently posted the below photo with the caption “sneak peak on our new project happening soon”. Watch out Nicholson St!
  • GOOD FOOD MONTH: Finally, it’s Good Food Month next month and the Night Noodle Market returns! It didn’t impress me too much last year with its crowds, small portions and overpriced, unauthentic food. But hey – hopefully it improves this year and I know heaps of people last year had a different opinion. Includes the likes of Chin Chin, Longrain, Red Spice Road and more!

Pho Trang

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Now back to Laverton Market. I’ve written about a Vietnamese place here before that does excellent Bun Bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup) and xoi (sticky rice). On a few later visits we noticed a new pho place pop up (beef noodle soup) so thought we should give it a try.

IMG_2557 copyTrue to its tagline, they serve various Vietnamese noodle soups, mainly different types of pho, and a few other items. They even have a menu to give you when you are seated – this doesn’t happen often at outdoor stalls.
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They accidentally made two special phos (usually just a mixture of all the meats) instead of one with just beef balls and sliced beef – but I’m not complaining. We also ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee but it’s hard to go wrong with that!

The bowl was filling but did look small upon first impressions. It definitely wasn’t one of the best bowls of pho I’ve ever had, the broth acceptable, average even, but the meat and beef balls not the best quality either.

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My friend ordered Bun Rieu, crab noodle soup with a tomato broth. As you can see they packed a lot of tomato itself into the bowl, which made it a bit too strong and didn’t leave a lot of room for other fillings.

It’s no surprise that despite this new opening, the other Vietnamese place in the market is still bustling and more crowded than Pho Trang.

Pho Trang on Urbanspoon

Eggy Egg Puffles
We were also fascinated by this different type of dessert from Hong Kong called an Egg Puffle. It resembled a waffle but with egg-shaped sections, whilst the sections could be filled with different flavours.

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We sampled a cheese one, which was not bad but my friend enjoyed the vanilla and strawberry more. The flavours were very subtle but present, a bite of the strawberry revealing a thin red layer inside the puffle. The crispy nature of the dessert along with the convenience of breaking it into pieces to share make it a great concept. Check them out here.

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Eggy Egg Puffles on Urbanspoon

The market is definitely not short of food. You’ll see people walking past with corn, sausages, BBQ skewers and more. Some are particularly busy each weekend so they must have built up large followings, especially as permanent stalls.

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The fun also lies in discovering all the types of things for sale – from goldfish to hardware and clothes!

Laverton Market is open every weekend from 7am-4pm but experience shows that a lot of stalls start packing down at around 2pm or after lunch.

Mission #3: Foodie Failures and More

The risk with your meals relying on food trucks and stalls is their unpredictability – will their truck break down, will they sell out of your favourite food, will business be quiet due to a thunderstormy night…? Continue reading

Mission #1: Choosing Vegie Meals

In line with my first mission, I thought in addition to eating at vegetarian places, that I would try opt for the vegetarian dishes at everyday restaurants. And so the challenge began at my local (near work), Miss Jackson. Continue reading

Insiders & Adventures!

Insiders of the month: June
If you haven’t noticed my Insiders on the right hand side this month, then you better check them out now! Recommendations include my sister’s friend’s new joint in Thornbury, Jerry Joy. She also used to own the Foodrinkery in Burwood.

Something else that seems to be all the rage is the new burger joint in Footscray – Eat8bit. I’ve heard mixed things about this place, that the burgers and buns are amazing but the waiting times are a bit ridiculous, so who knows when I’ll finally decide to make the trip over. Let me know if you’ve tried it in the comments!

Anyway, most of you know I write for a few other websites. If this blog becomes a bit quiet, I’m probably busy with other articles, so here’s a roundup of the articles I’ve churned out recently.

Fitzrovia
You may have read my previous post on this place down by my work and noticed I wasn’t a big fan. However, another trip to this place provided a different experience and some quality food. Read more here.

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Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

Hoa Tran
A popular place in Springvale, this spot is always busy. They serve a wide range of Asian food but of course specialise in Vietnamese food. The food will come out extremely quickly, so read more here and drop by!

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Hoa Tran on Urbanspoon

A Day in in Ballarat
You may not have seen my recent post on food in Ballarat, but I also did a few other things in this lovely, peaceful town. For a list of things you can do in Ballarat, click here!

Yan Yean Reservoir Park
This place is not too far if you live in the northern suburbs. I was surprised that I had not heard of it before. It’s a lovely place for a picnic, a walk or to take your dogs. Take in the refreshing scenery at Melbourne’s first ever reservoir. Read more.

Altona Dog Beach
Speaking of dogs, if you have some canine friends, the perfect place for them is Altona Dog Beach. It’s enormous and so spacious for dogs to play in, the water is so clear and the views provide a calm atmosphere – until the dogs start wrestling! Read more on Livlicious here.

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Winter Fireworks
What else to do in winter, but enjoy the fireworks by Docklands during July and August. Even better, take a cruise by the Melbourne skylines and get the best view of the show! Read more here.

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Fort Nepean
Last but not least, a second trip to Point Nepean National Park left me just as amazed as the last. It proved there was still so much more for me to explore, so share the experience with me here.

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I’m Sorry Miss Jackson…

I hope I got that song (Outkast – Ms Jackson) stuck in your head now. I had to get it stuck in yours, because that’s exactly what happened to me when I visited one of the cafes below. This is a bit of a miscellaneous post, as I haven’t explored enough for them to warrant their own articles, so here it goes.

Mr Burger
I’ve heard so many people raving about this food truck, that I had to try it out to see what the fuss is. The opportunity arose when my friend told me they were at Federation Square, and in a flash, I was there.

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I was surprised to see not many people lining up, considering how popular I’ve heard it is. But on a Friday night, people in the city probably had plans to go somewhere for a proper dinner.

I chose the Mr Meat ($10) burger with beef pattie, bacon, cheese, lettuce, pickle, caramelised onions, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise.

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The cheese oozed throughout the burger making it look disgustingly good. It’s a good value burger that satisfied my hunger, but I don’t see the specialty of it. In the end I felt like I was having a glorified and more filling McDonalds or fast food burger.

In the meantime, I’ll still declare my love and dedication to the burgers of Beatbox Kitchen, but I still have to chase up burger recommendations from friends at places such as Tree of Us and Spot on Kebab Station.

Mr Burger is a roving food truck. Keep an eye on their movements here and check out their menu here.

Mr Burger on Urbanspoon

Miss Jackson
Our staple cafe near work is Green Eggs and Ham, but their special didn’t entice us last week so I scoured the web for another place nearby.

This gem is located in what looks like it used to be a house off Grey St. The staff are very casual and quite friendly. They led us towards the back of the cafe, which was located near a door where staff kept venturing in and out. This is what made us feel like we were in a house, and our seating seemed to be in what used to be a separate room.

20140424_125430 After we had trouble with deciding what we wanted from the menu, my friend chose this warm chicken piadina with bacon, avocado and basil mayo ($11.50). She enjoyed it, but not enough to finish it all, as the flavour became a bit repetitive. 20140424_125415Meanwhile, the rest of us got reeled in by the Spanish baked eggs with chorizo, char grilled capsicum and olives ($16). This displayed great presentation, but olives are a refined taste that not all of us could stomach. I enjoyed a few but couldn’t finish them all. The rest of the dish was great, the capsicums soft, and the tomatoes provided a nice flavour to eat with the bread. A bit more chorizo would have helped make it more filling, but the bread helped to do that in the end.

Miss Jackson is located at 2/19 Grey St and is open Tue-Sun 7am-4pm. You can view their menu here and keep an eye on their specials on Facebook.

Miss Jackson on Urbanspoon

Green Eggs and Ham Pt.2
If you haven’t checked out my previous post on this cafe, click here. It’s our favourite cafe near work, so it might be out of the way for other people unless you’re nearby.

For my Weekendnotes article covering my more recent visit, click here. This trip included some great aspects such as this cute iced coffee served in a beaker!

20140417_130023 Meanwhile, the special that day, which all five of us ordered, was a delicious Japanese pancake (okonomiyaki) with a generous amount of teriyaki chicken. Don’t miss out on their next amazing special!

Green Eggs and Ham is located at 22 St Kilda Road and they are open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm.

Green Eggs and Ham on Urbanspoon

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham is building up a reputation around the southern most part of St Kilda Rd. Many go for the coffee, others for the friendly smiles and service that greet you at the door. The first time I went to get something for lunch they didn’t make a good impression – they kind of stuffed up my order. But my colleagues and I decided to go for a dine-in lunch and I thought I would give it another chance.
20140327_125202 Their menu is quite simple and succinct, as can be seen by their breakfast menu here. They were a bit busy as we sat ourselves down, so we went to get the menus ourselves from the bench above. I ended up choosing a wrap from the display window rather than the menu, as the last time I ordered a tandoori chicken one for takeaway it was great – it was just the service that was the problem.

20140327_130336It’s friendly yet kind of strange that a staff member floats around the door and the front counter to greet you. That’s from in front of the counter – not behind. So when you order, you find yourself standing right next to the person serving you and asking what you would like. There’s not really anything wrong with it, but you will find it a change to your conventional processes of having a barrier between the server and customer.

I ordered a Korean beef wrap ($9) with a side of chips (I think it was about $3). I loved the presentation of everything, the bonus salad and the cute basket of french fries (below).

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My wrap was full of plenty of beef but it didn’t really have that spicy tang of Korean flavour I’m so used to. I was kind of expecting something similar to say a Koba BBQ burrito, a blend of spicy flavours, as the tandoori chicken wrap last time tasted exactly like it would in a meal. This is not to say the beef didn’t taste good, it just wasn’t what I expected.

It may seem silly but small aspects such as their glasses and brown sugar impressed us with their aesthetics. Unfortunately, what wasn’t simple was their special of the day. We were eyeing a few other meals with a large mug and wandering what everyone was getting.

It was not until we heard a waitress say that it’s their special that we noticed the sign high above on the wall, opposite the counter and not entirely noticeable. Another customer on our communal table highly recommended it, thus my friends who were in line, suddenly changed their minds to order the special.

Unfortunately one of my friends ordered the last one! It included a large mug of pumpkin soup and a sandwich with some pieces of bread to dip into the soup. My friend said she doesn’t usually like pumpkin soup but she liked this one, and continued to finish every little bit of the meal.

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Finally, my other friend was eyeing a teriyaki tofu wrap ($8.50) in the display. I love tofu as well, so teriyaki tofu definitely sounded appetising. In the end she went with the teriyaki tofu salad ($8.50) with extra chicken ($3.50) and the result below looked amazing and definitely worth the value!
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This cafe has evidently located itself to cater to the corporates, only being open during the week. It’s either full of people on their lunch break or those dropping by to get their daily fix of coffee. The staff are friendly but considering we had to get a menu ourselves, I think it would be a great idea to have a menu on the wall considering it’s quite short. Perhaps a sign indicating you need to order at the counter would also be good to invest in, to avoid any confusion.

Overall, I do enjoy their interesting variety of wraps and what they are trying to accomplish, so I hope they continue to find their feet in the coming months.

Green Eggs and Ham is located at 22 St Kilda Road and they are open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm. You can see their breakfast menu here, but you’ll have to check their lunch menu in store and their special’s board so you don’t miss out on anything like this!

Green Eggs and Ham on Urbanspoon

Fitzrovia

Working right down the road from this place doesn’t seem to help the wallet! The sandwiches are huge, bursting with vegies, greens and more, and always draw attention when we bring them back to work. This place comes up often in conversations about popular brunch places in Melbourne, so the next step was to visit for a proper meal.

The place is quite spacious, with lots of outdoor seating to bask in the St Kilda sun. We seated our selves inside, but it took a fair bit of time before we were finally served with water and menus. A great deal on the menu sounds tempting, and the majority have a unique feel to the dish.

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For example, an extra on the menu is lime and bitters cured Tasmanian salmon – much more impressive sounding than smoked salmon right? My work mate chose the salad of the day ($14.50) with the so called Tasmanian salmon on the side ($5, above), but she said overall the dish was a bit oily.

Another option to eat in, is their daily baked tart ($15.50), visible at the counter and varying every day, with a Dijonnaise salad. Each day is a surprise so you might come across a sweet potato or zucchini tart on display. When presented to us, the slice looked enormous and comparable to any other meal on the menu.

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My other colleague chose a fancier sounding salad, which also seemed more nicely presented than the salmon. It was the charred corn, avocado, quinoa, black eyed pea and pomelo salad ($16, above) with coriander & minted yoghurt dressing and extra chorizo ($3.5). Although it looks and sounds impressive, she said she wasn’t a big fan of the dressing; that it was okay, but she couldn’t have too much of it.

I was tempted by the bacon with gruyere potato cake ($19), but wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the taste of the gruyere cheese. Thus, I ended up with the safer, but still interesting option of sweet potato and caramelized onion fritters ($17.50, below), with poached eggs, thyme roast field mushrooms, snow pea shoots, grilled saganaki & truffled salsa verde.

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The dish is very filling with enough elements to entertain the palette. However, the saganaki (grilled cheese) was a bit too much, making the dish very strong and salty. The eggs were a tiny bit overdone so they didn’t ooze as much as I would have liked, but the fritters were just right.

This place is very appealing on first looks – a great deal of variety, full of atmosphere and an attractive display of different items everyday from sandwiches to salad and dessert. However, dining in may result in slow service and not the most amazing food despite high expectations. I’ve also tried their coffee and Mork hot chocolate, and haven’t found myself a fan of either of them. In fact, my hot chocolate was really muggy at the bottom. But – I do recommend their sandwiches!

Fitzrovia is open Mon-Wed 7am – 3pm, Thurs-Fri 7am-10pm, Saturday 8am-10pm and Sunday 8am-8.30pm. Their menu often changes so take a look at their current breakfast/lunch current here.

Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

Wabi Sabi Garden

I’ve been wanting to blog about this place ever since I started work around the area. To start with, it’s most of the office’s go-to lunch time source of sushi. When I stumbled upon it via Google Maps, I was fascinated by the lovely gem I had found. All I wanted was sushi after all – so how exciting could it be?

But their sushi was not your typical flavours, coming with unique Australian fish and tofu in interesting sauces. The variety and wonderful fresh flavours ensure a loyal corporate following at lunchtime.

Furthermore, after deciding I would eat my sushi in and observing their stools shaped as cupped hands at the front, I was led to a whole other room where people were dining, with the intricate lamp above provided a warming atmosphere.

The place was full of surprises. They even brought up my sushi rolls to me nicely sliced, and here I thought I was going to have a casual sushi lunch. I really enjoyed their fish sushi, somehow it just provided a lovely flaky and tasty sensation and I do reckon it has something to do with the fish they used.

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I did notice a back area that looked nicer from where I was dining but assumed it was more for functions and dinner time. However, on another visit my coworker walked right to the back area, through and past the little Japanese garden and pond.

There was only one other couple sitting here, perhaps another two people who knew they would not be refused their request to sit there by the lovely Japanese owners. The area was an open section looking over the mini garden and we were told we could even order from the dinner menu if we like.

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I already knew I wanted the wagyu meatballs, but was also tempted by the tender pork belly as I’d just recently had a wagyu burger that week. But, I couldn’t resist the sound of the Western idea of meatballs accompanied by a combination of Japanese red miso and demi-glace (rich, brown French) sauce. Even better, we were told that the this meal was the “Meat Bento” ($16) of the day, thus all of us ordered this rather than just the the meatballs with rice ($19).

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Another benefit of this place is the option to have brown rice, a win for many of you health freaks out there, as I did above. I enjoyed having the option of a bento as it meant a bit more variety in the meal. They aren’t too quick with food but still fast enough to have for your one hour lunch break. The dumpling in the top right was a little hard, and I was a bit confused if it was from being frozen or the resulting crunchy texture was on purpose. I think they were going for crunchy – but I’m still a little confused.

The meatballs were really lovely and then made me regret having a bento because I wanted more! There were only four in the bento. It was a dark and rich sauce, but not too much of it, and it provided a peppery aftertaste. I also enjoyed the touch of mayonnaise on the vegies. It was a good value meal that I was happy with but not something I feel the need to rave about.

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However, I do recommend this place, for their ambience and decor, their friendliness and fresh sushi. I reckon their dine-in meals might be hit and miss, although I haven’t tried their dinner menu. I enjoy that they are trying to experiment and especially enjoy the display seating in the above picture.

This section is always empty so I assume it must be reserved for special occasions as the other dining sections do not have this traditional setting and seating. More information on the venue and the Japanese owners/chef can be found in this article if you’re interested!

Wabi Sabi Garden is located at 17 Wellington St, St Kilda (just off St Kilda Road). They also have a branch called Wabi Sabi Salon in Collingwood/Fitzroy.

Wabi Sabi Garden on Urbanspoon