Tag Archives: breakfast

Mission #2: Grub Food Van

Not wanting to pass the opportunity to try more outdoor eateries, I squeezed in another spot on the weekend: Grub Food Van. Continue reading

Advertisements

Mission #2: Trunk Diner

When it’s Friday…and you’re trying to wake up EARLIER than you usually do for work for brunch, Struggletown ensues. It’s no surprise that I forgot to bring my new camera in my haste, thus I was left to utilise the old tool – my Samsung Galaxy Note. Continue reading

Jackson Dodds

Jackson Dodds has been on my list for a while, as it seems a popular place on my side of town and is conveniently not far from my hairdressers. It’s quite small, thus is usually packed – a good sign.

20140614_114607

We were seated at a bench as there were no tables. This allowed us time to peruse the menu, settle in and even order.

20140614_114623

We were then able to pounce on a free table when we noticed some people leaving. Service at this point felt a bit lackluster, not enthusiastic with slightly expressionless faces. It wasn’t terrible, but I just didn’t feel any heart in it.

20140614_115823

The decor was a bit dull and limited, although these scratchboard illustrations were something different and were even on sale for the Preston-based artist.

20140614_114736 20140614_115039

The menu was extensive and had a lot of unique items that ensured we had a tough decision to make. You could sense some European influences in some of the ingredients.

I had the usual struggle of indecision, debating whether to spoil myself with something like pancakes or go for something more filling and traditional.

20140614_121025

My friend ended up with a steak sandwich (above, $14), which looked like the sourdough ciabatta bread itself would fill anybody up.

20140614_121125

She enjoyed it but did confirm that the bread helped in making her full. I, on the other hand, would prefer something less thick as I would want more space in my stomach for the filling!

20140614_121054

I resisted my temptation to indulge in something sweet once again and went with the lovely sounding Mushroom Medley (above, $15) with extra potato rosti ($3). With a selection of pan tossed mushrooms and fresh herbs on warm Turkish bread, mustard seed dressing and poached eggs, it sounded heavenly, but unfortunately the result was underwhelming.

20140614_121032

The mushrooms, or overall dish, lacked any distinct flavour and even my additional potato rosti tasted quite bland. It lacked that slightly crispy texture and wasn’t extremely hot either.

Our coffees also came quite late into our meal, and would have been much more welcome whilst we were waiting for our food. The coffee itself was not bad, but didn’t stand out to me. However, I’ve never identified myself as a coffee expert when it comes to reviewing!

20140614_121424

This brunch was not plagued with any nasty incidents, but I feel this cafe, which is often heralded as a great spot in the area, has not impressed enough for me to want to remember this experience. I would gladly walk down a few spots to Cheshire instead.

Jackson Dodds is located at 611 Gilbert Road, Preston. It is open 7am-3.30pm weekdays and 7.30am-3.30pm weekends. Kitchen closes at 3pm daily.

Jackson Dodds on Urbanspoon

Bowery to Williamsburg

It’s rare that I venture to the city during the weekend for brunch, but the Mother’s Day Classic gave us a good reason to reward ourselves after.

20140511_100309

Most brunch places on my list were a bit far from the Flinders area though, but I remembered there was a bit of hype around Bowery to Williamsburg when it first opened. Located on a laneway of Flinders St, there was bound to be hype as they are run by the same team behind The Hardware Societe.
20140511_100528It basically serves brunch with an American twist, hence the name (Bowery – New York, Williamsburg – Virginia). The menu (above) is short and sweet whilst printed on the back of a postcard.
20140511_100546When the hype first started, all I heard of was the peanut butter hot chocolate (below). Served with a Reese’s peanut butter cup and in a trippy cup that’s designed to look scrunched, the taste was definitely rich of peanut butter. The only issue was it got unpleasantly clumpy at the bottom of the drink.
20140511_102749

My friend and I ended up choosing the pulled pork hash ($16, below) with broccoli rabe, poached eggs and corn bread. It was served with a sauce on the side, which to me tasted like a barbecue sauce with a hint of mustard, demonstrating the American influence.

20140511_102937One egg fell off the top of my pile of food and onto the plate on the way to our table, so my friend’s dish was more suitable for photos. I enjoyed the dish as it’s something different from your normal brunch fare.

The pork was a little cold but I’m not sure if it was because we were waiting for the last dish to come out or it was genuinely not that hot. The portions of each ingredient was reasonable and I really enjoyed the sauce on the side.
20140511_102943Meanwhile, my friend was eyeing a dish on the table next to us. It happened to be one of the shakshouka eggs, similar to baked eggs. Out of the the pastrami, salmon and sweet potato, she chose the hot smoked salmon ($16, below).
20140511_103229The dish looked great but unfortunately it felt like the salmon didn’t suit the shakshouka’s sauce that well. I think pastrami would have been my choice, served with a mint salad and yoghurt.
I wouldn’t mind coming back to try some other dishes but it’s not as though I’ll be rushing to come back.

The place was busy when we arrived but luckily a table had just left, which spared us a wait. Unfortunately the round tables outside are quite small and they had to pull up an extra chair for all our condiments etc to make room for our food. The long rectangular tables are more spacious but evidently more popular and often taken.

At the counter is a sandwich bar where you can choose what ingredients and spreads or “schmears” (as the sign says) you would like, so you can treat yourself with an American sandwich for lunch.

I am constantly eager to try brunch places that don’t just serve the everyday items and this was a nice addition to the mix. I find it at least a bit more interesting than Hardware Societe itself. They also have a few specials so don’t forget to take a look at these too – check out the buttermilk pancakes with lavender marshmallow listed above!

Bowery to Williamsburg is located at 16 Oliver Lane, Melbourne CBD and is open 7.30-3pm weekdays and 8.30am-3pm weekends. Check out the menu here.

Bowery to Williamsburg on Urbanspoon

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.

20140421_130320

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…

20140421_130723

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.

20140421_132114

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.

20140421_132953

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!

IMG-20140422-WA0002

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.

20140421_132106

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

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).

camera_20140327130641698

camera_20140327130056897

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.

20140327_130413

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!
20140327_130548

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

Brother Alec

If you’re familiar with the northern suburbs, you’ll know that High St is not lacking in places to eat and cafes. The other weekend I decided to try Brother Alec, even though I’d read a review that they hardly stood out from other cafes on the street.

The place is quite small, normal for a local cafe. The service was exceptional the moment we walked in. Whilst we decided whether we should sit inside or out, they mistook our hesitation as want for a better table (we would be sitting at a shared table indoors). Thus a couple they had just seated were moved to the communal table, allowing us our own table for three people. Of course we felt bad, but it’s good to know how accommodating they can be and their eagerness to satisfy customers.

Our drink orders were taken and I went for a standard iced coffee for the summer heat ($5), my friend got her normal latte but my other friend went for an adventurous choice – the Alaska (#4.5, bottom left).

This was a glass of iced water with double espresso along with milk and sugar syrup on the side to add at her own leisure. As with DIY hot chocolates, I love the ability to mix your own drink and I liked how they went for something different to a hot chocolate, a cold drink.

I really enjoyed my iced coffee as often they come too bitter, thus the order is always a risk for me and sometimes I prefer the iced chocolate as I definitely know they’ll be sweet. But this wasn’t too bitter and the ice-cream scoop mixed well into the coffee, resulting in a very happy me!

20140201_115302

When it came to the menu we noticed their signature dish to have a Mexican sound, the Huevos Rancheros ($17). They even had a staff leaderboard of who had eaten this dish the quickest. I did notice a slight Mexican influence as they had Mexican sauces on their shelf and they had items such as nachos and housemade chipotle black bean chilli on the menu.

I was also curious as to what “housemade chorizo crumble” was, as listed with the tomato poached eggs. I was told that it was diced chorizo, then cooked together to make pieces of crumble (something like that, I’m no cook). Luckily, their latest menu includes this in their “extras” section so I could order it as a side with my Pork Belly (below) dish, which is not on their latest menu on their website.

20140201_115804

This included pork belly slices, cornbread, poached eggs and diced cucumber and tomato. The bread was nice and fluffy, ensuring it plays a big part in filling you up. The pork was perfectly cooked, tender and not too hard to cut at all. I also enjoyed the diced ingredients on the side to balance out the heaviness of the pork and bread.

The chorizo crumble (the small plate in the middle) looked a little similar to popcorn chicken but it was great – crunchy and crispy but still with that distinctive taste of chorizo. It was a bit salty so I think it needs to be eaten with more bread and vegies, but of course, as I ordered it on the side and already had meat this was bound to happen.

20140201_115815

Both of my friends ordered sandwiches, but they were quite different. One got the Breakfast Roll – Turkish roll, omelette, housemade basil mayo and tomato relish with bacon or spinach (12.50, top left). She also added mushrooms as a lover of mushrooms. It was definitely very tasty, I think the sauces and breakfast ingredients made it rich in flavour compared to a plain sandwich.

My other friend got a classic BLAT, which you can get with bacon or haloumi and she went with bacon ($13.50). You can also add a fried egg so it came to $15. I didn’t taste this but it does have a lot of rocket in it, so if you’re not a fan of rocket stray far away!

The service was very attentive and I enjoyed all aspects of the meal, which I feel I have found rare in my latest posts. The staff cleared our clean plates very soon after we were done but not with the feeling that they wanted us out. When we went to pay, the waiter who had been looking after us squeezed himself in front of the counter in front of his fellow staff member in order to sort out our bill swiftly.

Brother Alec is located at 719 High St, Thornbury and are open 7am-3.30pm on weekdays and 8am-3pm on weekends. Their Autumn menu from last year can be found here but they have a more up to date one for summer I think!

Brother Alec on Urbanspoon