Tag Archives: Brunch

Mission #2: Final Report

It has been an overwhelming ride this month, with the film festival I volunteer for finishing up on the 12th September and the remainder of the month allowing me to find some spare time again! Continue reading

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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

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

Crowded House

It’s always nice to have an excuse to explore a different area. As we were on our way to Altona Dog Beach, this gave me a reason to explore the cafes along Melbourne’s inner west coast.

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It was a nice day, or as nice as Melbourne would get whilst approaching winter, so the pictures of Crowded House’s outdoor area enticed me to this particular cafe. You can go through the cafe, or as it’s located on the corner, enter from the back.

The back looks almost like a shed, but as you swing the grungy door open, you’ll find yourself in a pleasant and open area.

20140524_131409The other requirement was a dog-friendly area. The area is spacious for a dog, and as it was the pup’s first brunch we were able to keep him in a corner with the dog bowl.

Unfortunately, after we were given the menus no one seemed bothered to tell us that the breakfast special was sold out. Disappointing, because it sounds amazing! I would have liked to try sweet potato rosti and judge the difference to normal rosti.

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We started off with some coffees, and I often like to indulge with an iced coffee (above). It was presented perfectly with scattered coffee beans on top, but the drink itself was standard. In my mind iced coffees from Brother Alec and Green Eggs and Ham are still leading the way.
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My friend ordered the Black Angus steak sandwich (below) with fried egg, toasted corn bread, relish and mature aged cheddar ($18). She also ordered extra mushrooms for about $3. It wasn’t really a sandwich, thus the dish seemed a bit small for the description. Consequently, it wasn’t anything to rave about.20140524_133857

I ordered the Shanklish poached eggs with spinach and tomato on toast (below, $14). This didn’t sound like enough to me, so I also ordered extra chorizo ($4) and mushrooms ($3)!

Shanklish refers to the cheese on top of my eggs, originating from Lebanon/Egypt. It didn’t seem to make a big difference to your usual poached eggs. The chorizo was also cut very thickly, which I found a bit strange as I prefer to eat it in smaller pieces.

20140524_133839Service was quite accommodating and friendly, but being seated outside you really have to grab their attention before they disappear inside again. There were some louder and more demanding customers near our table, but the staff seemed to handle them quite well.

I do like their outdoor seating area, and don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much indoors. I might have had a different experience if I got to try that breakfast special – but maybe not. I’ll probably never know! Unfortunately the other dishes on the menu weren’t as exotic and exciting as they sounded.

Crowded House is located 48 Ferguson St, Williamstown. They are open 7am-3pm weekdays and 8am-3pm weekends. For their menu, you can see some of it in my picture above or check out Consider The Sauce’s old review here with a similar menu.

Crowded House 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.

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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.
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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.

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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