Tag Archives: dessert

Mission #1: Shakahari Too (Event)

The Event
As part of my monthly mission, I decided I would also hold a monthly event to go along with it! This would allow bloggers and friends to join me, allowing some interaction and fun offline and not just online. You can imagine how nervous I was when I started inviting friends to a vegetarian event…

20140815_184954

Luckily, I have some amazing supporters who came to share this unique experience with me. I was after somewhere I hadn’t particularly heard of, but still sophisticated enough for my first dinner event. I came across Shakahari in Carlton and realised they had a second branch in South Melbourne, which looked worth checking out.

20140815_210630

It looks small from the front, but they led us to another dining area at the back. The fish on the walls and mythical creatures on the menu seemed to provide some undertones of possible spiritual influences on the type of food they serve.

20140815_190036 Entree
I found the menu quite accessible for people who aren’t vegetarian – as everything still managed to sound familiar yet delicious. Whilst we decided on our mains, we enjoyed the Avocado Magic for entree; tempura avocado wedges and capsicum rolled in eggplant, served with coriander and sesame puree.

I feel like this was quite creative for a vegetarian entree, and I particularly enjoyed the puree to provide more flavour to the batter.

My friends also ordered a few non-alcoholic drinks. The left drink tasted a bit like apple juice, whilst the right included tamarind and had a bit of a sour aftertaste. I feel that the vibe of the restaurant meant these drinks are supposed to showcase natural ingredients and provide some sort of cleansing in the body.

20140815_192748 copy

20140815_190936

Mains

  • Nonya Lodeh ($22): Basmati rice, coconut curry, pappadum (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Italian Secret ($22): Spaghetti or Linguini tossed in herbal oil, fresh basil and pesto (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Green, Green Laksa ($20.50): Udon noodles in Thai krachai and basil green coconut stock (Vegan, Non-dairy)
  • Croquettes Quinoa ($20.50): Patties of mashed yam, potatoes, quinoa and more (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Lasagne Conchita ($22): Lasagne layered with cousous, kale, pumpkin, chia seeds and more (Dairy)

20140815_193612

20140815_193452

20140815_193539

20140815_193808

I had the lasagne, which was so large I struggled to finish it. The layers filled with couscous really made a filling meal and The Sunday Oven beside me also couldn’t finish her’s. For the first time in my life, I would recommend making the lasagne a tad smaller and providing more of the sides and salad to balance it out!

I felt like I also had a bit of food envy for the people who ordered the laksa – it looked delicious and I usually enjoy tofu dishes.

20140815_193527

Desserts

  • Lemongrass Coconut Cheesecake ($15.50) (Dairy)
  • Flourless Chocolate, Cherry and Fig Pudding ($15.50) (Dairy, GF)
  • Tofu Caramel ($14.50) (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Black Rice and Sago Pudding ($14.50) (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • St Ali Coffee Ice-Cream ($6.50, not pictured)

20140815_20265620140815_202728

After some talk, most of us still had room for dessert and I loved the variety in the menu that seemed to cater to all my guests’ tastes.

I had the tofu caramel, but was slightly disappointed as the caramel flavour wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped nor did there seem to be enough sauce to liven up the tofu. My friend’s black rice on the other hand was delicious. It wasn’t pretty, and looked like “cat food” according to Consider the Sauce. But warm and topped in milk, pandan and coconut caramel, the flavour truly shone.

20140815_20280320140815_202932

Some of my guests also chose the freshly made ice-cream. The coffee flavour was made with St Ali coffee and tasted stronger than your usual coffee ice-cream, but I really enjoyed it at that strength.

20140815_193739

Thanks to everyone who made it to this event and I hope you enjoyed the food. I’m glad everyone also enjoyed my cards and programs for the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne – the event that inspired this vegetarian theme.

There’s no mock meats here, so don’t expect that, but expect some flavoursome and creative vegetarian food. I’ll be trying more vegetarian places this month, but feel free to provide suggestions for next month’s event and theme!

Shakahari Too is located at 225 Clarendon St, South Melbourne and is open for lunch Tue-Sat 12-3pm and dinner Wed-Sat 6-10pm. They will start opening Tue-Sat 6-10pm from 2nd September.

Shakahari Too on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

A Roundup of My Latest Adventures

It’s been a while since I’ve provided an update on my other articles, including some non-foodie adventures. Life has been a little hectic with the film festival I work for coming up and work being fairly busy.

But this is definitely not a reason to stop writing, it merely just means I’ve written less articles than usual and I have a backlog of places I want to share with you. Check out some of the ones I’ve managed to squeeze in writing about below.

Santina’s Cakes
Here’s a little cake place we discovered in Thomastown. It’s a little hard to find dessert catch-up spots up in the far northern suburbs, especially ones that stay open late, so it was a nice find.

Santina's Cakes on Urbanspoon

Popular Desserts in Melbourne
The Masterchef craze has contributed to the growing popularity of dessert spots in Melbourne. There’s plenty of goodies to discover including the places below. More detailed blogs on the food and experience at these places will be coming in the future.

Om Nom Dessert Bar

Om Nom Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon

A Day at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
A day in the snow on a budget – perfect for a day with kids with activities that are a bit more laid-back than your usual snowboarding or skiing.

Coburg Drive-In Food Truck Festival
There are two more Wednesdays to go for this festival, August 27th and September 24th. What’s better than some great dinner from some food trucks before a classic drive-in film?

Lake Wendouree
You may have seen my previous articles from Ballarat, well another spot to definitely check out is the beautiful regional town’s lake. It’s great for a stroll and there are several cafes alongside the lake with a nice view.

Kryal Castle
Last of all, have a little fun and immerse yourself in a medieval experience. See some shows and find yourself in a torture dungeon…it all makes for a fun day in the castle and another great outing suitable for kids.

That’s all from me for now! Don’t forget to look out for my posts later this month in relation to Mon’s Mission #1 and feel free to suggest what my next mission should be!

Sugar Hit Melbourne – Don’t Miss Out!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ve surely been living under a rock! Sugar Hit Melbourne returns for its third and final night this Friday, full of K-pop inspired sweets and entertainment!

20140502_203819IMG-20140603-WA0067I’ve blogged about the first event previously, a Bangkok inspired event full of delicious flavours. The photos from this post are from the second Bollywood festival held in May.

This night contrasted the initial event, after the team consisting of Luxbite, N2 Extreme Gelato, Mork Chocolate and Krimper Cafe heeded feedback and came up with a new creative, concept. A DJ replaced the softer, live band from the Bangkok night, pumping out pop songs mixed with modern Bollywood music throughout the night.

The queueing area was more distinct, marked by fluorescent tape on the floor, even with directions to leave room for the walkway. As pictured (right, with my eyes closed) the walkway was playfully shaped as a snake, whilst fairy lights mark the entrance on the otherwise quiet laneway.

In addition to this, they prepared some handout menus this time, which allowed you to contemplate what dessert sounded best as you line up. Check out the menus below for a gist of how it works!

The Luxbite and N2 corner was still a bit crowded. Despite the floor markings, when you wait for your order, there’s not a lot of room so there can be a bit of confusion. The solution is just to make sure you listen out for your name carefully over the music.

If you hate waiting, there are some “Fast Passes” up for grabs for $10, which allows you express access to the dessert station of your choice. You can buy them here, but unless you’re in a rush to get somewhere, I don’t think the wait is so bad.

I should note that I was one of the first ones there on the first night, and the second time I came after 8pm, when it was a little less busy. As you line up, you get to soak up the atmosphere and you still have the company of your friends to entertain you.

Both events even had some snacks that you could taste test in line – at the Bollywood event we were offered some curried popcorn by Wondersnack. It’s definitely different and it’s something you will be telling people about!

20140502_202912

Of course, you also get to try amazing desserts such as the gelato above, infused with Darjeeling tea and a tea caramel syringe whilst the tube included pistachio crumble and watermelon yogurt mousse. With creative and impressive desserts such as these, who knows what will be in store this Friday?

IMG-20140603-WA0051

Evidently, we managed to order all the Luxbite and N2 desserts (above). Luxbite and N2 often team up to create a #luxbitexn2 special dessert for the night, so keep an eye on their teasers if you can’t wait until Friday night to find out.

If we didn’t have dinner beforehand, I would have loved to try some drinks such as a classic mango lassi by Krimper or some hot chocolates. You’ll notice in the menu, you also have an option of infusing some drinks with alcohol. Not sure how this went down for Bollywood, but it was extremely popular to have a vodka Thai milk tea at the first event.

20140502_200507

The Bollywood atmosphere was enhanced by some performances scattered throughout the night. Some space was left in the corner for the performers and everyone really enjoyed the energetic dances.

On the side, there was also a station where you could get henna or bindis to embrace the culture. The team were even dressed up in Bollywood outfits. So prepare yourself for Friday, who knows what fun they’ll have in store to spread the Korean craze.

As Friday draws nearer, keep an eye on social media as teasers continue to pop up. Warning – it might make you salivate. Here’s a few below:

10426791_244341032422788_1509171604983132345_n10402879_243593019164256_3522363779883863907_n

When: Friday 6th June, 6.3pm-11pm, so make you sure you fit it in somewhere in your Friday activities!
Where: 20 Guildford Lane, Krimper Cafe, Melbourne CBD
Price: Free entry, food ranges $5-$10
Website: sugarhitmelb.com.au
But Fast Passes to skip the queue can be bought here for $10.

Krimper on Urbanspoon  LuxBite on Urbanspoon  N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice-Creamery

After discovering the existence of Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, and that it was not too far away (about forty minutes for me), I could not miss the opportunity to give it a try.

IMAG3231

We managed to visit on ANZAC Day, thus the place was bustling with children for the public holiday. Although busy, we managed to find seating quickly after taking some free chocolate (milk, dark and white) from three large bowls at the entrance.

Luckily for us, the cafe was launching their breakfast menu, perfect for a morning visit if you don’t feel like ice-cream for breakfast haha. As curious as I was about the chocolate, lamb, mint and onion sausages…. I went for the breakfast wrap with bacon, lettuce, eggs, BBQ sauce and aioli ($16.50).  I found it very refreshing and healthy with the lettuce, compared to some at other cafes such as Green Refectory, where it was very cheesy. My friend ordered the creamy mushrooms ($15.50) with sourdough, which were quite flavoursome with its herby sauce, but I feel it could have had more mushrooms. It surprisingly didn’t take long despite being so busy, so I was impressed by their ability to cope on busy days, especially with a new menu.

IMAG3228

I also ordered a “real hot chocolate”, which came with frothy milk with chocolate flakes, a chocolate shot and a whisk to mix it together. The idea of mixing your own hot chocolate, as I have experienced in places like Lindt Cafe, is always fun.

IMAG3230

Afterwards, we walked around the shop and I was amazed as to how many things you can make out of chocolate, from frogs to tennis balls. There was also the obligatory window where you can see the chocolatiers creating the delicious sweets.

IMAG3237

Before we left, I eyed the special chocolate display and discovered something that was surely made for me – Mango Tango: Fresh mango pulp in a creamy white chocolate ganache in white chocolate (below, second from the right). This combined my favourite chocolate with my favourite fruit – and one bite was heaven! Other flavours included champagne and apple cider.

IMAG3233

The location of Yarra Valley Chocolaterie also holds some scenic and luscious green views. It’s child-friendly with colouring sheets in the outdoor seating area, and there are balls scattered throughout the lawn, if the kids are in the mood for a kick. I would love to go back to indulge in more of the desserts and ice-cream (and mango tango chocolates), as the sundaes and chocolate fondue sound irresistible.

IMAG3218

If you’re interested in visiting soon, they are having a “Strawberry Affair” from Oct 14-31, featuring chocolate-coated strawberries and one-off strawberry sundaes and ice-creams.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice-Creamery  is open 9am-5pm everyday (except Christmas), and is located at 35 Old Healesville Rd, (corner Melba Highway), Yarra Glen. If interested, you can view their latest menu here.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery 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.

IMAG3153

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!

IMAG3155

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

IMAG5064

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.

IMAG5060

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!

IMAG5089

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

IMAG5454

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.

IMAG5455

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.

IMAG5187

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!