Tag Archives: fitzroy

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

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Mission #1: Yong Green Food

A restaurant recommendation that has often come up during my vegetarian mission is Yong Green Food. I made a quick stop by the other day and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out my new Canon 600D camera. Continue reading

Madame K’s Vegetarian

Sometimes spontaneity provides you with more memorable experiences, especially when out to dine. After an unfulfilling meal at Henry and the Fox (a post on this will be coming in the future), we ventured to Brunswick St for a second round.

Our initial plan was to drop by the popular vegan and organic restaurant Yong Green Food, but this plan was thwarted after their voicemail said they were closed for a break.

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Next idea was Vegie Bar, but this place is crazy-busy on weekends. But Melbourne is full of eateries and we were bound to find something else on Brunswick St – and my friend then spotted Madame K’s Vegetarian.

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It was smaller than Vegie Bar but still full of diners, and we were lucky to get a table for three.

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It was a bit cramped and the staff kept squeezing between me and another table, but I was just glad we managed to score a table on a Friday night.

We started off with some chive dumplings ($6.90, below – sorry for blurry photo). They were panfried and surprisingly full of flavour – I honestly didn’t realise these crispy vegetarian dumplings could be so tasty! I think the dipping sauce also had an attractive, strong flavour – similar to soy but a lot more compelling.

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I wasn’t entirely hungry after Henry and the Fox (how rare), thus I went for an entree of lamb sliders. I assume it was “mushroom made lamb”, as described in all their other lamb dishes on the menu. They won my curiosity as the description did not mention the common brioche buns but instead, naan bread. They were quite different but I don’t think it worked as a wrap for me.
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The doughy and thick nature of the bread means I would much prefer dipping it in some nice curry. The other ingredients reminded me of the minty flavours you would get in a Vietnamese dish. Unfortunately, I probably would have preferred these ingredients in a normal bun, as the bread is a tad chewy to bite off whilst trying to enjoy a wrap.

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My friends on the other hand, were still ready and gearing for another full dinner. They both ordered rice dishes, which were quite similar in taste.

One was a mushroom dish (above, $16.90), with various mushrooms, eggplant and Thai basil served with Jasmine rice. You have the option to choose Jasmine or brown rice. The dark sauce resembles oyster sauce, but I felt like the flavour was more interesting and intense than your average oyster sauce.

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This sauce was similar to what was used with the tofu and cashew dish (above, $16.90). And this was a good thing because we all enjoyed this flavour a lot. I think perhaps the sauce’s aroma and flavour was enhanced by the Thai influences, rather than your typical Westernised Chinese takeaway.

Whilst we enjoyed our meals, I noticed a constant stream of takeaway customers coming in and out of the restaurant. Service was quite quick – the only issue was they didn’t realise my entree was actually my meal, so they were waiting for me to finish before serving my friends’ mains. This was quickly sorted though.

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Finally, we couldn’t say no to dessert as we were enjoying a good chat and thought the banana roti ($10.90) sounded too good to pass on. I was still dreaming of Chin Chin’s amazing banana roti, but this was different and delicious in its own way. It was a bit like a crepe but with a thicker base of roti, with not only banana, but also strawberries, soy ice-cream, their homemade sauce and a bonus kiwi fruit.

Thus, I’m not ashamed to say – we ordered another one of these! I’d happily go back but I’m aiming to try Yong Green Food first. If you decide to go here, I’d suggest booking or going on a slightly quieter night during the middle of the week to get a better table.

Madame K’s Vegetarian is open for lunch Sat-Sun from 12-3.30pm and dinner every night from 5-10pm. Check out their menu here.

Madame K's Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

Po’ Boy Quarter

Po’ Boy Quarter comes from the the people behind Melbourne’s beloved food truck, Gumbo Kitchenwhich serves up dishes inspired by the Cajun and Creole cuisine of New Orleans. No doubt its name is inspired by the “French Quarter” of New Orleans, and its location now provides Melbourne’s own permanent spot to come and try their gumbo and po’ boys. No idea what these are? You’ll soon find out.

20140217_183510Located in the popular inner suburb of Fitzroy, the place is cosy and perhaps unnoticeable unless you’ve heard of Gumbo Kitchen. The quiet atmosphere we experienced was probably due to it being a Monday night, usually a night where you just want to get home from work ASAP.

The feel is quite American with “soda” on the drinks menu, and the concept of some items reminded us of our past visits to Misty’s Diner. I’ve tried some of the po’ boys before whilst visiting the food truck – and loved it! Po’ boys are like sandwiches/rolls usually with meat or fried seafood.

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I felt quite tempted by the shrimp po’ boy, which I’ve tried before, but I thought it’s best for me to try something different, so I went with the pulled pork ($12.90, above) with housemade BBQ sauce and Cajun slaw. It was full to the brim with meat and it wasn’t after a few bites that the slaw was found buried deep in the roll. It’s so big that it’s hard to fit everything in as you bite it and it gets quite messy.

I think it’s good value and very generous, but I feel my memory of the deep friend shrimp is more impressive as it’s unique compared to your average pork roll or beef debris po’ boy, which is what my other friend ordered.

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My friend ordered the chicken and sausage gumbo ($11.50, above), which I’ve personally never tried as the po’ boys have always seemed more appetising. Gumbo involves a broth, meat or seafood and vegetables served over rice. There’s a lot of broth compared to rice and my friend wasn’t entirely a fan.

Finally, between four of us we thought a serve of plain fries wasn’t enough ($5), so we also ordered The Dom, ($11.90, centre of the below photo), which was fries with shredded beef with Cajun gravy and mayonnaise and pickles. I enjoyed the sauces on The Dom most, whilst I think my pulled pork would have been a little bland without the slaw.

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I also wanted to try the house made New Orleans lemonade ($5), presented in very American fashion in a plastic red cup. The pink lemonade did provide an air of being made on site, which is good, but it was a bit too bitter to down a lot at once.

I think the first time I tried Gumbo Kitchen, the new experience and food truck experience really did it for me. This time around, the food was pretty good and it provided a place that opens late to sit and talk with friends. I’d consider coming back if my friends wanted to go again but I might go back to my deep-fried shrimp po’ boy! It sounds so bad for you, but so good.

Po’ Boy Quarter is open daily 11am-11pm and is located at 295 Smith St, Fitzroy. Check out their menu here. For the Gumbo Truck location, follow their Twitter and their rotating menu includes these items here.

Po' Boy Quarter on Urbanspoon

Summer is calling…

As Melbourne finally heats up (temporarily), the call for ice cream grows louder and louder. I can’t say no to ice cream so let’s not waste anymore time and I will share some more hotspots, following on from my last post Gelato in Melbourne.

The Lab: 188 Bourke St, Melbourne

The Lab shares a similar concept to N2 Extreme Gelato, with large machines full of nitrogen and clouds of smoke engulfing their scientific-looking employees.

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Their location is more convenient, located in the heart of the city on Bourke St and so I eagerly joined a long queue. Their flavours don’t sound as exciting as N2, but that’s not what matters. We ended up with a banana honey crunch and salted caramel popcorn ($6 each).

The banana was nice and sweet with some added texture of muesli on top and the salted caramel matched well with the popcorn pieces scattered on top.

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The problem is I found N2 flavours a lot more smooth and wholesome. They seem to find a way to cohesively mix flavours together whilst adding innovative things such as a creme brulee layer on top, whereas The Lab just put pieces of things on top. So if you’re in the city, it should satisfy your ice cream cravings but if you have time I’d suggest venturing out.

The Lab is open Mon-Thurs and Sun 12pm-11.30pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-1am.

The Lab Nitrogen Gelato on Urbanspoon

Gelato Messina: 237 Smith St, Fitzroy

Another new and well-anticipated shop is Gelato Messina. Heralding from Sydney with great popularity, winner of this year’s Australian stage of the Gelato World Tour, and voted the best gelato in Australia by the Good Food Guide, there’s every reason for the hype surrounding them.

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A great queue greeted us on a Friday night, but they even have takeaway menus for you to look at whilst you wait. In addition to that, they have a Specials board, which makes the decision of what flavour to get that much harder.

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In addition to your everyday flavours (above), I tried to avoid the generic salted caramel that was also on show and instead my eyes lit up at my other true love, white chocolate. I was also interested by the apple pie flavour so I got a scoop of that and their special, nicciolino, which was described as white chocolate and hazelnut gelato with frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) soaked sponge and gianduia (sweet chocolate containing hazelnut) ganache (2 scoops, $6). Phew.

Until now, I didn’t even realise what those ingredients were and now I realise the abundance of hazelnut. There were some chunks of all these things, sponge, ganache and apple pie, that made the gelato quite tasty and full of surprises. We couldn’t quite put out finger on what it was, but we’re 90% sure it was the frangelico sponge that was the tastiest addition to the gelato.

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The apple pie also uncannily resembled the actual taste of apple pie quite well, with pies of pie throughout it. Finally getting to try it, I can understand the hype and the queue, however you will see where my heart lies at the end of this post.

Their outfit is also very funky, located on Smith St it’s a must. There’s quite a few spots to sit on the curvy benches inside and enjoy your gelato as well, and if you’re up for it you can even order tubs of ice cream or the misto plate ($12), a plate of five flavours.

Gelato Messina is open Mon-Thurs and Sun 12pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-11.30pm.

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

Il Dolce Freddo: 116 Lygon St, Carlton

If anyone ever refers to “Freddo’s” for short, this is where they mean. Located on Lygon St, there’s plenty of competition from other gelato shops yet on a Saturday night, this place still managed to be constantly busy.

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Even glancing at the flavours, most of them were close to finished. They have a wide range of flavours but are not as experimental, with Asian nuances. Flavours such as durian, green tea and lychee demonstrate this.

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This time, I couldn’t resist their version of the salted caramel, and now I’ve realised my liking for bits and pieces in my gelato, I also tried the vanilla crunch. My friend went for a green theme, with green tea and pistachio. I think they were about $5-6, and the waffle cone was a nice touch.

They have limited tables to sit inside and some outside to enjoy the lively Lygon St atmosphere. I enjoyed the combination of my flavours and the crunchy bits of my gelato. My friend’s green tea was also good but not too strong. If I’m ever in the mood for ice cream that I know will be good, I can usually rely on Freddo’s. They are more traditional and no frills except for a few of their exotic flavours.

Il Dolce Freddo is open Tue-Sun 12.30pm-11pm.

Il Dolce Freddo on Urbanspoon

Cones: 141A Station St, Fairfield

Cones is a local gelato shop in Fairfield, located on the busy Station St near Fairfield Station. After a brunch session at the amazing Fifteen Poundswe took advantage of the hot day and walked over for our gelato fix.

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Their flavours range from the classic bubblegum to the comforting and rich nutella. I was immensely tempted by the tim tam flavour (bottom left), but it looked too rich and full of chocolate for me to stomach in ice cream form.

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Instead, I ended up with a honeycomb flavour, which seems to look like all the other flavours I get from other shops (salted caramel, hazelnut etc)! It wasn’t mind-blowing, but subtle and enjoyable. They had decent prices and we were really happy with how full they pack your cone/cup with ice cream as it’s rare for local places to be so generous.

Cones is open everyday 9.30am-9.30pm.

Cold Rock Ice Creamery: Shop 21, Janefield Drive, University Hill

University Hill is generally a very quiet and empty ghost town in the northern suburbs. However, Cold Rock seems to be full of people looking for a good dose of late night ice cream, who don’t want to venture towards the city. If you’ve never been, you get to choose various toppings for them to smash into your ice cream.

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Their flavours aren’t that extensive, but at least they had white chocolate to satisfy me. When I realised I could get two flavours, I also got the mango sorbet as mango is my favourite fruit.

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I got them to put in tim tams, a favourite chocolate snack of mine, and as I didn’t want it overflowing with hard chocolate pieces, I also got marshmallows to balance it out. It may not look pretty, but I think I created a pretty good combination.

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I guess the only problem is customer service is a tad slow for perhaps one of the the only busy places at University Hill, and the person who served me didn’t seem too enthusiastic. To top that, he charged me the wrong price and had to come over to get more money off me. The toppings are also a bit expensive, all up it was about $8.90 or so.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t finish my filling serve of smashed ice cream as I was so full and if I’m ever feeling particularly lazy, I wouldn’t have to venture far to visit here.

Cold Rock is open Mon-Wed and Sun 10am-9pm, Thurs 10am-10pm and Fri-Sat 10am-11pm.

Cold Rock Ice Creamery on Urbanspoon

N2 Extreme Gelato: 329 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

It is evident from this post, that I eat way too much ice cream. No matter how much I like the other ones, I have decided N2 still wins in my heart but it most certainly depends on which flavours. Their popular French Earl Grey dulce de leche is a winner and third time around, this lemon meringue pie ($8) was also amazing.

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The meringue swirl was warm and full of flavour, whilst it contrasted with the cold gelato below. The added shortbread to the serving made it an overall taste sensation and now the next on my list to try one day would be their ferrero reveal, considering how much I love ferrero rochers!

N2 Extreme Gelato is open everyday 1pm-11pm.

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Brunch: Fitzroy Focus

Well folks, it looks like Fitzroy isn’t running out of brunch places any time soon. In fact, they are continuously popping up left, right and centre. Here’s a few that I’ve been to:

De Clieu: 187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

I forgive in advance if this review is outdated, but I visited this place during my uni days last year. To put it simply, it didn’t impress me. A uni day, means it wasn’t even peak hour during the weekend. The wait was a bit long, say twenty minutes plus. I can’t remember exactly how long, but it definitely left us feeling quite hungry and sure that we would be back to uni late.

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After some debate, I went with the Berkshire Pork Neck (above, $17) with spring onion roti, tonkatsu BBQ sauce and a fried egg. Usually a fan of pork belly, I wasn’t sure if pork neck would be quite as good. Second no-no, was that this came out cold. The egg especially felt so cold, I was really curious as to whether they just left it for so long and forgot to bring it out or they cooked it so early to keep up with the orders…

If the dish did come out warm, I’d say overall it would still be a slightly average dish. Despite the delicious appearance, all I remember about the dish is that the BBQ sauce made it a fairly tasty, although I don’t see what difference the “tonkastu” BBQ sauce has. Out of all the dishes, this did appeal to me the most but unfortunately I was left dissatisfied having paid $17 for a small, cold meal and quite hungry.

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My uni friend chose the above dish, but I can’t locate it in on the current menu. Another difficult thing was that the menu said no alterations. For most cafes, this usually only applies to the weekend, but this applied to everyday. My friend really wanted the dish but she doesn’t like poached eggs. After enquiring, she still wasn’t able to but went with the meal anyway. Although beautifully presented, with two jars of jam, it still wasn’t anything special. Cheese and ham? You could have this any day.

Granted this was last year, one day I might give it another try, but right now too many brunch places lie on the list before it, so it’s unlikely I will be back there soon.

De Clieu is open Mon-Sat 7am-5pm and Sun 8am-5pm. You can find the menu here.

De Clieu on Urbanspoon

Breakfast Thieves: Shop 1, 420 Gore St, Fitzroy

It’s a trend these days to have quotes at your cafe, I’m not against it, in fact, they always provide a chuckle. This one at Breakfast Thieves was amazingly accurate (for my friend, not me haha)!

Courtesy of Breakfast Thieves’ Facebook page

Arriving on an autumn Saturday morning, it was packed, which is often a good sign. We had to join two other people in waiting for a table. At least they had a bench where we could sit whilst waiting, and they even served us coffee and brought out sugar and the menu.

Eventually we were seated inside. I’m often influenced by other blogs and mouthwatering photos such as The Hungry Excavator’s, and I’m also an avid fan of French toast. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t help but order the Brioche Pain Perdu (bottom, $17), French toast served with spiced wine poached plums, white chocolate mascarpone mousse & candied pistachio. Now this one did not disappoint.

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The four rectangular pieces of crispy French toast with soft insides, plus the sweetness of the dish, actually fills you up quite a bit. I enjoyed everything from the presentation, to the succulent poached plums and the crumble on the far right to balance out the softer foods such as the mousse (not sure if the crumble is one of the aforementioned ingredients).

The other dish is from the lunch menu, called Botak Chin (top, $17). This was described as Malaysian Char-Siew pork wrapped in chilli-chive crepe with a side of crisp enoki mushroom, carrots, orange & sesame, rocket salad. Well firstly, I didn’t even notice the crispy side was enoki mushrooms until I re-read the menu now. We found this Modern dish enjoyable, the char-siew tender and flavoursome. Only complaint would be not enough meat!

Out of some of the hyped places around Melbourne, I feel that this place definitely deserves it.

Breakfast Thieves is open Tue-Fri, 7.30-4pm and 8-4pm on the weekends (kitchen closes at 3pm). Find their menu here.

Breakfast Thieves on Urbanspoon

Hammer & Tong

Hammer and Tong is fast becoming one of the top talked about places on Urbanspoon, thus you cannot blame my curiosity in trying this highly rated cafe. My friend even raved about the soft shell crab burger, so with a first-hand opinion, I was persuaded. If you haven’t seen my burger post (why not??), I’ve already discussed this burger as quite good, but pricey for a small portion ($16).

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However, the surprise dish for me was the duck egg, asparagus, truffle butter, parmesan briont (below, $18). There is some new craze involving truffle oil, thus I was curious as to the taste of truffle butter. I’m not sure what its magical power is, but it made my bread so soft and aromatic. I feel like there was the right amount of everything, as lately I’ve found some places overdo it with the parmesan. The duck egg, also had a distinctive taste that differentiates it from your normal eggs. The egg combined with the soft buttery bread, made the dish a surprising winner, so for once one of my risky choices paid off!

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Hammer and Tong is open Tues – Sat 7am to late (they’re open for dinner) and Sunday 8am to 5pm. View the menu here.

Hammer and Tong on Urbanspoon

Hankering for one more? This post is getting a tad long but feel free to read my full article on Mockingbird Cafe & Patisserie on Weekendnoteswhich has received an editor’s award. It’s a lovely little local cafe in Fitzroy North that I would definitely return to for their service.

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Mockingbird Cafe & Patisserie on Urbanspoon