Tag Archives: iced coffee

The Lane & The Forge Pizzeria

On a completely off note, doesn’t that sound like a dramatic blog post title? Like the name of a fantasy novel, only more like a parody of it…

Anyway, I recently visited Ballarat and explored all there is to do outside of Sovereign Hill. A part of that included wandering the historic town and it led me to the cafe, The Lane.

20140531_111235It’s part of the George Hotel and what drew me in was its spacious layout, its wall of green foliage and its mural at the back.
20140531_122904I sat right in this corner to admire the artwork whilst I waited for my iced coffee. It was quite expensive at $8.50 and I wondered whether it was a result of the tourism of the town or whether the hotel itself was costly.
20140531_103538 copyI like how it was presented in an old fashioned mug. It’s also nice that they give you a proper straw in addition to the striped one for presentation, as it tends to taste a bit like soggy paper.

There wasn’t anything special about it for $8.50 but I enjoyed the serene feeling that emanates from the lovely artwork. You can also get free wi-fi, which is always a plus!

The Lane is located at 27 Lydiard St North, Ballarat. They are open 7am until late on weekdays and 8am until late on weekends.

The Lane on Urbanspoon

Next up was a highly rated and recommended pizza place, The Forge Pizzeria. It appears they have two locations, thus I’ll clarify that I visited the branch on Armstrong St.
20140531_135820It wasn’t extremely busy but seemed steady enough. The seating area is vast and lengthy, so you don’t feel too close to anyone.

20140531_134041Once again the rustic and historic aspects of Ballarat shone through, this time with this music box-like tin for our utensils.
20140531_135829With a fireplace, wood-fired ovens and earthy brown brick walls, this place does not attempt to be something modern, but fits in nicely to Ballarat’s tapestry of vintage spots and its remnants of the mining era.
20140531_140106 20140531_140058 copyThe portraits below were probably the only additional elements to the decor, and they seemed to embrace the multiculturalism of Australia by placing various cultures in a Ballarat background. With the art gallery just a street away, Ballarat seems to be home to quite a bit of historic Australian art.

20140531_140127Service was adequate enough, although with large places sometimes it’s hard to catch the attention of a waitress. They helpfully explained to us the different sizes of pizza and roughly how many pieces they would have.
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Not a fan of pizza, my friend went for a fettuccini carbonara ($14, small) pasta. I’d probably advise against pasta for a place with only three pasta dishes on their menu. The pasta was too cheesy, although I know that’s the nature of the dish, it wasn’t the pleasant sort of flavour. It was difficult to stomach so we didn’t finish it.
20140531_140904The remainder of the menu is, of course, pizza, so we ordered a few to share. The above was the Butchers, with bacon, sausage, shaved ham, salami, mozzarella, tomato and rosemary ($19).

Overall, what I like about the pizza is the soft, doughy crust. No frills such as cheeseburger crusts but not a hard crunchy crust either – just right.

20140531_140955Besides that, the toppings sounded great on paper but nothing really stood out. For some pizzas, such as the pulled pork ($21, above), the cheese had a strong and unique taste that didn’t suit us. It’s possibly because we aren’t accustomed to strong European cheeses.

Upon investigation, the ingredients include sage, mozzarella, gorgonzola dolce, garlic, green apple coleslaw and Flying Brick cider dressing – I suspect we couldn’t appreciate the gorgonzola dolce, a type of blue cheese.

20140531_140940Another was the Blacksmith, with premium pork sausage, mozzarella, mushroom, garlic, parsley ($19, above). The sausage was tasty and the pizza didn’t seem to have any little quirks that we didn’t like.

Our friend also recommended the Shearer’s pizza, a lamb and goat’s cheese pizza ($22, below, top left corner), which the boys enjoyed as it tasted “like a kebab on a pizza”. This and the Blacksmith were probably the most agreeable pizzas for us.
20140531_141000They had a special that day, which was a chilli meatball pizza of Habanero chilli meatballs, San Marzano tomato, basil, buffalo mozzarella, Grana Padano & salsa verde (below). The meatballs gave a chilli aftertaste after a few seconds, but we were a bit put off by the fact that the greens (salsa verde?) were not spread out on the pizza, but placed in lazy looking clumps.
20140531_141155This place has a great variety of pizza, however I can’t say it’s amazing as everyone makes it out to be. The pizzas sounded different and interesting but the results tasted a bit odd. Maybe it’s true to Italian culture with its use of various cheeses, but I can’t really say. Let me know your thoughts in the comments if you’ve been here!

The Forge Pizzeria is located at 14 Armstrong St North, Ballarat and is open 12-10pm seven days a week. See their menu here.

For other activities in Ballarat, don’t forget to check out my Weekendnotes article!

The Forge Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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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

Mr. Brightside

Not wanting to miss out on Melbourne’s sun this weekend, we dropped by Mr. Brightside in Caulfield for brunch on the way to the beach. As we passed the side of the cafe, the open design of the place really stood out right before we even parked the car.

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One of the waiters, possibly the manager or in-charge for that day, was very friendly with us when we told him we eat for about ten people, and he said he would make sure he gets us a big table.  Whilst they set up some seats at a communal table, I enjoyed the cute wall decor (above) and I especially enjoyed the mouse-hole at the bottom.

Don’t worry, the place was very bright, clean and no mice were to be seen. I wasn’t able to get a good photo of the design, so the above photo is courtesy of Tobias Titz on weheart.co.uk, where you can see some more excellent photos of the cafe’s structure. On the day we visited, the left hand side of the picture was wide open, thus when we drove past, the openness and bright interior made it stand out from the street. The right side was closed, except for the doorway for the staff to walk in and out to the outside tables.

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But enough about the design! You are probably waiting for the important thing – the food. Before we were even seated, we were eyeing the drinks such as smoothies passing by in large jars. We had already ordered our drinks but when we saw someone’s iced chocolate in a jar, the girls immediately changed their orders to iced coffees ($5.50) in hope that it would look just as good.

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Thankfully it did, a large jar with a generous amount of chocolate flakes on top. However, my banana smoothie ($7) came in a takeaway cup and not a jug so I was quite disappointed after seeing what looked like someone’s berry smoothie earlier. I also regretted not getting an iced chocolate as the chocolate sauce visible in the sides of the jar made it look delicious. Perhaps next time, if there is ever a next time! Not to say there was anything wrong with the smoothie – it tasted just as a smoothie should but $7 felt a bit expensive.

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One of us went for one of the specials, which seem to change quite often and sound just as appealing as anything on the regular menu. It was an eggs and bacon potato tart with rocket ($15, above) and usually comes with salad, but my friend asked for anything as an alternative as she wouldn’t eat the salad. The staff were very flexible and provided her with a side of chips instead. To me, it pretty much tasted like quiche without the pastry but the chips were nice and thick.

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Due to my love for potato hash browns, I ordered something called exactly that ($15, above) and it was served with beef brisket, grain mustard sauce and poached eggs. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of of beef brisket that they gave me, and I usually don’t like mustard but the grain mustard was light and tangy, so it provided just enough kick to make the meat flavoursome.

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My other friend ordered the cranberry granola ($9.50) with fruit, yogurt and a side of milk. It was cutely presented on its own chopping board. Only downside was the staff spilling the milk the first time and it just missed my friend. They were nice enough to get a new jug for her.

Earlier, we also had someone else’s drinks given to us and we hadn’t even ordered ours yet. It’s not an entirely big cafe, but I guess it was a busy Saturday lunch. A waiter also double-checked we had ordered iced coffees and not chocolates, yet it looked like they still made iced chocolates instead (which we would have willingly accepted haha) but he turned around when he saw our confused faces.

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In order to prove ourselves to the waiter who seated us, we asked for the menu again as we were considering ordering an extra dish, which seems to have become a tradition. We were about to order their version of the Reuben ($14), or may have chosen to go for another special, a smoked trout omelette if it hadn’t been crossed off the board, when we thought we would enact some self-control and give it a miss this time.

Their cake display (above) had a wide variety and looked enticing, but we thought we might save our stomachs for some post-beach snacks.

The design of the place is what really impressed me, and the presentation of their drinks. The main waiter was friendly and enjoyed our jokes, so we enjoyed the service and the food was good but not mind-blowing. Located in Caulfield, it was busy and lively with lots of mums and bubs and an older, well-off crowd.

Mr. Brightside is located 189A Booran Rd, Caulfield and is open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, and 7.30am-4pm on the weekend. 

Mr Brightside on Urbanspoon

Images taken by my friends and I, unless indicated otherwise.