Tag Archives: lunch

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).

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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.

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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!
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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

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Modern Asian Restaurants: Fumanchu

Fumanchu has come up in my food searches before, but I’ve always been weary due to reviews about service and the fact that it’s related to Miss Chu, which I’m not a big fan of. But, as I felt like trying a breakfast with a twist, I thought the risk might pay off. Not to mention the place is conveniently located in the northern suburbs.

20140316_124235There is no sign at the front to indicate that you’ve reached the right place and when we walked in, we thought we had walked into a bar in the middle of the day. The place emanated a pub atmosphere with its pink neon lights and walls lined with alcohol. However, the waitress assured us we had reached Fumanchu, so we decided to sit alongside the window bench, which displayed more of typical cafe decor than the front counter.

20140316_114612 copyMeanwhile, the artwork of the seats along the bench displayed some sort of mid-20th century Asian film poster images. This made more sense after a quick Google search, discovering Fu Manchu as the name of a fictional character with an iconic moustache.20140316_115731 To start with, I ordered a mango juice whilst my friend ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee. My mango juice appeared to be freshly made as it didn’t feel full of extra sugar usually in bottled juice. The coffee surprisingly came out in a traditional fashion, with the Vietnamese coffee filtered and dripping into the condensed milk. After this, you pour it into your glass of ice. It was impressively presented but time consuming when you desperately want to drink your coffee! It was also quite strong for my liking.20140316_120931

As a fan of this Japanese food, I couldn’t go past the Japanese Okonomiyaki Pancakes ($17, above) from the ‘Something Different’ menu. It comes with shredded cabbage and peas inside the pancakes and is served with house cured salmon and wasabi mayo.

The pancakes tasted different to the ones you would get in a foodcourt, which seem to have more of a filling. However, this felt freshly made and a bit healthier with an abundance of peas. They were adequately sized to go with the salmon. The salmon provided a complimenting texture and flavour to the pancakes, which could have been a little plain on its own.

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My friend was tossing up between the Asiaotic Saute Mushrooms and the Asian Omelette ($15, above) and ended up choosing the latter with extra mushrooms. The omelette consisted of wok-tossed free-range eggs, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), Asian herbs and roti bread topped with fried shallots.

I didn’t realise the omelette would be served wrapped in roti bread, which was interesting. I also enjoyed that the side of mushrooms was a mix of different mushrooms including enoki, providing a proper Asian air to the dish. With egg and Chinese sausage, the dish incorporated many ingredients already familar to me so it filled me up well, but it wasn’t outstanding.

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I was glad I gave Fumanchu a chance as it ended up providing quite decent food. The service was okay but not horrible, it can just be a bit difficult catching someone’s attention because the place is quite spacious. The tables around me were packed when I arrived around 11.30am but empty by the time I left (pictured above).


Image courtesy of their Facebook – some lovely artwork I noticed on a wall before I left.

They also serve dinner with more recognisable Vietnamese meals such as pho (rice noodle soup) and bun (vermicelli noodles) but I’m still dubious about the authenticity, especially when they also serve non-Vietnamese dishes such as mee goreng. I’m happy to try Asian inspired dishes but when it comes to traditional food you’d have better for cheaper in Footscray or Springvale. That being said, I haven’t actually tried it so if any one has tried their dinner food please tell me about it in the comments!

Fumanchu has changed its name to Chumanchu but it doesn’t feel too official with their name still the same on Facebook. The restaurant is open Tue-Sun 8am-10pm and is located at 2 Gilbert Road, Preston. Check out some old versions of their breakfast menu here and takeaway dinner menu here.

Fu Manchu on Urbanspoon

Fitzrovia

Working right down the road from this place doesn’t seem to help the wallet! The sandwiches are huge, bursting with vegies, greens and more, and always draw attention when we bring them back to work. This place comes up often in conversations about popular brunch places in Melbourne, so the next step was to visit for a proper meal.

The place is quite spacious, with lots of outdoor seating to bask in the St Kilda sun. We seated our selves inside, but it took a fair bit of time before we were finally served with water and menus. A great deal on the menu sounds tempting, and the majority have a unique feel to the dish.

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For example, an extra on the menu is lime and bitters cured Tasmanian salmon – much more impressive sounding than smoked salmon right? My work mate chose the salad of the day ($14.50) with the so called Tasmanian salmon on the side ($5, above), but she said overall the dish was a bit oily.

Another option to eat in, is their daily baked tart ($15.50), visible at the counter and varying every day, with a Dijonnaise salad. Each day is a surprise so you might come across a sweet potato or zucchini tart on display. When presented to us, the slice looked enormous and comparable to any other meal on the menu.

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My other colleague chose a fancier sounding salad, which also seemed more nicely presented than the salmon. It was the charred corn, avocado, quinoa, black eyed pea and pomelo salad ($16, above) with coriander & minted yoghurt dressing and extra chorizo ($3.5). Although it looks and sounds impressive, she said she wasn’t a big fan of the dressing; that it was okay, but she couldn’t have too much of it.

I was tempted by the bacon with gruyere potato cake ($19), but wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the taste of the gruyere cheese. Thus, I ended up with the safer, but still interesting option of sweet potato and caramelized onion fritters ($17.50, below), with poached eggs, thyme roast field mushrooms, snow pea shoots, grilled saganaki & truffled salsa verde.

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The dish is very filling with enough elements to entertain the palette. However, the saganaki (grilled cheese) was a bit too much, making the dish very strong and salty. The eggs were a tiny bit overdone so they didn’t ooze as much as I would have liked, but the fritters were just right.

This place is very appealing on first looks – a great deal of variety, full of atmosphere and an attractive display of different items everyday from sandwiches to salad and dessert. However, dining in may result in slow service and not the most amazing food despite high expectations. I’ve also tried their coffee and Mork hot chocolate, and haven’t found myself a fan of either of them. In fact, my hot chocolate was really muggy at the bottom. But – I do recommend their sandwiches!

Fitzrovia is open Mon-Wed 7am – 3pm, Thurs-Fri 7am-10pm, Saturday 8am-10pm and Sunday 8am-8.30pm. Their menu often changes so take a look at their current breakfast/lunch current here.

Fitzrovia 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!

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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.

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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.

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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