Pumphouse Hotel, Fitzroy

From the outside, Pumphouse Hotel looks like a typical brown-brick pub, but once you walk through the doors you’re greeted with a neat and modern dining area and cosy bar. I have lunch in the bistro section, where the menu offers traditional pub fare as well as other seasonal dishes with more of a European-influence.

Pumphouse Hotel - Chilli and citrus braised beef ribs - Herbed polenta, sauteed greens, citrus jus ($29.90)

Chilli and citrus braised beef ribs – Herbed polenta, sauteed greens, citrus jus ($29.90)

I’m tempted by the linguini marinara special with salmon, scallops, squid, tomatoes, chilli and basil, but settle instead for the chilli and citrus braised beef ribs. Usually when I see (multiple) beef ribs mentioned on a menu I only expect two. This came not with two, or even three, but four (!) beef ribs atop a square of polenta, speckled with green flecks of parsley, and accompanied by sautéed broccolini. The chilli is not prominent at all, but there is a slight citrus flavour to the meat. To my disappointment the first two ribs I tucked into were a bit tough and almost rubbery, but thankfully the second two were cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

Pumphouse Hotel

Pumphouse also has a beautiful-looking function space named The Room with a View, which can cater for up to 40 seated or standing guests.

Disclaimer: I received a discount to dine at Pumphouse Hotel courtesy of Entertainment Book. You can also take advantage of these offers by buying a membership. 20% of every membership sold through this link will contribute to fighting child poverty with Compassion Australia!

Pumphouse Hotel
128 Nicholson St
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065
(03) 9417 2817
pumphousehotel.com
The Pumphouse Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CoffeeHead (1961 Coffee), Camberwell

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee

Right next to Camberwell station on Railway Parade, Coffeehead has been providing locals with a coffee-focused venue since 2011. Ash has over 30 years experience as a chef himself, training and working in London before coming to Australia and spending time under Gary Mehigan at Novotel on Collins. Through further work at Blue Train in Crown, he met Paul Mathis, eventually taking over Mathis’ CoffeeHead. When Ash Nathan became the owner, he decided to start roasting his own beans on-site with their Probat roaster and retail them, providing a steady supply of beans for customers even during holiday periods. In his other role as head chef, Ash designs the menu and also helps out in the kitchen.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee

Generosity comes through in the vibe of the place and in the food they serve. Customers who purchase their beans are given the opportunity to learn how to prepare the coffee, so that they can better appreciate the coffee.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee

The large interior is bright and spacious, full of retro furnishings and decorative pieces that creates a sense of family-friendly charm. Front of house manager Jaime Neves makes customers feel at ease with his affable nature and attention to detail. The café is popular, especially after the Camberwell Sunday Markets, when market-goers are looking for hot drinks and something more substantial to eat.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee - Magic and Latte ($3.90)

Magic and Latte ($3.90)

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee - Prana Chai Chai, Honey ($5)

Prana Chai Chai, Honey ($5)

We have coffees made from their signature 1961 blend of beans from Columbia, Ethiopia and Indonesia, and the resulting coffee is rich and strong. The Prana Chai latte is also expertly handled.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee - Lamb Souve - Green lentils, coriander, tomato salsa, mint, cucumber yoghurt, pita, lemon olive oil ($17.90)

Lamb Souve – Green lentils, coriander, tomato salsa, mint, cucumber yoghurt, pita, lemon olive oil ($17.90)

Fluffy pita filled with lamb, green lentils, coriander, tomato salsa, mint and a cucumber yoghurt makes up the Lamb Souve. Though well cooked, the lamb could do with a touch more seasoning.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee - Quinoa Crumbed Polenta - Slow cooked chicken, fennel, tomato, olives, chilli jan, goats cheese cream ($17.90)

Quinoa Crumbed Polenta – Slow cooked chicken, fennel, tomato, olives, chilli jam, goats cheese cream ($17.90)

Quinoa-crumbed polenta is a rustic, almost ordinary-looking dish, but looks can be deceiving. Fingers of polenta are covered in a crispy quinoa crust and laid atop a colourful bed of tender slow-cooked chicken, fennel, tomato, salty olives, chilli jam, salty olives, and a gently flavoured goats’ cheese cream. It’s absolutely delicious when eaten all together, and even without the polenta the salad is a delight.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee - Mint and carrot hashbrowns, poached eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, green hollandaise ($18.90)

Mint and carrot hashbrowns, poached eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, green hollandaise ($18.90)

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee - Mint and carrot hashbrowns, poached eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, green hollandaise ($18.90)

Mint and carrot hashbrowns, poached eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, green hollandaise ($18.90)

We then have one of the specials, and soon-to-be menu regular – mint and carrot hash browns, poached eggs, smoked salmon and spinach topped with a green hollandaise. The interesting green colour of the hollandaise came from the addition of spinach. The mint and carrot hash had a sweetness to it that made me do a double-take and check whether it was really sweet potato written on the board. Crispy fritters, perfectly poached eggs and a well-balanced hollandaise – who could ask for more? It was a hit.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee - Passion Fruit & Poppy Seed Cake - passionfruit icing, mimosa sugar pearl

Passion Fruit & Poppy Seed Cake – passionfruit icing, mimosa sugar pearl

Most sweets at the front counter are from Little Bertha, but some, such as the flourless orange cake and orange friend, are made in-house. We get a Passion Fruit & Poppy Seed Cake, and a rich Coffee & Hazelnut Honeycomb Torte with white chocolate cream cheese icing and honeycomb garnish, both of which are lovely and perfect with even more of CoffeeHead’s great coffee.

Ash’s vision for CoffeeHead is to first have welcoming, friendly staff to give customers a good experience, then provide good food and excellent coffee. CoffeeHead delivers on all fronts.

Coffeehead 1961 Coffee

Disclaimer: I was invited to CoffeeHead as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way, and are based on my experience at the time.

CoffeeHead
8 Railway Parade
Camberwell, VIC, 3124
(03) 9882 6441
http://www.coffeehead.com.au
1961 Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Frances Food & Coffee, Melbourne CBD

Frances Food & Coffee has bagged a spot right next to Queen Vic Markets, which is particularly handy for those on the way to or from market shopping, or an outing at Flagstaff Gardens. Most of the fresh produce used here does in fact come from QVM, enabling the brother and sister duo, Sofia and Stefan Soltys, to support local businesses.

Frances Food and Coffee - Sauteed balsamic mushrooms with Persian feta, confit garlic puree, wild rocket and multigrain toast ($16)

Sauteed balsamic mushrooms with Persian feta, confit garlic puree, wild rocket and multigrain toast ($16)

The crispy pork belly with beetroot relish, chilli scrambled eggs sounds great, but I’d been eating out a lot recently so decided to go for something lighter. The sautéed balsamic mushrooms arrived with crumbled Persian feta, a large smear of heady confit garlic puree with wholegrain mustard, wild rocket and slices of multigrain toast. The mushrooms were full of flavour, especially with the garlic puree, yet with all that strong garlic it still managed to be well balanced.

Frances Food and Coffee - Crispy pork belly with beetroot relish, chilli scrambled eggs ($18)

Crispy pork belly with beetroot relish, chilli scrambled eggs ($18)

Brunch prices are slowly creeping higher, but Frances manages to deliver tasty food that isn’t too harmful to the hip pocket.

Frances Food & Coffee
1/245 Franklin St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9329 4629
www.francesfoodandcoffee.com.au/
Frances Food & Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New Shanghai, Melbourne CBD Take 2

Of course, New Shanghai is famous for their dumplings, but they also serve a wide range of dishes that don’t involve those special bites of goodness. As much as I love their New Shanghai pan-fried dumplings, we decided save some stomach space in order to explore the other options on the menu.

New Shanghai - Steamed 'Lion's Head' meatball in broth, crab meat and Chinese chestnut ($7.50)

Steamed ‘Lion’s Head’ meatball in broth, crab meat and Chinese chestnut ($7.50)

We started with the steamed Lions head meatball in broth with crab meat and Chinese chestnuts. The broth was beautifully light yet flavoursome, though the giant meatball itself was a little dry.

New Shanghai - Fish Dumplings ($13 for 10)

Fish Dumplings ($13 for 10)

Fish dumplings could have done with a bit more seasoning, but vinegar and soy and chilli paste are always on hand to help.

New Shanghai - Smoked Fish Infused with Spiced Dark Soy ($11.60)

Smoked Fish Infused with Spiced Dark Soy ($11.60)

New Shanghai - Braised Radish ($18.80)

Braised Radish ($18.80)

New Shanghai - Stir-fried Tofu with Crab Eggs ($28.80)

Stir-fried Tofu with Crab Eggs ($28.80)

We also try the smoked fish, which has a fragrance and flavour that reminded us of bakkwa (Chinese Pork Jerky). The firm, meaty fish was infused with dark soy sauce and went very well with rice. Braised radishes were cooked in a soy-based sauce with dried shrimp until soft. Another moreish special was the tofu with crab eggs, which was tastier than it may sound on the menu.

New Shanghai (83) Sesame Cakes ($2.50 each)

Sesame Cakes ($2.50 each)

New Shanghai - Savoury Sesame Cakes with Ham and Spring Onion ($2.50)

New Shanghai (86) Savoury Sesame Cakes with Ham and Spring Onion ($2.50)

New Shanghai - Sweet Sesame Cake - Sugar and Egg ($2.50)

Sweet Sesame Cake – Sugar and Egg ($2.50)

Someone came around offering diners some freshly baked sesame buns, and we didn’t refuse. There was a sweet and a savoury option: ham and spring onion, and sugar and egg custard, both inside an excellent light and crispy pastry.

New Shanghai - Fragrant Crispy Half Duck, Steamed Buns ($35)

Fragrant Crispy Half Duck, Steamed Buns ($35)

New Shanghai - Fragrant Crispy Half Duck, Steamed Buns ($35)

Fragrant Crispy Half Duck, Steamed Buns ($35)

Like a different version of the more famous Peking duck, a giant platter holding a fragrant and crispy half duck with fluffy steamed buns and an assortment of greens arrives. Traditionally the duck is first marinated with spices, steamed ‘til tender, then deep fried – an extensive process that yields delicious results. The crispy skin is well salted, but a peppery condiment and hoisin sauce mix provides extra depth of flavour. The lettuce didn’t add much to it, but of course spring onion and cucumber were happily added into the buns.

I’d still gladly eat New Shanghai’s pan fried dumplings any day, but the menu contains a wealth of other treasures that can be explored. I’m eyeing the braised pork belly next.

Disclaimer: I was invited to New Shanghai as a guest on this occasion, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way, and are based on my experience at the time.

New Shanghai
Shop 323, Level 3, Emporium Centre
287 Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9994 9386
http://www.newshanghai.com.au
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Milkcow

Milkcow

After making a worldwide impression, South Korea’s Milkcow has now landed in Australia, at least for a short time via its pop-up in The Strand. Collaborating with local businesses, Milkcow allows for our ice cream to be matched a selection of toppings, sauces and other little goodies. Chocolate is supplied by Naked Truth Chocolates, coffee is from Sensory Lab, and other sweet options include caramel popcorn, honeycomb, macarons, and Insta-worthy fairy floss.

Milkcow

Milkcow - Mont Blanc - Oreo crumbs, chocolate rocks and Italian apple syrup, fairy floss cloud ($8)

Mont Blanc – Oreo crumbs, chocolate rocks and Italian apple syrup, fairy floss cloud ($8)

We sample the Mont Blanc – Oreo crumbs, chocolate rocks, Italian apple syrup and a cloud of fairy floss – and the Black Pearl with crunchy cocoa-dusted almonds, chocolate hazelnut syrup and a sprinkling of sea salt. The texture of this premium organic soft serve is so light and creamy that I felt the crunchy chocolate (as much as I love crunchy things) detracted a little from my whole experience of the ice cream. Perhaps a simpler option like the Milky Honey, Milky Cube or Rise & Shine might have suited me better.

Milkcow - Black Pearl - Cocoa dusted scorched almonds, Italian chocolate hazelnut syrup, sprinkle of Fleur de Sel artisan sea salt ($7)

Black Pearl – Cocoa dusted scorched almonds, Italian chocolate hazelnut syrup, sprinkle of Fleur de Sel artisan sea salt ($7)

There’s no doubt Milkcow has made waves in the short few days since its opening. There aren’t many gourmet soft serve places around, so if you’re interested, you’d better check it out before it’s gone! The Milkcow pop-up will be open until May 31.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Milkcow as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time

Milkcow
1 Driver Lane
Melbourne CBD, VIC, 3000
http://www.milkcow.com.au/
Milkcow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Left Handed Chef, South Melbourne

The Left Handed Chef

Head chef Ehud Malka migrated permanently to Australia three years and decided to set up a little café right here in South Melbourne. Up every day at 3am, Ehud bakes bread from scratch at The Left Handed Chef, everything from brioche to multigrain. The bread is used in the breakfast and brunch dishes and also for the sandwiches at the counter. Sweet goodies are made in house as well, and there are many gluten free options too.

The Left Handed Chef - Cappuccino and Latte

Cappuccino and Latte

Their own special blend of coffee beans is roasted by Redstar in Port Melbourne, and we enjoy a latte and cappuccino.

The Left Handed Chef - Piggy - Thick cut bacon, chilli eggs, cheesy waffles, avocado and goats curd

Piggy – Thick cut bacon, chilli eggs, cheesy waffles, avocado and goats curd

This week’s specials are centred around waffles, and the Piggy Waffles catch my eye. Thick cut bacon, chilli eggs, cheesy waffles, avocado and goats curd, this is many a person’s favourite all in one. Surprisingly it all works together too. When it lands on the table I wonder if the ‘piggy’ not only referred to the fact that there’s bacon, but that it’s a huge serve.

The Left Handed Chef - Pulled Pork Tacos - Slowly roasted pork, hot apple chutney, coleslaw, crackling ($16.50)

Pulled Pork Tacos – Slowly roasted pork, hot apple chutney, coleslaw, crackling ($16.50)

We eventually realise that the servings here are quite large in general. Pulled Pork Tacos are filled with slow-roasted pork, hot apple chutney and topped with crackling. Lots of crackling. The pulled pork is slightly sweet and has a bit of zing from wholegrain mustard in the mix.

The Left Handed Chef - Banoffee French Toast - Brioche French toast topped with toffee sauce, fresh bananas and sweet strawberries ($16)

Banoffee French Toast – Brioche French toast topped with toffee sauce, fresh bananas and sweet strawberries ($16)

The Banoffee French Toast is topped with a sweet and sticky toffee sauce, caramelised bananas and strawberries. The thick toast has a nice crunchy exterior, though at times the centre is a tad dry.

The Left Handed Chef - Waffle Donut

Waffle Donut

Ehud’s Waffle Donuts have been a hit. They’re simply deep-fried, doughnut-shaped waffles coated in cinnamon sugar. Cinnamon sugar brings back childhood memories and even though I know it’s not great for me health-wise, I can’t stop eating it.

The Left Handed Chef

The food is priced very reasonably, especially when you see how much you’re getting. The staff are absolutely lovely too, treating customers almost as if they’re long-time friends. The whole brunch visit was a very enjoyable experience, making me wish it was my local. And where does the name come from? Well, Ehud’s left-handed of course.

The Left Handed Chef - Banoffee French Toast - Brioche French toast topped with toffee sauce, fresh bananas and sweet strawberries ($16)

Disclaimer: I was invited to The Left Handed Chef as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time

The Left Handed Chef
2/219 Park St
South Melbourne, VIC, 3205
(03) 9645 5800
The Left-Handed Chef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch, Morris Jones & Co Restaurant & Bar, Windsor

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones (2)

Morris Jones has just launched a new Moet & Chandon champagne lunch, and given Head Chef Matthew Butcher’s resume, we expected great things. Matthew Butcher has previously worked under big names including Gordon Ramsay and Shannon Bennett, and his style here at Morris Jones could be described as original contemporary Australian.

Morris Jones

You might sit in the sunny, airy courtyard surrounded by a trio of vertical garden, exposed brick and wooden panelling while being shaded by umbrellas, or in different corners of the main dining area which range from dark and romantic, to bright and more casual.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - St Helens Oysters with Champagne Granita

St Helens Oysters with Champagne Granita

I must admit I didn’t hear what the waiter said when he asked whether I wanted the topping on my oysters. I said yes anyway, and when I saw the granular-looking mixture being spooned onto the oyster I was afraid I’d just consented to a teaspoonful of salt. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a refreshing champagne granita that went beautifully with the fresh St Helens oyster, its sweetness tempering the oyster’s naturally present sea saltiness.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Saltbush and Vinegar Chips, Caraway Bread with Honey Butter

Saltbush and Vinegar Chips, Caraway Bread with Honey Butter

Snacks to start included caraway bread paired with an addictively delicious and airy honey-infused butter, and saltbush leaves fried and seasoned with vinegar to create ‘salt and vinegar chips’.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Southern Fried Quail - Turnips, Szechuan-pepper, quince

Southern Fried Quail – Turnips, Szechuan-pepper, quince

The quail in Southern Fried form was almost unrecognisable, but KFC this was not. In its crunchy and salty fried exterior, Szechuan pepper was predominant. Moist quail, smack-in-the-mouth flavours and crispy skin. I couldn’t ask for more.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Champagne Poached Salmon - Yuzu seeds, candied chilli, honey pumpkin, pressed pickled cucumber

Champagne Poached Salmon – Yuzu seeds, candied chilli, honey pumpkin, pressed pickled cucumber

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Champagne Poached Salmon - Yuzu seeds, candied chilli, honey pumpkin, pressed pickled cucumber

Champagne Poached Salmon – Yuzu seeds, candied chilli, honey pumpkin, pressed pickled cucumber

The next one had us with our cameras and phones at the ready. The champagne poached salmon presented us with a smokey spectacle once the cloche was lifted. Served with a dob of honey pumpkin puree and portions of pressed, lightly pickled cucumber, the salmon was cooked beautifully – a tender and pink centre that separated into large, smooth flakes with gentle coaxing with the knife. It was a little difficult to pick a favourite dish today, but this was it for me.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Otway Crispyu Pork - Wilted kale, Cloudy Bay clams, masterstock

Otway Crispy Pork – Wilted kale, Cloudy Bay clams, masterstock

The choice of mains included Otway crispy pork with wilted kale, Cloudy Bay clams and masterstock. The masterstock had a lovely depth of flavour, complementing the succulent pork. The pork and seafood was a delightful pairing, and of course, the crackling went down a treat.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - O'Connor's Fillet 200g - Baked potato skin, red wine sauce

O’Connor’s Fillet 200g – Baked potato skin, red wine sauce

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - BBQ Short Rib - Caramel glazed, variation of beetroot

BBQ Short Rib – Caramel glazed, variation of beetroot

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - BBQ Short Rib - Caramel glazed, variation of beetroot

BBQ Short Rib – Caramel glazed, variation of beetroot

Another option for mains was the BBQ beef short rib. The neat, rectangular portion of short rib tore apart easily, its charred, caramelised exterior masking juicy, mouth-watering meat inside. Despite its caramel glaze it wasn’t overly-sweet, and the creamy mashed potato attentuated the robust flavours of the beef when necessary.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Cheese - Le Delice Triple Cream, Truffle Honey, Quince

Cheese – Le Delice Triple Cream, Truffle Honey, Quince

As one of the concluding options, soft and creamy La Delice Triple Cream cheese was served alongside sweet quince paste and honey with frangrant hints of truffle.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Nitro Violet Crumble - Liquid nitrogen honeycomb, violet ice cream, chocolate

Nitro Violet Crumble – Liquid nitrogen honeycomb, violet ice cream, chocolate

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Nitro Violet Crumble - Liquid nitrogen honeycomb, violet ice cream, chocolate

Nitro Violet Crumble – Liquid nitrogen honeycomb, violet ice cream, chocolate

The spectacle of smoke never fails to impress. This time it came from the liquid nitrogen-treated honeycomb spooned over the violet ice cream at the table. The liquid nitrogen transformed the honeycomb into a less dense form – still sweet, but less sticky – a great texture that didn’t detract from the smooth and gently flavoured ice cream. A decent dose of rich, slightly-bitter chocolate was on hand for balance. This wasn’t just a dish that delighted the eyes, but one that pleased the tastebuds as well.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch Morris Jones - Nitro Violet Crumble - Liquid nitrogen honeycomb, violet ice cream, chocolate

Nitro Violet Crumble – Liquid nitrogen honeycomb, violet ice cream, chocolate

We were thoroughly impressed by the food presented today, and the range of choices available for the champagne lunch means  re-visits can be made with new and exciting experiences each time. The Moet & Chandon champagne lunch at Morris Jones is available Friday to Sunday, 2 courses for $35pp, 3 courses for $45pp with a glass of wine.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Morris Jones as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time

Morris Jones Restaurant & Bar
163 Chapel St
Windsor, VIC, 3181
(03) 9533 2055
www.morrisjones.com.au/
Morris Jones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Meatball & Wine Bar, Melbourne CBD

The Meatball and Wine Bar

Four years ago Matteo Bruno opened The Meatball & Wine Bar with the intention of focusing on one thing and doing it well. Using the high quality and seasonal ingredients, they pumped out their signature meatballs with great acclaim. The CBD branch of Meatball and Wine Bar, aka CityBalls, has been followed by SmithBalls (Fitzroy) and RichBalls (Richmond) following its success.

The Meatball and Wine Bar - Cappuccino, Soy Latte

Cappuccino, Soy Latte

A new breakfast menu has just been launched, and we came in to see what a restaurant specialising in meatballs might offer to breakfast and brunch-goers. The interior of Cityballs is rustic, comfortable and warm so we easily settle at a table with some coffee by Dukes.

The Meatball and Wine Bar - Avocado Caprese with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, mozzarella, basil, toasted quinoa bread and poached egg ($12+4)

Avocado Caprese with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, mozzarella, basil, toasted quinoa bread and poached egg ($12+4)

First to arrive was the Avocado Caprese. Don’t mistake this for your average avo on toast when you glance at its description on the menu. Essentially an avocado caprese salad on toast, it’s a somewhat healthier and lighter option, being bigger on the zingy heirloom tomatoes than the avocado, and fresher on the palate too with the addition of basil and mozzarella. There’s visible quinoa in the bread; not much, but enough to give it a very, very subtle nutty flavour.

The Meatball and Wine Bar - Bolognese Toastie with Multigrain - Minced beef, creamy red sauce, parsley ($10 incl coffee)

Bolognese Toastie with Multigrain – Minced beef, creamy red sauce, parsley ($10 incl coffee)

On the other side of the spectrum was the Bolognese Toastie – a comforting combination of warm minced beef, parsley and a tomato based sauce in a crunchy vehicle. This is something I’d happily tuck into, especially on those dreary days that I’m sure Melbourne will kindly gift to us in the coming months.

The Meatball and Wine Bar - Breakfast Hero - Truffled Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Spinach, Cheddar, Basil Panini ($13.50)

Breakfast Hero – Truffled Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Spinach, Cheddar, Basil Panini ($13.50)

The Meatball and Wine Bar - Breakfast Hero - Truffled Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Spinach, Cheddar, Basil Panini ($13.50)

The winner for today was the Breakfast Hero panini – the classic pairing of bacon and egg with an Italian twist. I loved the fragrance of the truffle oil, and the moist, neatly folded and non-rubbery egg. There was a sweetness somewhere in it and I wondered if there was a relish smothered inside. The sweet flavour, even with the basil, was kept in check by the savoury ingredients. The whole thing was so delicious and moreish I secretly wished I didn’t have to share it.

The Meatball and Wine Bar

So, not quite meatballs, and probably no wine in the morning either, but the breakfast menu here is solid and offers dishes different from the same-same cafe breakfasts of late. With great sadness I didn’t see the breakfast balls on the sides menu until I’d already left. A bit of a facepalm moment given it’s a meatball restaurant. Oh well. Next time.

The Meatball and Wine Bar

Disclaimer: I was invited to The Meatball & Wine Bar as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time

The Meatball & Wine Bar
135 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 7545
http://www.meatballandwinebar.com.au/
Meatball & Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Love Pollo, Victoria Gardens

Chris and Sally Caldwell started up Love Pollo from a love of chicken. There are plenty of charcoal chicken shops around, but not many places that make a mean and juicy roasted chicken cooked on a rotisserie.

Love Pollo - Traditional and Lemon and Garlic Chicken

Local, free range chicken is expertly cooked by staff after extensive training and is all gluten free, hormone free and chemical free, and interestingly their gravy is gluten free too. The cooking is timed so that they’re as fresh as possible when served. As well as their Traditional flavour, which has been marinated for 24 hours, a few ‘hero’ infusion flavours are available. These chickens are cooked with the marinade already in place, rather than being slopped on post-cooking. The result of all their effort is tender, juicy and succulent chicken; even the breast pieces were done well. Customers can purchase their chicken in quarters, halves or whole and pair it with salads and chips as a quick meal option for lunch or dinner. We try the traditional and lemongrass and ginger and I particularly love the subtle but tasty flavour of the infused chicken.

Love Pollo - Traditional and Lemon Garlic Chicken, Kaleslaw, Edamame Freekah Kale, Persian Rice, Cyprus Grains, Black Rice and Quinoa

It’s hard to be a chicken shop and not serve chips. Theirs are cooked to order and seasoned with chicken salt. Fresh, crunchy and addictive. Burgers and wraps are also available for people wanting something to caress their protein.

Love Pollo - Traditional and Lemon Garlic Chicken, Kaleslaw, Edamame Freekah Kale, Persian Rice, Cyprus Grains, Black Rice and Quinoa

Love Pollo has a healthy focus, so for those willing to forego the chips, there is a large selection of multigrain salads and more traditional ones like coleslaw (or the pimped up kaleslaw, seasoned with an Asian lime dressing) as well as pasta salad. Sally herself has a lot of input into these salads and I loved all the varieties we tried, especially the Persian Rice – a stalwart salad since the beginning. Other multigrain salads on offer are the Feelgood Freekeh, Black Rice & Coconut Cranberry, Cypress Grains, and Edamame, Freekeh & Grains, all with their own unique textures and flavour differences, and all delicious.

Love Pollo

The Caldwell’s passion, combined corporate and retail experience and willingness to adapt to the market have allowed Love Pollo to continue growing. Their newest store opening up in Byron Bay last month, where surprisingly, there are no previously existing chicken shops. Their success reflects their ability to deliver what people want. That is, simply, a great rotisserie roasted chicken.

 

 

Love Pollo
Shop 2, Rear 656 Burke Road
Camberwell, VIC, 3124
(03) 9882 9090

Shop 20, Victoria Gardens
620 Victoria Street
Richmond, VIC, 3121
(03) 9421 2303

Shop 6, 90-96 Jonson Street
Byron Bay, NSW, 2481
(02) 6685 5182

http://lovepollo.com.au/
Love Pollo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Arisoo, Abbotsford

Arisoo

In a street full of mostly Vietnamese restaurants (it is Victoria Street after all) and a scattering of Thai, a few Korean restaurants have started to appear in the mix. Seoul Soul, Chimac and Arisoo provide a bit of variety in the cuisine available here.

Arisoo - Banchan

In preparation for our holiday to Korea, I wanted to bring my parents to a Korean restaurant to whet their palates. Arisoo is a small, simple restaurant halfway between Collingwood Station and The Hive. Apparently serving authentic home-style dishes, I thought it was the perfect place to provide my parents some education on Korean cuisine, which they’re not too familiar with.

Arisoo - Marinated Pork Belly with Chilli Sauce ($18)

Marinated Pork Belly with Chilli Sauce ($18)

The weather turned chilly and we ended up ordering mostly stews to warm us up. Our only non-stew dish was the marinated pork belly with chilli sauce, done bossam style where the pieces of pork were wrapped in some lettuce leaves before being shoved in the mouth. The meat had been grilled inside the kitchen so there weren’t any fumes to contend with, and no BBQ-smell-in-your-clothes that often happens at Korean BBQ.

Arisoo - Kimchi Stew with Tuna ($15)

Kimchi Stew with Tuna ($15)

Three different stews were on the cards: kimchi stew with tuna, sundubu jjigae (spicy soft tofu stew) with seafood and doenjjang (soybean paste stew) with beef brisket. Because it had been boiled, the tuna started to take on a drier texture almost akin to canned tuna, so perhaps a different protein would have been a better choice.

Arisoo - Soybean Paste Stew with Beef Brisket, mushrooms, onions, tofu ($15)

Soybean Paste Stew with Beef Brisket, mushrooms, onions, tofu ($15)

The doenjjang was heart-warming. The savoury miso stew base was tasty, the beef brisket still tender rather than tough.

Arisoo - Soondubu Jigae - Spicy Soft Tofu Stew with Seafood and Egg ($15)

Soondubu Jigae – Spicy Soft Tofu Stew with Seafood and Egg ($15)

I’ve always loved sundubu, so I’m a bit biased when I say I liked it the best out of the three. I find kimchi stew tends to be a bit bitter, and I prefer the smoother taste of sundubu, especially with that jelly-like egg cooking slowly in the middle of the bowl.

Arisoo - Soondubu Jigae - Spicy Soft Tofu Stew with Seafood and Egg ($15)

Soondubu Jigae – Spicy Soft Tofu Stew with Seafood and Egg ($15)

We were well satisfied with our meal at Arisoo, and the prices were quite reasonable. Lunch specials are also available too, so I’m hoping to pop in again to try more of their menu.

Arisoo

Arisoo
285A Victoria St
Abbotsford, VIC, 3067
(03) 9943 5615
Arisoo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato