Advertisements

Tag Archives: cafe

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne)

Another example of a top notch Melbourne café situated in the beautiful suburb of Ripponlea.

Tucked away on a side street yet located in the heart of the suburb, right next to the railway station, Turning Point is a great place to hang out with friends and family.

Subscribing perfectly to the word ‘Modern Australian’ is both the ambience and menu. There is a large seating area inside and a small outdoor space too for the sunnier days. The décor is bright and cheerful with contemporary touches.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The menu, as I mentioned is Modern Australian; all the classics but plenty of twists and fusions accommodating all kinds of foodies. Also it is divided into two, as the café is open for dinner also from Thursday to Sunday. The drinks menu is also extensive during the dinner timings.

We visited the café for brunch, a good time to enjoy both the breakfast and lunch dishes.

For drinks, I chose a glass of Lambrook Rosè (Adelaide Hills) while the hubby chose the ‘Citrus Squeeze’ cold pressed juice spiked with gin. A very interesting drink which had the goodness of orange, carrot, grapefruit, lemon and mint; the gin took it to another level creating a rather refreshing cocktail of sorts.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The little fellow opted for the eggs and bacon on toast, but we also added a side of chorizo. (The photograph was taken before the bacon arrived). A classic that ticks all the right boxes. There are plenty of options to customize this and make it simple or as gourmet as you wish to.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

I chose one of the café specials, Three Point Turn – poached eggs, bacon, house made beans, mushroom, wilted spinach, potato rosti, roasted tomato and relish. Served with toast but I omitted it. Now this is what I call a gourmet breakfast. Absolutely delicious and so full of flavour; especially loved the beans and rosti. Highly recommended!

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The hubby likes his protein fix so he opted for the Flank Steak – overnight marinated and grilled steak with caper and smoked paprika butter, jumbo tempura onion rings, a fried egg and thick cut fries. Now this one is for the big eater; generous portions with each component done to perfection. Just the kind of brunch for weekends.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To summarize, the Turning Point is an amazing café to hang out for coffee, drinks or a delicious meal. Definitely going back soon.

Turning Point

8 – 10 Glen Eira Ave
Ripponlea, 3185

Phone no: (03) 9528 2719
Website: https://www.turningpointripponlea.com/

Timings:

Monday – Wednesday: 7am – 4pm
Thursday – Friday: 7am – 9pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 9pm

 Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me.

Turning Point Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne)

Located along the St Kilda Esplanade, opposite Luna Park and Palais Theatre, Phamish is a food and wine bar serving modern Australian cuisine.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And with Mother’s Day right around the corner, Phamish has collaborated with Bonne Maman to create two special dishes using some of Bonne Maman’s signature conserves. This special event runs exclusively for a week from Monday 7th May to Sunday 13th May.

As I already mentioned, the menu at Phamish is largely modern Australian with some Middle Eastern and Meditteranean influences. Given its location, the space is divided into two; a café style ambience at the front end and a more formal dining space at the back end. Also slightly on the expensive side, but that’s a given with most places situated on The Esplanade.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s the perfect spot to catch up with a friend for a lazy brunch and that’s exactly what I was doing. But it’s also a great spot to visit with family after some thrilling rides at the Luna Ride or for a more formal dinner before heading over to the Palais theatre.

We began our meal with drinks; while my friend chose the cappuccino, I went for a sparkling (not a surprise for those who know me).

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we ordered the Semolina Crusted Calamari, served with orange and chilli aioli, rocket and braised leek. The calamari was cooked to perfection, crispy outside but sweet and tender inside. The aioli had loads of flavour and paired well with the calamari. Perfect start to any meal.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And for mains, we got the Mushroom Risotto. It was not the best risotto I have had but still a good and comforting one. A bit more flavour in the broth would have made it a great one. But still a hearty dish especially when the days are chilly.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Finally for dessert, we chose the Bonne Maman Mother’s Day special. There were two signature desserts to choose from and we had the French Crepes filled with Bonne Maman apricot marmalade infused custard, black forest cream, fresh strawberries and pistachio crumb.

Loved the flavour of the marmalade infused custard; never thought of using the Bonne Maman jams this way. The crepes were slightly thicker at the centre so the texture was not the most perfect which we did inform the staff who said they would rectify it at the earliest. The fresh strawberries and pistachio crumb added a lovely texture and overall made the dish a really good one.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

(Bonne Maman has also collaborated with many other cafes and bakeries across Melbourne, so do check out their website for more details. A great way to spend some time and treat your Mom on her special day)

Phamish Food and Wine Bar
30 The Esplanade
St Kilda
Opposite Palais Theatre & Luna Park)

Phone no: (03) 9534 3800
http://phamish.com.au/

Timings:

Monday: 7am-3pm
Tuesday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Wednesday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Thursday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Friday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Saturday: 7am-10pm
Sunday: 7am-10pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of Bonne Maman, but the opinions are entirely mine. 

Phamish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review

Brunswick Flour Mill is situated on the iconic Sydney Road in Brunswick, which is a food lover’s paradise. The name comes from the unique heritage building that is atleast 100 years old in which the café is housed. Apparently, it was a location for trading and flour was one of the main commodities, hence the name.

The unique heritage structure is visible not just outside but inside the café interiors too with rustic wooden furniture, vintage flour sacks, balances and other props that add to the warm ambience and the bygone history of the place.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The café culture of Melbourne is really strong and personally, I love the trend because it’s such a nice space to enjoy a cup of coffee all by yourself or have a quick lunch with friends or colleagues. This time, I was meeting a new friend who had just moved to Melbourne to pursue her dream of being a pastry chef.

When the new management took over around a year ago, there was a revamp of the old menu. The dishes are all familiar but now with an emphasis on clean flavours and use of local, sustainable and organic ingredients wherever possible. There are also plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. The all day breakfast menu has something for all taste buds and dietary needs ranging from a healthy bowl of granola to salads, pancakes and the big breakfast with eggs, sausages and all the sides.

And ofcourse coffee is serious business at Brunswick Flour Mill. The owner, Anjali Diddi, said that they use only certified organic rainforest alliance coffee which has been selected and roasted by some of Melbourne’s premier baristas.

Apart from coffee and tea varieties, there is also a selection of freshly squeezed fruit juices, smoothies and a basic alcohol menu.

Brunswick Flour Mill is now open for dinner too from Thursday to Saturday. The new dinner menu has the classics as always but will also include more health conscious yet delicious additions.

We were at the café for lunch, so began our meal with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a glass of Chardonnay.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

My friend couldn’t look past the Wagyu Beef Burger on the menu so that’s what she ordered. With a homemade beef patty, bacon, caramelized onions, pickled cucumber, cheese, iceberg lettuce and tomato relish between perfectly toasted buns, this one was a juicy delicious delight. And the in house aioli and chips was a perfect match. Definitely recommended if you want to sink your teeth into something meaty and delicious.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

I chose to order the day’s special, the French Omelette and a side of thyme flavoured mushrooms. The sides menu is really interesting and you can also put together your meal without having to order a specific dish from the menu. For eg: you can order some eggs and add a side of mushrooms or sausage etc….

The French omelette lived up to my expectations; fluffy and moist with a filling of earthy mushrooms, ham, caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes and herbs, it was light yet really delicious. A really satisfying meal with two toasts of sourdough and butter on the side.

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Brunswick Flour Mill (Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The café also stocks a range of cakes, pastries, muffins etc….that is prepared fresh and can be chosen from the counter shelf.

To summarize, the Brunswick Flour Mill is a great café to step into while out and about in the area. With a warm and welcoming ambience, it’s the perfect spot to catch up over delicious food or grab a great coffee and muffin on the go.

Brunswick Flour Mill

341 Sydney Rd.
Brunswick 3056
Phone no:  (03) 9078 0497
http://www.flourmill.net.au/

Timings:
Monday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm/5.30pm – 10.00pm
Friday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm/5.30pm – 10.00pm
Saturday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm/5.30pm – 10.00pm
Sunday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

Brunswick Flour Mill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Brunswick Flour Mill, but all the thoughts and opinions about the food are entirely mine.

Frankie’s Top Shop (St Kilda, Melbourne) – a Review

Another delicious addition to Melbourne’s café culture!

Frankie's Topshop (Melbourne), a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

4

Located inside a beautiful historic building (a former neighbourhood milk bar) in Cowderoy Street, St Kilda West, Frankie’s Top Shop is Michele Curtis’s first solo venture.

Michele needs no introduction to the food lovers, a professional chef and award winning food writer with publications like ‘The Foodies Diary’, ‘In The Kitchen’ and ‘What’s for Dinner’ to her credit. Her vision for Frankie’s was simple – a local food store, milk bar, café, all under one roof.

Michele Curtis, Frankie's Topshop (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

With the focus on fresh, seasonal and local produce, Frankie’s menu has a range of salad options and healthy sweet treats. But you will also find all your café favourites, done really well. Michele believes that healthy does not mean boring which is why you will find the bacon sitting very comfortably next to the green goodness bowl!

Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

I love trying out new cafes especially for brunch with my girlfriends catching up over the mundane, so there was no way I was going to turn down an invite to sample Frankie’s menu.

So I visited Frankie’s on a beautiful sunny day with my new GF. We decided to sit outdoors because the weather was just perfect. And with the neighbourhood slowly passing by, doggies and pups all around us, it was the perfect slow life.

While my friend started off with lemonade, I decided to try out the fresh juices. So it was the carrot orange concoction for me and it was just amazing. Light, refreshing, healthy and delicious!

Carrot orange fresh juice - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Frankie’s also has a range of milkshakes, smoothies, coffees, teas and kombucha; so take your pick. If you love smoothies, then the Frankie’s delight with blueberries, almond milk and banana comes highly recommended.

Frankie’s delight smoothie - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Eggs are an important part of any café menu which is why I decided to try out the Folded eggs with mushrooms, parmesan, herbs, spring onions and super greens, served with sourdough toast. Simple food done well with absolutely fresh ingredients.

Folded eggs with mushrooms, parmesan, herbs, spring onions and super greens - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

My friend couldn’t go past the pie so she had the Frankie’s lamb pie with red pepper relish and a couscous, roast vegetables, chickpea salad. The fact that she polished off her plate in 5 minutes is enough testimony to the food.

Frankie’s lamb pie with red pepper relish and a couscous, roast vegetables, chickpea salad - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

As I already mentioned, the salads are really interesting at Frankie’s. Don’t just stick to the menu because they do have daily specials so just ask the staff or take a look at the refrigerator inside the café. You can also create your own salad bowl by mixing two to three salads depending on the flavours available. Like this green bowl which features both the quinoa salad and the green salad. So yumm!

Green Salad Bowl - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

If I had taken my son along, then pancakes would definitely be something we would be ordering like these delicious buttermilk pancakes with fresh figs, vanilla labne and smoked maple syrup.

buttermilk pancakes with fresh figs, vanilla labne and smoked maple syrup - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

And for those with a sweet tooth, Frankie’s won’t disappoint. There is a range of sweet treats, cookies, muffins etc….that are made daily and available for purchase like this chocolicious brownie and the very pretty Persian cake.

Choco brownies - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Persian cake - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Frankie’s Topshop also stocks products like pasta sauces, chutneys, jams etc….which are made in house. You can also find a wide range of artisan food products made locally and some wonderful foodie gifts and cookbooks too.

Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Overall, a great place to work from, catch up with friends or a delicious brunch with family. Or perhaps you can grab a takeaway before heading to the beach. Frankie’s has something for everyone.

Frankie’s Topshop

20 Cowderoy Street
St Kilda West

Phone no: 03 95254971

Website: http://www.frankiestopshop.com.au/

Frankies Top Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review

A lovely café tucked away in the bylanes of Burwood, The Foodrinkery ticks all the right boxes for me when it comes to a neighbourhood café.

Located adjacent to the Wattle Park Primary School and Spectrum dance school, the café enjoys an enviable location which also makes it the perfect spot for the neighbourhood to stop by for a relaxing cup of coffee and some amazing food.

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We walked in for brunch earlier this week and the first thing that struck me was this was the perfect place for me to meet with my mommy friends. The seating area is divided into three parts – a couple of tables out at the front, cool quirky interior seating (with plenty of magazines) and a gorgeous shady space behind the café which opens out into the adjacent park area.

The décor has been done so thoughtfully; there is plenty of quirky stuff on display which children would adore, like this car on the wall.

Quirky interiors at The Foodrinkery, Burwood - a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The staff also opens out the top part of the fencing when children are around so that parents can always watch their children playing in the park while sipping on their coffees. Very thoughtful indeed…..

Beautiful art work on the walls, interesting table number art, cars and planes, potted plants and herbs….all add to the relaxing ambience of this café. A place that makes you feel warm and welcome. How I wish there was a similar café in my neighbourhood!

Quirky interiors at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We started off with a cup of coffee (cappuccino to be exact) and freshly squeezed orange juice. The coffee was good but there’s room for improvement. We Melbournians have a very high standard for coffee so this one felt average….. The freshly squeezed orange juice was gulped down fast being a really hot autumn day. The café also serves smoothies and other fresh drinks apart from the usual bottled varieties.

Coffee at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Orange Juice at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The menu at The Foodrinkery is an interesting one with a good mix of familiar, comforting dishes and some modern, unique flavours. Personally, I love to try out new flavours and I also get excited when a small café or restaurant tries to push boundaries in their own small ways. But my hubby is not always so which is why he ended up getting eggs and toast with a side of bacon. According to him, a café that gets this dish right is one he will return to. And luckily for him, it turned out to be so….creamy, fluffy scrambled eggs on good quality toasted bread with a side of perfectly fried bacon.

Scrambled Eggs on Toast with a side of bacon at the The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

I zeroed in on the Chermoula Eggs….toasted bread topped with smashed pumpkin, grilled zucchini, two free ranged poached eggs drizzled with chermoula dressing. To cater to all taste buds, the seasoning is kept to a minimum so you need to adjust it to your liking with salt and pepper. But there was tons of flavour in this one…loved the chermoula dressing which when combined with the runny eggs was brilliant. A clean, healthy and nourishing dish.

Chermoula Eggs at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

It was a really hot day and the Atlantic salad sounded very interesting so we added that to the list too. Lots of baby spinach topped with cherry tomatoes, capers, smoked salmon, feta, pickle, jalapenos drizzled with a balsamic glaze dressing. Very refreshing and delicious, it made the perfect addition to our meal.

Atlantic Salad at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Do look out for their specials menu which you can find behind the counter. There is also a delectable selection of muffins, cakes, pastries, cupcakes, cookies etc…..I bought back home a couple of chocolate cupcakes and mini chocolate chip cookies which totally won my son’s approval.

Freshly baked muffins at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Gorgeous cupcakes at The Foodrinkery, Burwood (Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

In a nutshell, The Foodrinkery is a great place to relax after dropping off your children at school, catch up with your friends and neighbours or have a family brunch on the weekends. And if this café was near my home, you would have found me doing all my food writing here….a very inspiring and calming space.

The Foodrinkery
22 Banksia Street
Burwood
Victoria 3125
Phone: 03 8899 6654
FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheFoodrinkery/

Timings:
Mon – Fri: 8.00am to 5.00pm
Sat-Sun: 8.00am to 4.00pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of The World Loves Melbourne and The Foodrinkery. The choice of dishes and opinions stated here are entirely mine.

The Foodrinkery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One Plus Piece Café (Balwyn, Melbourne) – a Review

Melbourne is an awesome city for brunch lovers like me. I love to sleep in on weekends and wake up rather late into the day and so I get excited everytime I hear of a café offering an amazing breakfast/brunch/lunch menu.

I have one complaint though; most places have less choice when it comes to savoury breakfasts when compared to the sweeter counterparts. And even when savoury is offered, there’s not much interesting going on beyond the egg bacon routine. But I have met my match at One Plus Piece Café; these guys love savoury and they do it just my way!

1

2

Situated on Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, One Plus Piece Café is a quaint, unassuming space from the outside. But inside, it’s a Japanese anime lover’s paradise. Now I am not a big fan of Japanese anime but I do love the little figurines, dolls and art work. The interiors reminded me so much of the Dojo Ramen Bar, though on a smaller scale.

3

7

5

On the menu is a nice little description on what ‘One Plus Piece’ stands for, a little pirate story that my son enjoyed reading and then trying to connect it with the décor around. The glasses that arrived on the table were rustic, pirate themed cans much to his delight!

There’s plenty of regular breakfast fare on the menu for those who want something familiar. But what sets this place really apart from the many cafes around is the Asian influence and twists to many of the dishes and these are what you need to really try out.

6

I have heard that the coffee here is really good; a custom house blend roasted by 5 Senses. Usually I don’t let go of any opportunity to have a coffee but a few other signature drinks here beckoned me. It was a super hot day and so I chose the Tik Tok, a refreshing blend of apple, carrot, cucumber, celery, beetroot and ginger. It was delicious, ticked all the boxes for me especially with my love for vegetable juices. It was cold, delicious, refreshing and so good for you. I totally recommend this one.

8

The boys decided to try out S.A.M – the only reason being the big fella’s name is Sam and the little fella loves sparkling apple juice. S.A.M was a very colourful drink, a signature drink made from organic sparkling apple juice and organic Japanese matcha. It was really good but I preferred the Tik Tok more; not a big fan of matcha yet.

9

I was invited to try out the menu at One Plus Piece so we ordered only the drinks. The food we had was pre-selected by Chef Ryan who definitely seemed to understand our taste buds.

The highlight of the brunch experience was this dish – Mr. Franky which is a couple of roti rolls with ham and cheese, two perfectly fried eggs and topped with smashed avocado, sour cream, tomato salsa and a final drizzle of organic tomato relish. An absolute cracker of a dish, this is how I would love to brunch everyday. It was those toppings that took a very humble roti with eggs to a whole new level. It was spicy but just right, gooey runny eggs and that tomato relish was to die for. My son went totally gaga over this one and declared it his favourite dish ever.

12

I am a big fan of Karage (Japanese fried chicken) and so I was thrilled when I got the Japanese fried chicken burger with chipotle mayo, cheese and mayo. The chicken was splendid; juicy inside with that crunchy exterior (the Japanese sure know how to fry stuff) but it was the chipotle mayo that I loved. You could actually taste the heat of the chipotle heat which made this a winning dish for me. Often when you order chipotle mayo, you do notice a colour difference but there’s hardly any flavour or heat kick. This one was full of flavour with that nice spicy kick which does wonders on your taste buds.

10

The final dish we had was the One Piece – double chilli beef, double bacon, double cheese, caramelized onions, mushroom, lettuce and a secret 1 piece sauce. This is how burgers must be; meaty, juicy, cheesy and also spicy! Loved the burger but it was way too much for me to finish but the big boy was happy to oblige; in fact he was not keen on sharing it in the first place. Again a well made burger hitting all the right spots.

11

Vegetarians need not get disappointed; there are quite good options on the menu like a mushroom omelette with chilli oil. Portobello mushroom burger, kale antioxidant salad etc and also some healthy smoothies to choose from. In fact, next time I am going to try out the mushroom omelette.

To summarize my experience, One Plus Piece is a great place to catch up for brunch with friends or family. Go beyond the regular fare and try out their signature Asian influenced dishes which are really amazing.  Definitely one to add to my brunch list.

One Plus Piece

266 Whitehorse Rd
Balwyn
VIC 3103

Phone no: (03) 9830 4459

Website:  facebook.com/pages/1-Piece

Timings:
Mon: 8 am to 5 pm
Tue: 8 am to 5 pm
Wed: 8 am to 5 pm
Thu: 8 am to 9 pm
Fri: 8 am to 9 pm
Sat: 8 am to 9 pm
Sun: 8 am to 5 pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of One Plus Piece and The World Loves Melbourne, but all the opinions expressed are entirely mine.

One Plus Piece Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Vanilla Cakes and Lounge, Oakleigh – a Review

I have been to Oakleigh a dozen or more times but it was always en route to Chadstone. And hence I missed the culinary experience known as Eaton Mall.

You have to visit Eaton Mall during the evenings, when the entire precinct comes alive with the bustle of food lovers. Restaurants and cafes line both sides of the street and picking one can be quite a feat. For us, it had to be Vanilla Cakes and Lounge though trust me, there are many more places where you can find amazing food.

6

8

The food at Eaton Mall is primarily Meditteranean/European with Greek cuisine taking the lead. It is also a very good spot to pick up amazing cakes and bakes with Nikos and Vanilla ruling the roost.

Though we had quite a few places in mind, we ended up at Vanilla wanting to experience both the food and pastries here.

There’s always a huge crowd dining here so make sure you arrive with enough time to spare. Vanilla has three seating areas – al fresco dining, the lounge and Vanilla upstairs. Take your pick!

Though we would have preferred to sit outside, lack of space led us to the lounge where we were seated comfortably, albeit at a small table. The menus were bought out and for drinks, we chose a lemon lime bitters, Peroni and a glass of NV Lana Prosecco (King Valley, VIC). The lime bitters was exceptionally good.

Lemon Lime Bitters

Lemon Lime Bitters

Peroni, NV Lana Prosecco (King Valley, VIC)

Peroni, NV Lana Prosecco (King Valley, VIC)

For entrée, we chose Loukaniko, a traditional spicy Greek style sausage. Grilled to perfection and with a hint of spice through the meat, this was really delicious. Totally recommended!

Loukaniko, a traditional spicy Greek style sausage

Loukaniko, a traditional spicy Greek style sausage

For mains, the first dish we chose was from the daily specials. Fish of the day (fried mullet) with a Greek salad. Not recommended for those who do not enjoy bony fish like my hubby. He was expecting fillets and not the whole fish as eating it proved to be quite fiddly. Not much in terms of seasoning also; quite a lackluster dish.

Fish of the day (fried mullet) with a Greek salad

Fish of the day (fried mullet) with a Greek salad

A good souvlaki is the sign of a good Greek restaurant and so that’s what we ordered next. An open lamb souvlaki with tzatzki, chips, salad and pita bread. On the whole, it was a good dish but the lamb could have been more tender. The smoky flavour was spot on but the meat was a bit chewy which sort of made it an average dish.

Open lamb souvlaki with tzatzki, chips, salad and pita bread

Open lamb souvlaki with tzatzki, chips, salad and pita bread

We decided to buy some pastries to take back home instead of getting any there. So bought a few slices of black forest and lemon pannacotta to take back home. Unfortunately no pictures; we got busy gobbling it up that I forgot. But must say, the best black forest I have eaten in a long long time. Both the desserts were spectacular and totally recommended.

7

Which made me arrive at the conclusion that Vanilla Cakes and Lounge is more about the cakes, pastries and sweet nibbles than the food. And that’s what you must try while visiting there. It’s a good place to catch up with friends, chat over coffee with amazing cakes and pastries to accompany.

The service was average and with the place so busy, do not expect any personalized attention. The waitress who attended to us just wanted to finish her job as quick as possible. She was not very knowledgeable about the dishes on the menu and when we asked her a bit more information on the Loukaniko, she said she had no idea; didn’t even bother to ask someone else and clarify our doubts.

Rating – 7.5/10 (I am going for a higher rate for the cakes and not for the food)

Vanilla Cakes and Lounge

17-21 Eaton Mall
Oakleigh
Victoria 3166

Timings:

7.00 am to 1.00 am – All days of the week

Phone no: 03 9568 3358

Website: http://vanillalounge.com.au/

Vanilla Cakes and Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – All the food and drinks were paid for by me.

Urban Fox Café, Melbourne Central – a Review

Since we are on the topic of coffee this week, let me tell you about this cafe experience I had last week in the CBD.

Urban Fox is a modern, quirky cafe nestled in Melbourne Central. Being a coffee enthusiast and always on the hunt for a good caffeine experience, I was invited by Di Bella Coffee to try out their range stocked at Urban Fox.

13

What I liked about Urban Fox is its location; situated at the corner of Swanston and La Trobe street, it is easy to approach this cafe from the Emporium too. That works for me because I always combine a shopping trip to the Central with a trip to the Emporium too given its close proximity.

I also liked the fact that apart from awesome takeaway coffees (to fuel my shopping!), Urban Fox also has takeaway soups. Now that’s a winner combo in my eyes, espcially given the weather.

6

2

I have always complained about the lack of takeaway soups in the cafes here. I mean, what can be more comforting than a good hearty warm soup on a cold way or a quick working lunch. So my eyes fell straightaway on the soup pots at the counter which indeed put a huge smile on my face. The waitress informed me that there were 2 choices, one vegetarian and one non vegetarian; she also asked if I would like to have a taste to help me decide. That’s great especially if you cannot decide which one you want to have so make sure you ask for a taste even if you are not promptly offered the same.

The two choices for the day was Veggie Lentil Soup and Lamb with Winter Vegetables. To be honest, I liked both and found it really hard to decide but finally, I opted for the lamb just because of that extra rich flavour and the chunks of potato in it. I would totally recommend to try out the soup because it was really delicious and flavourful. Complete value for the buck!

1

Lamb with Winter Vegetables

Lamb with Winter Vegetables

The menu at Urban Fox changes everyday so you will need to ask about the dishes available, most of which are anyway kept for display in the glass cabinet. It is a small space and is clearly meant for people on the go but there are a few seats for those who want to put up the tired, shopping feet.

5

After the soup, it was time for the main bites. I chose the Cajun chicken rice with chickpeas, roasted veggies, peas and a soy and chili sauce. Didn’t quite like the rice; it was cooked perfectly but there was no real Cajun flavour which was a bit of a let down.

Cajun chicken rice with chickpeas, roasted veggies, peas and a soy and chili sauce

Cajun chicken rice with chickpeas, roasted veggies, peas and a soy and chili sauce

The hubby and son chose the Falafel roti with spinach, hummus, avocado, sundried tomatoes and mint. I managed to sneak in some bites and it was quite nice. The falafels were really good and overall a great filling sandwich.

Falafel roti with spinach, hummus, avocado, sundried tomatoes and mint

Falafel roti with spinach, hummus, avocado, sundried tomatoes and mint

The little fella chose to end his meal with a Belgian chocolate macaron. It was everything that you want from a chocolate macaron; crunchy, chewy, gooey, all in one bite!

Belgian chocolate macaron

Belgian chocolate macaron

While the hubby opted for the hot chocolate, I was of course going to sample the coffee. The hot chocolate was really good but not too rich which I actually liked….it had that perfect dose of chocolate to warm your insides.

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate

The cappuccino was really good; strong and full bodied which is exactly how I like my coffee. Most often, I need to ask for an extra shot of espresso to get the richness I prefer but with Di Bella, it was spot on. There were sacks of coffee beans kept at the counter where I sat, I kept scooping the beans into my palms and smelling the roast beans. Ah! the aroma……(I am sure the staff thought I was crazy).

Di Bella Cappuccino

Di Bella Cappuccino

A quick look at their website tells me that Di Bella sources the coffee beans from around the globe and includes both roasted single origin coffees and signature blends. Freshly roasted at their Brisbane headquarters ensures that the customer gets to enjoy maximum flavour and one of the finest coffee experiences in Australia.

If you are a beginner, Di Bella coffee can be a one stop shopping experience as they also sell capsule machines, milk forthers etc…in addition to premium coffee beans and blends. Remember how I told you I am planning on a Nespresso later this year; the good news is that Di Bella makes coffee capsules that are Nespresso compatible; you can read all of that information here. So if you already own a Nespresso, there’s nothing stopping you from a Di Bella experience!

Overall, the trip to Urban Fox was a delightful one. Standouts were the soup and coffee but the falafel roti came close.

My rating – 7.5/10

Urban Fox Cafe

Ground floor
Melbourne Central
Corner of Swanston St and La Trobe St
(or entrance from Little Lonsdale St)
Melbourne CBD

Timings:

Monday: 7am to 6.30pm
Tuesday: 7am to 6.30pm
Wednesday: 7am to 6.30pm
Thursday: 7am to 6.30pm
Friday: 7am to 6.30pm
Saturday: 8am to 6.30pm
Sunday: 8am to 6.30pm

Click to add a blog post for Urban Fox on Zomato

Disclaimer – This post was sponsored by Di Bella but the opinions are entirely my own.

%d bloggers like this: