Dining, Food Reviews

Breakfast at No.19 Society, Ascot Vale

No.19 Society in Ascot Vale has been doing the rounds lately with the Melbourne Foodies, and for good reason. Decked out with a stylish interior, fab coffee and instagram-worthy food shots, its one not to miss

No.19 Society is brought to you by the people behind Pinkie (my absolute fave) in Ivanhoe and St Rose in Essendon – Domenic and Diana Caruso.

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Coffee is by Five Senses and it’s good, very good. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the coffee as my Husband started drinking it before I could take a photo!

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I am actually in love with the coffee machine, matching the rest of the interior with pops of gold and beautiful in white.

Stunning interiors by creative directors, Biasol who are located in Cremorne, Victoria. Biasol also worked on the other cafes, Pinkie and St Rose.

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Alongside the concrete flooring and walls, you are met with gorgeous pops of turquoise from the seating that runs right alongside the right-hand side of the cafe. It’s a stunning colour!

What I also love is the use of plants. Just like Pinkie in Ivanhoe, there are plants everywhere here. You can see them hanging down from the kitchen space but also behind the register/coffee machine.

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We ordered the following dishes;

  • Chocolate Brioche French Toast
  • Corn fritters with bacon, cream fraiche and a poached egg

I ordered a side of haloumi for the fritters too as I had been craving it all week!

The Chocolate Brioche French Toast is all over Instagram at the moment, and I can see why. It’s absolutely stunning, presented in such a beautiful way. Highlighting the use of chocolate in several ways.

What was the best thing about it? Although it looks sickly sweet, it wasn’t!

I thoroughly enjoyed the pear, it was poached to perfection and nicely spiced.

The Corn fritters were presented as a large pancake size fritter, which sadly meant the middle wasn’t quite cooked. Perhaps if they were smaller in size, they may cook more evenly.

They were sitting on top of a corn puree, which lacked a little seasoning however it went really nicely with the fritters and the cream fraiche.

My poached egg was cooked perfectly, the perfect amount of gooeyness that you want the moment you cut into it!

Bacon was the perfect amount, and super tasty too!

I really enjoyed our breakfast and would be keen to pop in again shortly. I’ve got my eyes on the breakfast ramen – it looks so good!!!

Also, keeping with tradition, the smoothies look fab too. Lucky it’s only down the road from the Husband’s work so I’ll be able to pop in again soon!

Have you tried the No.19 Society? What’s your favourite dish?

Renee
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Dining

Brunch at Pinkie Ivanhoe

We had previously dined at Pinkie Ivanhoe a few weeks back and absolutely loved it. I mean how could you not, the interior is to die for – think pops of pink, my type of heaven!

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I also love the little tagline’s they have on everything, from coasters to the coffee cups and the signage. Its fun, something different and makes for some great photos!

I should mention, that while the takeaway coffee cups are the cutest, the coffee inside is also really good. While we are spoilt for choice in Melbourne for places to enjoy a good coffee, I really enjoy what Pinkie serves.

I am so in love with the interior at Pinkie. The designer did an amazing job combining pops of pink with the slate counters and concrete flooring. Inside is full of natural light, a photographer’s delight, and a mixture of live and fake (mostly live I’m told) plants hanging from the ceiling.

Seating is comfortable, and while the interior isn’t too big, you don’t feel too cramped nor does the noise levels bother you.

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Outdoors, I love the use of the wood to enclose the space without taking away the natural light. The outdoor area is dog friendly and they even have pink dishes for the doggies to enjoy some water out of while the fur-parents enjoy some food!

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Last time we visited Pinkie, I enjoyed the Schwarzenegger Smoothie (amazing!) and the Beetroot and Hibiscus Latte (so pretty!). My Husband enjoyed a Poke Bowl which he mentioned was quite tasty.

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I was extremely excited to be invited back to Pinkie, as this time I could actually enjoy solids and not just liquids!

Pinkie has a great menu, with something for everyone. Serving sizes are good and you won’t leave feeling hungry. I love that they put little spins on their dishes too. Quirky, like the rest of the cafe.

We started with ordering drinks. A Cappuccino for my Husband and a Coconut and Tumeric Latte for myself.

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I assumed the latte would have just come with normal milk so requested soy but was pleasantly surprised to learn they actually use coconut milk in the latte! Problem solved!

When it came time to order, it was pretty tough as everything sounded so good!
We settled on the following;

  • Sweet and Salty Pancakes
  • Salmon on Rye with Cream Cheese
  • The Cheeseburger

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Let’s start with the Sweet and Salty Pancakes, OMG! These look to be a fan favourite and I can see why, they are beautifully presented and taste AMAZING!

I loved how the pancakes weren’t too sweet. Sometimes you order pancakes and they can be so sickly sweet, not Pinkie’s – they are perfect! In between the pancakes were slices of banana and the most delicious salty white chocolate crumble.

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The Salmon on Rye with Cream Cheese was my favourite, one I didn’t even share with my Husband. I wanted it all to myself. Think perfectly cooked salmon and the perfect poached egg that oozed out gooey goodness when cut.

The dill and lemon were a great on the side and provided that extra zing. The dish was light but filling, as I am thinking about it now I really want to go back ASAP so I can enjoy it again!

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When I think about what to order, I think about how it will photograph (I’m all about that insta-life) and burgers are risky choice. Sometimes they just aren’t very attractive.

Well, not Pinkie’s Cheeseburger. Look at the juicy wagyu patty, melting cheese and Sriracha aioli, so good! The wagyu patty had a delicious blend of spices, and reminded me of Chinese sausage a little. It was just so juicy too.

The chips were crispy, and plentiful! The burger also came with bacon.

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A great shot below of the kitchen, my Husband loves being able to watch what is happening in there. Also, how beautiful are the glass squares!

With bellies full of delicious food, we ordered 2 final takeaway coffees – for photographic purposes haha and braved the Melbourne weather to get some final photos outside!

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Coffee in hand, over 100 photos taken we were finally ready to head home.

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Thank you for having us Pinkie, we absolutely loved it.

All the waiters were just so friendly and lovely to us. We can’t wait to return!

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I hope you enjoyed my Brunch review at Pinkie Ivanhoe!

As always, let me know any thoughts of feedback you have!

Link to my Zomato Review
Link to Pinkie Ivanhoe

Renee
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Dining, Dining Reviews

Lunch at Bankvale Run, Marnong Estate

Two weeks ago an exciting new restaurant opened 4 minutes from our house, called Bankvale Run – part of Marnong Estate. Set on the most exquisite grounds, with a surrounding vineyard, Angus Cattle (my absolute favourite) and stunning architecture. It is located 15 minutes from Melbourne airport and only 35 minutes from Melbourne CBD.

I was so excited to have somewhere close by that we could go to on special occasions, where we would celebrate birthdays, anniversary, Christmas and so on.

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Booking was simple and easy to do through Open Table and I like how you can modify your booking through the website, saves making a phone call.

Bankvale Run is open Thursday and Friday for lunch and dinner, and on Saturday & Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is led by Executive Chef, Matt Coates who previously worked at the Sofitel in Darling Harbour.

Upon arrival, you are greeted by some amazing views. They have hit the nail on the head with the placement of the restaurant, overlooking rolling hills through big glass windows. The only trouble I had was the lighting with my photos ha!

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The interior is absolutely stunning, with the most amazing open kitchen where you can see the Chef’s busy at work. Although he won’t admit it, my husband loves watching the kitchen whenever we dine out and from where we sat he had a bird’s eye view on it all.

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I love the colour palette of the interior, you can see so much thought has gone into the design. Its warm, inviting and blends with the rugged exterior. The use of the slate and wooden floors, matched against the tanned leather is perfection. The perfect escape for a cold Melbourne winters day!

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Of course, I had to get a shot of the bathroom, even though we live 4 minutes down the road. It was equally stunning, and I love the choice of soap they have gone with – very upmarket.

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Prior to opening, I’m certain the menu included several more items that have since been removed and I recall sitting with my Husband (who is a chef) and pondering how they were going to manage with so many different dishes. However upon arrival, the menu appeared significantly shorter. I questioned one of the Waiters, however he stated the only thing that had changed was the layout of the menu?

img_3986Views from our table at Bankvale Run.

img_3978Extensive drinks menu, I wish I had tried an Espresso Martini!

img_3979The perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine in the afternoon.

I may be a little biased, however I do find the menu very typical, think the classics like Salmon, Pork Belly etc. I also get bothered when you have to buy the sides separately, I  just feel the protein should come with something, anything!

We skipped entrees and went straight to mains as nothing really stood out. The Crumbed fried sardines, lemon and caper mayonnaise do sound really tasty and perhaps I’ll have those next time.

I ordered the Pan fried salmon fillet, tomato, caper and pea tendrils, priced at $34. I requested the salmon be cooked well and they cooked it to perfection. I really enjoyed it, although a little small, the flavours were very nice. I do wish I had two cherry tomatoes though ha!

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My husband ordered the 300gm Black Angus scotch fillet, herb and garlic butter, jus and lemon, priced at $32. He ordered it medium-rare and was more towards the medium side, only slightly. Of course I had to try his and was blown away by the beautiful smooth flavour. It was quite a good size.

img_3983Excuse the poor lighting on this picture, the sun wasn’t playing fair!

We shared a bowl of the Polenta chips with roasted tomato salsa, priced at $10. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of them, they looked like French fries though. Pleasant and crispy.

At this point, I admit I was feeling a little deflated. Again, I’m an extremely harsh critic due to where I’ve dined and having a husband who is a chef but then we ordered dessert.

What we ordered for dessert isn’t even on the menu, I’m assuming it was the freshly baked cake of the day, priced at $12 however this was something else. Both my husband and I were absolutely blown away by this dish. It was so delicious, I would drive back there right now and have it if they were open. It was like a cheesecake with jelly in the centre and a biscuit base. OMG. Absolutely blown away, and the creativity! I think that’s what I was searching for in the mains and entrees, especially since most of Melbourne does really creative things with food.

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After lunch we went on a walk around the grounds, which made me super happy as it really is so beautiful. Especially seeing the old homestead, I’m actually tempted to stay here as it looks so inviting!

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They have set up a large space for growing their own produce, with a little greenhouse. I love when restaurants do this, especially if they have the space. It’s also nice for guests of the homestead to have these beautiful grounds for wondering.

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There is also a new tennis court for the guests of the homestead. With views like that from the tennis court, even I would take up tennis!

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After we wandered through the grounds, we slowly made our way back to the car. I really didn’t want to leave as I have fallen in love with Marnong Estate and all it has to offer.

img_3994.jpgBeautiful views, perfect for that fab Instagram worthy shot!

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As we strolled back to the car, I couldn’t help but think when will I return. Hopefully within the next 2 months when we have visitors from Sydney. I really want Bankvale Run to be a success, especially for our community. Mainly, so that I can celebrate many more birthdays there and tell my future grandkids that I dined here “when it first opened”.

I recommend you try this place when you can, its great for kids (the kids menu sounds pretty good) and it’s just a great spot for being semi outdoors.

I hope you enjoyed my review, do let me know your thoughts, especially if you have been there!

Renee
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Dining, Dining Reviews, Food Photography, Food Reviews

Lunch at Barrenjoey House

Getting to Palm Beach is super easy from the Central Coast, Ettalong to be exact, as there is a ferry that runs there and back on a regular basis.
My lunch date was my Mum, I was up visiting her for the Easter Weekend. She had visited Palm Beach and dined at Barrenjoy House in late 2017 and raved about it-so we had to go!

We jumped on the FantaSea Ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong for the short trip over at around 11am. The trip is roughly 30 minutes, however the scenery and views make it an adventure in itself. Before we knew it, we were pulling up at Palm Beach.

As we were running late due to tide issues, Mum had called ahead to let them know. When we arrived at Barrenjoey House they still had our table ready and it was one on the terrace at the front. This was wonderful, and we truely felt valued.

We started with a drink, I enjoyed the Lychee Berry Smash – a mocktail with muddled lychees, raspberries, fresh mint and lemonade. It was so refreshing and the berry smash made it a delightful purple shade.

Mum enjoyed a cocktail, the Andy Warhol – Vanilla Vodka, passionfruit pulp, egg white and prosecco. Perfect for the hot day, it was refreshing yet sharp. I am obsessed with the glasses they were served in. Does anyone know the name of them?

Photo 2-4-18, 4 45 51 pm_previewMum with her Andy Warhol Cocktail

For starters, we ordered the marinated olives which were perfectly marinated. The marinade contained chilli, rosemary and what looked like orange rind. So tasty.
We also ordered a serve of the sourdough which was toasted with garlic and parmesan – I have had “garlic bread” before but this was next level. Light, crispy and with a hint of garlic.

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Service was extremely fast, I felt perhaps, a little too fast. I wanted to sit and enjoy my lunch and take my time however there was little time between drinks/starters/mains etc. Our waiter was so lovely and attentive and offered suggestions on the menu. I always love when the waiter is happy to have a chat.

For our main meal, we each had the seasonal seafood platter. Priced at $42, I felt there could definitely have been more seafood on the plate, perhaps a full Balmain Bug rather than half or even a side salad. However in saying this, the seafood was cooked to perfection. The Balmain Bug was sweet and tender, the prawns firm and the fish lightly battered.

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Next up was dessert. I chose the Affogato. I actually hadn’t tried one of these before but was craving a good coffee. It didn’t disappoint. With the perfect serve of vanilla bean gelato, it was presented with the espresso and Frangelico in separate shot glasses. I loved pouring it over the ice cream myself, it added a sense of fun to the dish. It also featured a piece of almond biscotti.

Mum enjoyed the dessert special, Eton Mess, which was pleasant and surprised us both as it had banana in it. This added a different texture, alongside the meringue. It was light and refreshing.

Both desserts were $15

Photo 2-4-18, 4 47 50 pm_previewMum enjoying dessert, Eton Mess

After we finished dessert we decided to head off and explore Palm Beach (especially the shops). We had a look through the dining area, ensuring we weren’t in anyones way. The interior is gorgeous, with Morrocan light fittings, beautiful leather lounges and a gorgeous fireplace. Beautiful mirrors are featured throughout the spaces, I especially loved the one above the fireplace.

My only concern with lunch was the way my Mum was spoken too by a waitress, well berated. It was unfortunate, my Mum was standing in front of an opening door which the lady opened into my Mum. Rather than apologise the waitress was extremely rude to my Mum. Mum apologised for being in the way and we moved on.
I went to the bathroom, and overheard the waitress talking poorly about my Mum to another waitress, who then rolled her eyes. This was extremely unprofessional and uncalled for and has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Even with this poor customer service experience, I would return to Barrenjoey House. The other staff were fantastic, the food perfectly cooked and presented and its also has a great vibe.

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Renee x