Dining

Lunch at the Collective Espresso, Camberwell

When you go a 2 hour round trip just to go to a cafe, and you do that twice within the last 2 months the place must be pretty special.

The below review is over our last two visits, with the most recent one last Saturday!

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This is exactly how I feel about Collective Espresso in Camberwell!

The Cafe is the perfect size, nice and cosy but with an outdoor area for your pooch. It is opposite Camberwell Train Station so easy to get too, plus it has plenty of street-parking.

The BAM ($7.50) was the perfect way to start the meal, and especially after my morning hike.

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The BAM is a Blueberry, Apple & Mint Slushie – so good! This is going to be so refreshing come summer – the perfect way to cool down.

While Collective Espresso is serving up delicious coffee from Undercover Roasters, the team in the kitchen are creating and making some absolutely amazing dishes.

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Quite possibly the most Instagram worthy food photo around, the Gravity Waffles ($18.50) are extremely popular. You can see why, how cool is this! I wasn’t kidding when I said the team in the kitchen were creative.

The Gravity Waffles  come with vanilla and white chocolate, whipped cream, kiwi fruit, strawberries, salted caramel & popcorn.

The waffles were a great size and I love the fruit component, I would have loved a little more syrup however.

I was feeling like something substantial so ordered the Sweetcorn & Zucchini Fritters ($19) and added a side of Salmon ($5). I was so happy I did as the whole meal was so tasty and well put together!

The Sweetcorn & Zucchini Fritters were made with sweetcorn, cumin seed & zucchini. It was served with a poached egg, whipped goats cheese, lemongrass & tomato chutney. The Fritters were quite fluffy, and full of flavour, I was hoping for more whipped goats cheese as it was more a smear to hold the fritter in place – I certainly savoured what I did have though – yum!

I love how softshell crab is finding its way into brunch dishes. What a better pair than crispy soft-shell crab and Mac n Cheese – oh lordy, I was in heaven!

The Crumbed Mac & Cheese with Crispy Crab ($18.50) is one of those dishes you eat slowly, so you can fully appreciate the flavours. The tempura soft-shell crab is beautifully presented on a Mac & cheese croquette with, green cheese sauce & ranch dressing.

It was so satisfying – I’ll be having this again for sure!

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Last but not least, the burger to end all burgers. The Double. Does it even need an introduction – ha! You can maximise the cheesy goodness of The Double ($20) by making it a Beast ($5) which includes double beef, double cheese, double pickles, bacon, lettuce, a Mac & Cheese croquette & fried egg on a brioche bun. It is served with shoestring fries, relish and trufflenaise (go just for this, it is so yum!).

Yup, it’s a beast of a burger!

If you love creative food, and love taking pictures of your food (let’s be honest we all do ha!) then pop Collective Espresso on your must-try list.

A big thank you to Collective Espresso for inviting us both back (@chefjordanbird). We thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Renee
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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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