Dining

Brunch at the Espresso Room, Northcote

Brunch – noun
A late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch. Thanks Wikipedia ha!

Actually brunch is one of my favourite things. It combines a normally long sleep in, with just enough time to excuse an eggs benny as an appropriate dish past noon. Once finished it’s generally time for another nap, which is another one of my favourite things to do.

Back to where this tale begins. Fresh off the plane from Hawaii, we headed to the Espresso Room in Northcote. A great space, located on the corner of High Street in Northcote with a tram stop right out the front – perfect.

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The space is my idea of heaven with an industrial chic feel. Love the use of the graffiti art within the cafe and the seating is perfect.

They even have their own deli section, so you know what you are getting is fresh off the slicer!

We started with ordering smoothies as it was such a warm day and the smoothie list was  welcomed with open arms. Smoothies are $9.50 each and are massive!

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The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie – $9.50

I chose the Detox – spinach, kale, mint and cucumber. Perfect to get some nutrients into me post flight.
@chefjordanbird went with the Anti-Inflammatory – tumeric, mango, banana, coconut water, honey and cinnamon.

Next we had to decided on what we were going to eat! This is always the tricky part, lucky I spotted the specials board as a dish quickly grabbed my eye.

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Haloumi & Fig – $17.50

The Haloumi & Fig dish consisted of Turkish toast topped with haloumi, poached eggs, caramelised figs and basil pesto. The moment anyone mentions haloumi, I’m on board!

I found the dish tasty, and loved how the sweetness of the caramelised figs worked with the salty haloumi. The Turkish bread was soft and toasted to perfection.

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Eggs on Hash – $17.50

Of course I had to order something with hollandaise, it’s a cheeky accompaniment to any breakfast dish.

Eggs on Hash was so delicious, I loved the crispy hash brown and they didn’t shy away from using many slices of delicious smoked salmon.

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Buttermilk Pancakes – $16.50

No brunch is complete without something a little sweet on the side and of course, I had to get a totally instagramable dish – the Buttermilk Pancakes.

Oh boy, these. These are the pancakes of the gods. So fluffy, so soft and not too sweet. The infused mascarpone was perfect alongside the fluffy goodness. I also loved that there wasn’t an excessive amount of cocoa crunch, it was just right.

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The Brunch Gang!

Hang on a second, what about the coffee. One of the most vital drinks, one that Melburnians have perfected? I hear you asking, don’t worry read on to hear my thoughts on that!

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Of course I had to try the coffee, after all they roast their own beans on the premises. How cool is that! I ordered a small soy cappuccino to take away and it was perfection.

Smooth, creamy and utterly delightful. I highly recommend you adding a coffee to your order.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Espresso Room, Northcote. The food was wonderful, well priced and plentiful. I highly recommend you pop along and try this place for yourself.

Have a browse of their menu http://www.theespressoroom.com.au and check them out on instagram @espressoroomnorthcote.

Thank you for having us guys! We will be back soon!

Let me know of any places you would like me to check out next!

Renee
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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

Lunch at Sault Daylesford

Daylesford is one of my favourite places in Victoria, I love the town that is always bustling but still maintains the small-town charm.

Two weekend’s ago, we returned to Sault Daylesford after dining there nearly two years ago when Chef Santiago Fernandez was in residence.

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Sault is located on the most beautiful properties with Lavender bushes scattered with a path leading to a stunning chapel overlooking the lake.

The restaurant itself, is a charming cottage and as you enter you are welcomed by a delightful fire and seating before you turn to your left and the big windows overlooking the property catch your eye.

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By coincidence we were seated at exactly the same table we sat at previously, which worked for me as I wanted that brilliant natural light for my photos.

I had emailed several days in advance to request seating by the window however didn’t hear back.

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We decided to have the Winter 2018 7 course tasting menu for $110 per person with the optional cheese course which was an additional $10 per person.

Freshly baked bread was swiftly delivered to the table and was served with the most delicious ricotta butter. I think one of my favourite things about eating in a fine dining restaurant is the butter. I never normally eat this at home so love having it as a little treat when out.

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First – Heirloom beetroot, Holy Goat piccolo cheese, basil, Pedro Ximènez glaze

This was a stand out dish that excited me for what was to come. The cheese had a different texture to it but once you cut through it, the delicious creamy Holy Goat piccolo cheese was utterly dreamy.

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Second – Cured Kingfish, finger lime, wild rice, truffle, lemon

The Cured Kingfish was a standout, I loved the generous serving size and the use of the finger lime as the citrus. Those little bursts of tart were heaven. Unfortunately, I could taste the truffle at all.

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Third – Trout, potato crisps, fennel ketchup, nasturtium berry, leaves

The trout was cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth. The crispness of the potato matched the dish perfectly. I found the flavours subtle which was perfect as the trout really was able to shine.

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Fourth – Quail breast, pancetta-wrapped quail leg, sprouts, black barley, quail egg, pickled walnut, quince aioli

I found this dish delicious but very common. Most fine dining places do something similar with quail, and while it’s not the easiest to work with I’d love to have seen a little more creativity. The black barley was a good choice to add some texture to the dish.

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Fifth – 48 day house-aged beef sirloin (served medium rare, peak whiskey mustard, baby onions, beef jus

Another great serving size, the beef melted in my mouth. The beef jus it was served with was flavoursome and the peat whisky mustard was perfect. Sometimes the dish can be simple, and in this instance simplicity was all that was needed.

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Optional Cheese Course – Fromage d’Affinois, caramelised onion and bee pollen ice-cream, Waldorf garnish

I’d be lying if told you I didn’t order this because of the reference to bee pollen. One of my favourite dishes I ever had was at Marque in Surry Hills, Sydney. It was so simple with honeycomb and I thought maybe this would be similar – I don’t know why ha!
This was something else though, I loved the caramelised onion and bee pollen ice-cream, savoury yet sweet and went perfectly with the Fromage d’Affinois.

The Waldorf garnish was cute too – I liked how they did that!

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Sixth – Granny Smith apple sorbet, poached rhubarb

Classic flavours that work perfectly together to cleanse the palette and prepare you for what will undoubtedly be a rich chocolate dessert. The sorbet wasn’t too tart which was great and the rhubarb had a great amount of sweetness to it.

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Seventh – Chocolate, white rum ganache, chocolate coffee crumb, poached pear

This was an extremely decadent dish which unfortunately I couldn’t finish – purely because I’m not a big lover of chocolate desserts (however my Husband loves this!). I really enjoyed the chocolate coffee crumb, a great technique was used here and it tasted great. Peat was a great choice to help break through the sweetness of the chocolate and white rum.

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No petit fours were served which was disappointing however it didn’t put a dampener on the meal.

What I love most about Sault is that you never leave hungry. Serving sizes are generous and I find the menu affordable for such great food.

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After lunch we took a stroll around the property to walk off lunch, it is incredibly relaxing to be surrounded by such beauty and fresh air.

You can find more about Sault, including menus here.

If you are in Daylesford, Sault is where you should dine at. I’d happily go back in a heartbeat, I’m serious – put this on your list of must do’s.

Renee
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Food Photography, Recipes

Chilli Crab with Squid Ink Linguine

I absolutely love seafood and carbs. Hands down, they both rock my world. I was walking through South Melbourne Market and spotted some amazing looking Squid Ink Linguine from The Fresh Pasta Shop.

My mind started ticking, what would be perfect with this dish?

After some serious deliberation with my Husband we decided that chilli crab would go well with it, especially with a little heat from the chilli on these cold Melbourne nights.

We also picked up a yabbie, because I thought it would look good on the plate – I’d never actually tried yabbie.

Ingredients, serves 2

  • 2 serves of Squid Ink Linguine, ours is from The Fresh Pasta Shop at South Melbourne Market
  • 2 long red chilli
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Meat of 2 Blue Swimmer Crabs
  • Grampians Olive Co Chilli Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

  • Dice onion, garlic and chilli separately
  • Bring two pots of salted water to boil
  • Place the crab and yabbie into boiling water, cook the yabbie for 10 minutes and the crab for 15 minutes.
  • Once cooked, place the crab and yabbie into an ice bath to stop the cooking process
  • When the crab has cooled, pick the meat and discard shells
  • Place Squid Ink Linguine in the second pot of water and cook for 7 minutes or until ‘al dente’
  • Heat oil in a pan and saute off onion and garlic.
  • Add chilli and the crab meat to the pan and mix well. Add additional Extra Virgin Olive to create a sauce
  • Once the pasta is ready add to the sauce, zest a lemon and add chopped dill.
  • Add some of the pasta pot liquid to the pan to help emulsify the sauce
  • Plate to create height and use the yabbie to garnish.

What you will create will be sure to wow your guests, we served this dish on a light blue bowl which made the Linguine and the yabbie pop!

Anything else you would recommend for this dish?

Enjoy!

Renee

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Food Photography, Recipes

Fig & Almond Olive Oil Cake

I was searching for recipes where I could utilise the delicious organic extra virgin olive oil we picked up while we were at the Grampians Olive Co a few weeks back.

I stumbled across this recipe online and instantly feel in love, especially since it didn’t call for any added sugar and that the honey was used as sweetener.

You can find a link to the website here.

I also loved how the recipe was fairly simple and that the only real expense is the almond meal (the recipe calls for almond flour).

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Here is what you will need to whip up this gorgeous and delicate cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of Grampians Olive Co Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 8-10 fresh figs, slice

Method

  1. Heat over to 180 degrees
  2. Use olive oil spray to grease the cake pan and line the tray with baking paper
  3. Gently whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, olive oil,eggs and salt
  4. Add your almond meal and baking powder and continue to whisk till all combined
  5. Pour batter into your cake pan and place figs decoratively in tray
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, the top will go a lovely golden colour
  7. Once cool remove from cake pan

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This would be delicious with a thick cream and a drizzle of honey, the perfect dessert on a cold winters day!

Enjoy!

Renee

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Dining, Dining Reviews

Lunch at Aunty Franklee

I ventured to Hawthorn for a delicious lunch at Aunty Franklee 2 weekends ago. I’ve mentioned it a few times, it’s pretty cold here in Melbourne this winter, so I was keen to go and have some delicious food to warm me up.

I should mention there are two Aunty Franklee locations, Melbourne CBD and Hawthorn. Hawthorn is the newest baby of Fiorn. After receiving much acclaim for the Melbourne CBD store, with a write up by my favourite food blogger Not Quite Nigella, Fiorn set out to open a second location.

The restaurant is conveniently located within close proximity to Hawthorn Train Station and the number 75 tram stops right out the front.

Upon opening the door, you are immediately greeted by a light, bright and airy space. White floors, cane furniture and the most gorgeous turquoise coloured feature wall.

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I am in love with how this restaurant has been styled. I felt as though I had been transported to another country. I felt like I was on holidays, some tropical destination.

Gorgeous watercolour paintings are scattered throughout the restaurant, painted by Fiorn and her Husband. There is a spot at the window, where her Husband paints and why wouldn’t you? The space is perfect with the massive glass window.

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Fiorn asked if I would like some tea, while I looked over the menu. Next arrived a beautiful pot of Lemon Grass & Ginger tea. This kept me going through the whole meal.

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Even though I am a foodie, I don’t think I’ve ever had real authentic Malaysian Food. Except the classic Laksa or Satay Chicken. So to try real Malaysian food was quite exciting.

The menu isn’t massive or complicated but does have a great range of items to choose from. To be honest, they all sound so good! I was glad when Fiorn suggested we do small plates of a select few items.

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Silver Whiting with Tumeric Relish $9/$12 and Chicken Skewers $6/$11
The moment I took a bite of the Silver Whiting, I knew I was in for a real treat. Think deliciously crunchy with most of the taste coming from the fish itself.
Full of flavour, it’s served on a bed of daikon radish, which is perfect. I love LOVE the addition of the sea spray as a garnish. It’s fresh with just the right amount of bite.

The Chicken Skewers were very tender, it’s more a dry rub of spices vs the traditional peanut sauce I’m used too. Very delicious!

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Grilled “Bakars” Short Beef Ribs $12/$20 and Nasi Lemak (new to menu)
I was extremely excited for the next 2 dishes. I had seen the beef ribs on the Aunty Franklee Instagram and just knew I had to try them.

The Nasi Lemak is a new item and the coconut rice is coloured with Butterfly Pea Flower, how cool is that!

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The Grilled “Bakars” Short Beef Ribs blew me away! Presented with a subtle satay sauce, full of peanut goodness and pickled purple cabbage which was a perfect pairing to help with the spicy meat. The meat just fell off the bones and was incredibly tender.
It had that perfect charcoal taste too. I’ll have another serve of these please!

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The Nasi Lemak is a new menu item. A traditional dish, I tried a few weeks back. They have used Butterfly Pea Flower to colour the coconut rice. Butterfly Pea Flower not only makes dishes pop but there are actually therapeutic properties associated with it (I wrote about my learning experience with it here).

As Fiorn explained to me, this dish is best eaten when you mix a little of everything all together, so that I did! It’s amazing how there are some really simple ingredients on this plate but the flavours they make when joined together – out of this world!

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Mother Hen Soup $14/$28
Just when I thought my taste buds had peaked, Fiorn brings out this dish. The first sip of broth that I took, I literally died. This soup is AMAZING. I don’t even have words to explain just how good this is.

The recipe is from Fiorn’s grandfather who would make this soup on a Sunday. The soup gets its name from the Mother Hen, which is used to make the broth due to its intense flavour. There are also 5 different types of mushrooms used in this dish.

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What makes this soup a little different is the noodles. They are work fried before being placed into the bowl. This leads to the delicious taste and aroma of smoke from the work plus crunchy noodle pieces. As the noodles soak up the broth, you are left with an intense, delicious flavour sensation.

Thigh is used as the meat, which is perfect as it was just so tender! This is definitely my favourite dish, and also the best soup I have ever had.

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Char Kuey Teow $14
A delicious noodle dish with crunchy pork pieces, fish cake, prawns, Chinese sausage and tofu. Another dish with so much flavour, and very filling. I love the addition of the homemade sambal as it adds that spicy touch to the dish that I’m fond of.

I love the smoky flavour, and the perfect pieces of egg and crunch beansprouts. This would make the perfect dish to share alongside your mains.

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I absolutely enjoyed Aunty Franklee, not only was the food an absolute standout but Fiorn was such a gracious host. I loved how she explained certain elements to me and her passion.

Hopefully we see her in the next few weeks over on Meet the Makers!

I recommend you pop in when possible and try this delicious Malaysian food. Take me with you too if you wish, I wouldn’t decline the invite!

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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What's on Melbourne

My Blue Tea Event – Prahran Market

On Saturday I was invited to attend a private event with My Blue Tea, held at Prahran Market. I was introduced to Lee, the Founder of My Blue Tea and she walked us through the different ways you could use the powders in the kitchen.

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I love supporting small business’s and I thrive when I meet someone so passionate about what they are doing. You can see Lee and the team put so much effort into the afternoon, with a delicious spread of different foods from savoury to sweet prepared for us to enjoy.

img_5882.jpgThank you to my hand model, @georgiavolcano

We started with a sample of the Butterfly Blue Pea Flower Tea. Simply put, the Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers are brewed to get this gorgeous colour.

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We were then shown a very cool trick, where if you add lemon to the tea the water quickly turns from blue to purple. Very cool! Definitely one to show your visitors when they are over for afternoon tea.

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Lee spoke about the therapeutic benefits and how the tea can be used. The use of Butterfly Blue Pea Flower has been used for quite sometime, especially in Ayurveda, Asian and Middle Eastern Medicine due to it being an extremely potent antioxidant.

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You can purchase either a crushed powder or the actual Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers from the My Blue Tea Website ,as well as many other yummy powders such as Pandan, Hibiscus and Kaffir.

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Above is a capture of the very delicious Pandan Green Velvet cupcake, made using Pandan powder. In the background you will see what was a delicious Vegan Pandan Panna Cotta. Pandan can possibly assist with aches and pains – plus it tastes so good. I remember having a cocktail at Ms G’s in Potts Point Sydney, called What’s in your Pandan?

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The Blue Velvet Cupcakes were crowd favourites and I have linked the recipe from the My Blue Tea website here.

I feel anything with cream cheese is a winner, and these cupcakes….I think I will need to make up a batch!

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Also on offer were two ice teas, I didn’t get what was in them – I was too busy drinking them. I am sure though, you could make any infused combination using the Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers.

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I definitely had eaters regret with this stunning cheesecake – I didn’t have any! I was too full from all the other delicious sweets, I had no room left. My Husband, Jordan, did try it though and mentioned he loved it. It was the perfect consistency and shows just what you can do using the Butterfly Blue Pea Flower to naturally colour your foods.

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Chef running through how different dishes were made, especially the yummy vegan desserts.

img_6871A selfie with Lee before I headed home, cupcakes in hand. 

As I mentioned above, I love supporting brands passionate about their why. I absolutely loved meeting Lee, she radiated positivity! This is a great little Australian brand from Port Macquarie, and I’m glad to welcome another friend.

If you are looking for a natural way to colour your smoothies, desserts, salad etc then head over to My Blue Tea and check out the range. Lee also has a bunch of receipts up if you are needing any inspiration!

Instagram: @my.blue.tea
Website: http://www.mybluetea.com.au

Thank you again Lee and Team for having me!

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.

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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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