60 Nicholson St, Abbotsford, VIC. 03 9421 2732
Saturday, 18 May 2013
I thought I would take my Mum to Three Bags Full for Mother’s Day as it is so highly recommended. Well not exactly Mother’s Day, we usually celebrate Mother’s Day on the Saturday of the same weekend so that we are not confined to set menus and booking weeks in advance... Anyway, I was surprised to easily find a place to park my car, just down from the cafe. The cafe looked very busy but we managed to get a place at the elevated communal table. I was a little alarmed at first as I’ve never been a fan of communal tables but actually I found it rather enjoyable. Catching little snippets of people’s conversations was interesting and of course I got to see what other people were ordering... Plus, the tall stools we sat on were really quite comfortable. The cafe has seating out the front and the interior was sectioned into rooms and once you got used to the high noise level, it made for a pleasurable atmosphere. The service was brilliant, especially considering the size of the cafe. We received our menu and everything looked really enticing. Breakfast is served all day which is great. I eventually decided on the Twice baked French toast with crème patissiere, stewed rhubarb, and almonds ($16.50). This was so delicious! Nice to see rhubarb used instead of berries, which seems to be your average cafe’s regular standby. The crunch of the French toast and the almonds complemented the silky texture of the crème patissiere and soft rhubarb. I suggested to my Mum to try the Beetroot cured salmon with pea, feta and corn fritter, avocado, rocket, dill sour cream and lemon ($17.00) as this would definitely have been my second choice. She did and she absolutely loved it! The quality of food here is exceptional. Our lattes ($3.70) arrived and they were so good! Even my Mum who isn’t a huge coffee drinker could have ordered a couple more coffees. I wish I lived closer to this cafe as I would be coming here all the time... Check out their menu at http://www.threebagsfullcafe.com.au/
Friday, 10 May 2013
Now this cafe certainly has had mixed reviews... some people love it while others were not happy at all. So today I thought I would see for myself what Snow Pony is actually like. We found the cafe easily by the obvious white horse on the top of the cafe. The place was packed but we managed to grab some seats down the end of the window counter. We were offered some menus but then the wait began... We had to wait for ages to have our order taken. Though there were a number of waiters, they seemed to be wandering around but achieving very little. This is really bad for me and my dining companions because all that extra time allows me to change my mind as to what I should order... I was thinking of ordering the B.L.A.T. Baguette ($11.90), bacon, baby cos, smashed avocado, truss tomato and mustard aioli but I decided to go with a ‘Snow Pony Classic’ and thus ordered the Toasted banana bread ($14.90). Two large chunks of banana bread sandwiched two slices of fresh banana and maple syrup mascarpone. More of the mascarpone was added on top, then scattered with crushed pistachios and the berry compote. This was well worth the disorganised waiters. The blueberries were so plump and fresh and the very plentiful pistachios really made the dish yummy. My friend went with the ‘Bang Bang’ eggs ($15.90) which were poached on toasted grain bread with spinach, roasted red pepper and tomato, and hazelnut dukkah. Also, very good. As for beverages, judging from our bill, the coffees are $3.50. Our lattes were so delicious! I would come back here just for the coffee, it was that good. Cakes were displayed on the counter and the muffin ($4.00) available today was white chocolate and banana. Overall, very good food and coffee but someone needs to whip those boys into shape...
95 Whitehorse Rd, Deepdene, VIC. 03 9816 8911
Monday, 6 May 2013
A glass conservatory frontage is one of the charms of this quaint eatery in Sassafras. It would make a lovely, romantic place to have a wedding reception and luckily this is a service that they do indeed provide. Perhaps something to remember when I feel that way inclined... Anyway, we were fortunate enough today to gain a table in the corner of the conservatory section. This was definitely the best seat in the house although sitting near the parrot feeder would also be pleasant. I decided to have something from the specials board, the Roast pumpkin gnocchi served with a creamy bacon and sun-dried tomato sauce ($18.90). This was a very satisfying meal. My only suggestion would be that having a pumpkin puree in the sauce disguised the flavour of the pumpkin gnocchi. Omitting the pumpkin from the sauce would help highlight the lovely pumpkin gnocchi. My friend chose the Roast Beef ($18.90) with crispy potatoes, seasonal vegetables, gravy, and their special gourmet chutney on the side. The potatoes, beans, and carrots were delightful with the delicious gravy really lifting the meal. A clean plate suggests that this was also a satisfying meal. The desserts here are $10.90. If I had room for a dessert I would have the Sticky date pudding as it’s no secret that I absolutely adore puddings... perhaps due to my English/Irish roots... Nevertheless, today we felt like a Devonshire Tea ($8.80). Two warm scones with double whipped cream and homemade berry jam. The scones were cooked to perfection and the jam was fantastic. I would have loved more cream though but that’s just me... To go with my Devonshire Tea I ordered some Darjeeling tea ($3.80) which is one of my favourites. I’m glad I chose tea over coffee today as my friend’s latte ($3.80) was quite unpleasant. However, the table service here was faultless and we had a very enjoyable time at Fortums. Check out their website for more information www.fortnums.com.au
395 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, VIC. 03 9755 1200
Sunday, 28 April 2013
It was my grandfather’s 88th birthday and he was after some country pub fare so we were heading out to the St. Andrew’s pub. As it was market day, it was unbelievably busy and therefore we were unable to park our car near the pub. So instead we headed to Hurstbridge. I just happened to have a free meal voucher, thanks to my wonderful Uncle Rob, for the Post Office Cafe in my bag so we decided to go there for lunch. Set in the lovely old post office building, the cafe is very inviting. The back of the cafe unexpectedly opens up to a waterfall! We were going to sit outside but there were a lot of wasps so we sat in the cosy front room. Beautiful fresh roses decorated the tables and the walls were hung with artist’s paintings for you to buy. We had a very long time to marvel at the interior design because we had to wait, and wait, and wait for a menu... We eventually managed to find a menu hidden on another table. No table service here of course and when we went to order at the counter the man could barely bring himself to take our order. My grandmother and I ordered the Smoked salmon focaccia ($14.95) which consisted of smoked salmon, cream cheese, baby spinach, capers, semi-dried tomatoes, and basil pesto. These must have been heated for a long time! Smoked salmon never tastes as good when it has been cooked. This smoked salmon was so dry... A couple of lettuce leaves accompanied our focaccias which was hardly exciting. They could have at least provided a boring side salad for that price. My mother went for the Chicken focaccia ($13.95) which contained sliced chicken breast, tomato pesto, baby spinach, semi-dried tomatoes, avocado spread, and Swiss cheese. Real avocado would have been a better choice than avocado dip... The birthday boy decided on a Pie ($14.95) with chips and salad. This was the best meal of the day. The salad had a curious, fruity dressing that everyone loved. Our lattes ($3.50) were thankfully good, and each came with a yummy choc-chip cookie. This cafe has so much potential to be good but the service needs to be seriously improved...
794 Main Road, Hurstbridge, VIC. 03 9718 2911
Thursday, 25 April 2013
Today I am off to a Japanese restaurant in Ringwood North. Situated on the corner of Dickson Crescent, Tokyo Sake is a warm and inviting restaurant with colourful lanterns adorning the ceiling. We were promptly seated and offered a menu. After ordering, a complementary palate cleanser of cabbage and perhaps an apple sauce arrived. I was a little concerned to find that they only had chopsticks on offer as I have always been completely useless when it comes to mastering them. However, today it was like I was possessed by a Japanese spirit and I was picking up even the hardest of objects with them! For our entree we selected the Gyoza ($8.50), pan fried Japanese style dumplings filled with pork and vegetables. I think I could have eaten at least five plates of these... The other entree we chose was the Tempura ($9.00), two deep fried prawns and three vegetables lightly battered. Also tasty but I really loved the dumplings... For my main I chose the Yaki Soba ($16.00), stir-fried soba noodles with tofu and vegetables including mushrooms and zucchini. It had a pleasant sauce coating the noodles and again I managed to use my chopsticks to consume the entire dish... My friend chose an entree sized Sashimi ($14.00) as part of his main. A selection of fresh raw fish slices served with soya and wasabi. I tried one of my friend’s tofu sashimi but didn’t realise he had added a lot of wasabi to the dipping sauce so after the initial shock, I found the sashimi to be delicious. He also grabbed some California Rolls ($10.00), seaweed rolls with crabmeat, cucumber, fish roe, carrot and mayonnaise with yoghurt and teriyaki sauce. Very yummy and I definitely think I will pick from the sushi menu next time although I would be very happy with a plate of dumplings... Anyway, for dessert we had the Banana Tempura ($8.50). Three pieces of deep-fried banana coated in batter and coconut then topped with syrup. This usually comes with a coconut ice-cream but our choices today were vanilla, mango, and green tea. I chose the green tea ice-cream which was great because the bitterness counteracted the sweetness of the syrup. Really yummy and a nice change from the usual banana fritters at other restaurants. Corkage is $2 per person which is very good. Overall the service was friendly and slightly slow from mains onward but it was a busy night. Tokyo Sake has rekindled my love of Japanese food which I find to be usually more tasty and interesting than Thai food. If only I can remember how to use chopsticks again next time...
174 Warrandyte Rd, Ringwood North, VIC. 03 9876 7999