Monday, 31 August 2015

Café Vue at Heide

One of my favourite picnic spots in Melbourne is at Heide in Bulleen. My family often used to take me on an expedition around the gardens and thus I’ve been bombarded over the years with Sunday Reed facts by my family... After your picnic, you can stroll around the grounds and discover the bold sculptures or pop into the Heide Museum of Modern Art. On this occasion I neglected to bake something sweet to go with our picnic so we thought we might try the café. Café Vue at Heide is another Shannon Bennett creation which uses fresh produce from Sunday Reed’s original kitchen garden. A glass box creates the indoor eating area but it is lovely sitting under the trees in the outdoor area. If you can’t be bothered making your own picnic, they offer a hamper for two for $70 but you need to provide 24 hours notice. There are also museum and cafe packages so check out the museum’s website for more details...

·        Heide Reuben Sandwich ($22.00)
·        Grilled Octopus Saganaki Salad ($22.00)
·        Greenvale Farm Pork Plate ($35.00)
·        Porridge Banana Coconut Macadamia ($14.00)
·        Garden Soup and Burnham Sourdough ($14.00)

I had a sneaky peak at the menu for future reference but it was quite limited and not very tempting except for the Heide Reuben Sandwich. However, I’m never going to order a $22 sandwich...

We decided to share a cake. Some cakes are on view on the counter but the majority are secreted right at the back where you really need binoculars to make a selection. We chose a ‘Pistachio and lemon curd cupcake ($3.50)’ which just also happened to be gluten free. The lemon curd was tangy and the cake was super moist and bright green inside. The additional chunks of pistachio in the cake added a lovely crunch.

My latte ($3.90) was petite and cold but tasted quite nice with fruit and chocolate notes. If I return for afternoon tea, I will try out their Garden Iced Tea ($7.50) or have a pot of Chamellia Organic Tea ($3.50)...

The service was adequate but they lacked knowledge and warmth. Don’t expect any smiles...

Address: Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen VIC

Phone: 03 9852 2346

Trading Hours:
Tues – Fri: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Sat – Sun: 9.00am – 5.00pm

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P.S. Have you tried Shannon Bennett’s Piggery Café in Sherbrooke?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

30 Mill Espresso

When I first thought about 30 Mill in Malvern, I assumed it might be situated at 30 Milton Parade but no... the address is 66 Milton Parade. The café is actually named after a single shot of coffee which is 30 mls. If you catch the train to work from Tooronga Station, then this café is very handy for you to grab your morning coffee. We stopped by this petite eatery for a bite of lunch. Just to let you know... the table next to us ordered some cake and a MASSIVE slice appeared. 30 Mill is not stingy on portion sizes...

·        Blueberry Ricotta Hotcakes with coffee and vanilla whipped mascarpone, pink sugar, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, strawberries and maple syrup ($15.00)
·        30 Mill Steak Sandwich on a Turkish bun with grilled steak, dijon mustard, tomato, cheese, pickled cucumber, rocket and glazed balsamic ($15.00)
·        Roasted Eggplant and Green Tahini Salad with quinoa, radish, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and a sweet paprika dressing ($15.00)
·        Pulled Pork Eggs Benny – slow braised pork shoulder and poached eggs on a white bun with homemade hollandaise and an apple and beetroot relish ($16.00)

I was drawn to the ‘Pumpkin and Chickpea Burger on a white bun with cheese, aioli, red onion jam, tomato and watercress ($13.50)’. The burger was a lovely interpretation of a vegie burger. The chickpeas still had some bite which provided contrasting texture in the spicy patty. The red onion jam enhanced the burger and the flour topped bun was great.


My dining companion picked the ‘Corn and Cauliflower Fritters with avocado and feta smash, red onion jam and poached eggs ($16.00)’. This was also a wonderful vegetarian dish. A generous serving of the avocado and feta smash worked perfectly with the fritters. Cauliflower made a welcome addition to the more common corn fritter. The red onion jam once again added flavour.


My latte ($3.60) made with the 30 Mill House Blend was gorgeous. For all you coffee fans, 30 Mill can also make your magic ($3.60), your piccolo ($3.60), or your cold drip ($4.50)...


The place was very well staffed but I would have loved it if they closed the door so I could take my coat off as it was rather chilly in there... 

Address: 66 Milton Parade, Malvern, VIC

Phone: 03 9804 3653

Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 4.00pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Little Chloe, Mr. Foxx, and Terminus Lane...

Friday, 21 August 2015

A Day in the Yarra Valley - Part 1

This month, I was invited by Yarra Valley Regional Food Group to experience some of the highlights of the spectacular Yarra Valley... Brook from Yarra Ranges Tourism and Orson from Yarra Valley Transfers hosted a group of bloggers for a day of indulging in the culinary delights and wines of the Yarra Valley.

Growing up in Croydon and having a chef for a Dad, I have enjoyed many outings to the Yarra Valley to explore its wonderful wineries and produce. However, I learnt so much from this farmers’ market and produce trip and suggest that you should explore some of the secret treasures of the Yarra Valley as well as the more well-known attractions.

We arrived at The Yarra Valley Gateway Estate where we met Brett Spurling who gave us a tour of the hydroponic greenhouse and told us about his family business and superior produce. They operate a 5000 square metre high tech hydroponic greenhouse which produces around 80 tons of capsicums, 35,000 pots of basil and 7 tons of strawberries every year. The capsicums are grown up very tall strings which you can see from their café. Their zero waste closed loop irrigation system uses substantially less water compared to field crops and is perfect for drought affected environments. Gateway Estate also produces many times the yield of field crops using a fraction of the chemicals, sprays, water and fertilizer due to the irrigation system and their Integrated Pest Management techniques.

After the tour, we had breakfast in their café. We ate egg, bacon and cheese toasted sandwiches that tasted scrumptious! This was due to the quality ingredients and the Sweet Capsicum Relish which you can pick up in their shop. To accompany the sandwich, I had a lovely tasting latte made with local Yarra Coffee.

Next to the cafe is the cellar door where we tasted some of their strawberry port, liqueur and crème. It was absolutely delicious!

Also, their Gourmet Farm Gate Store showcases some of Yarra Valley’s best produce including berries, apples, stone fruit and vegetables. You can also purchase gourmet products from the Yarra Valley Regional Food Group. Stop by here on your way to the wineries and take some of this fantastic produce home so you can cook up a storm in your own kitchen.

Address: 667 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream VIC

Phone: 03 9739 0568

Opening Hours: Everyday 9.00am – 5.30pm

Gateway Estate Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Next, we set off for the Yarra Valley Regional Food Group Farmers’ Market. This popular market is held on the third Sunday of each month in and around The Barn at Yering Station. The first market was held in 1998 and is Victoria’s longest running monthly market. I often visit the market to buy quality, local produce and artisan goodies to use in my own cooking. You can really taste the difference and I prefer to know where my ingredients are sourced. At the market, you can meet the producers and sample products before buying.

I daresay you foodies have seen the meringues from Unforgettable Products when you have been out experiencing Melbourne’s culinary scene. They are perfect for when you need to throw a quick dessert together for an impromptu dinner party. Eton mess, anyone? Well, they also have a range of curds including lemon and passionfruit.

Going gluten-free? Nutritionist Georgina Smith has created g. luxe, a tasty and healthy gluten-free muesli and snack bar range.

Vegans are not forgotten either here at the market. The Surprise Vegan offers a range of very tempting baked goods including cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and doughnuts. As some of you may already know, I’m a big supporter of animal welfare so it was heart-warming to learn about her ‘rescued residents’. Read about the gang on her website.

Ricci’s Bikkies are free from preservatives and additives. My favourite flavour is the Garlic, Parmesan and Olive but the Cinnamon Sugar is ideal for those with a sweet tooth.

It’s hard to walk past Lady Paella and not be enraptured by the aroma and vibrancy of her authentic Spanish paella. They are gluten, dairy and egg free. My favourite part of paella is the seafood but vegetarians can try the Paella Vegetal which contains eggplant, currants, herbs and vegies.

Afterwards, it’s divine lounging on the lawn and feasting on your gastronomic finds whilst soaking up the atmosphere in such gorgeous surrounds.

 Don’t forget to visit the market next month on Sunday 20th September...

Address: The Barn at Yering Station
38 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen VIC

Time: 9.00am – 2.00pm

Instagram: @yarra_valley
Twitter: @yarra_valley

Our means of transport for the day was taken care of by Orson from Yarra Valley Transfers. Yarra Valley Transfers is an accredited bus and tourism operator which provides transport services in and around the Yarra Valley. Yarra Valley Transfers also offers gourmet wine tours as well as a whole range of other services. Having a driver is a great way to immerse yourself in the Yarra Valley’s wine culture without the worry of being over the alcohol limit, which can be a problem with wine tours! Orson is very knowledgeable about the area so give him a call next time you have a special occasion or group function. 

Phone: 1800 146 706

Thanks again to Brook, Yarra Valley Regional Food Group, Yarra Ranges Tourism and Orson from Yarra Valley Transfers for an amazing day.

‘A Day in the Yarra Valley - Part 2’ coming soon...

Friday, 14 August 2015

Baba Sus

Recently I wrote a glowing review of Golden Child near Burwood Station... Well, this time I ventured to the opposite end of that same strip of shops to try Baba Sus. Spoiler alert: It was fabulous too! If you are becoming a bit blasé about ordinary café brunches, then the Asian influenced menu offered by Baba Sus might just be your salvation. Owners Midori Hori and Daniel Liao draw upon their Japanese and Taiwanese childhood to create dishes that arouse your taste buds.

·        Hong Kong Egg Waffles – Vanilla custard, green tea ice-cream, berry compote, pistachio praline ($14.00)
·        Pork Luck – Twice cooked pork belly, apple balsamic, vermicelli and watermelon salad, candied walnuts ($17.00)
·        Fool’s Gold – Avocado salad, chickpea crisps, fetta crumble and poached egg on quinoa bread ($16.00) *gluten-free
·        Not So Florentine – Halloumi, Chinese spinach, tomato ginger relish, poached eggs, hollandaise on toast ($16.00)
·        Mini Ham Cheese Burger with chips ($7.00) *kids menu

I decided to have the ‘Soba Noodles – Tempura king prawn, enoki, pumpkin, tea egg, nori, daikon, soy dipping sauce ($16.50)’. I must say that I adored this dish... The golden tempura batter that coated the prawn, enoki and pumpkin was so light and delicate. Every element of the dish was delightful and together they created a big smack of flavour. I fear that my future lunches elsewhere will pale in comparison...

Soba Noodles

My dining companion chose the ‘Corn and Zucchini Croquettes – House cured salmon, herb aioli, asparagus, frisee, poached egg ($16.50)’. This was also a fantastic dish and was consumed at great speed...

Corn and Zucchini Croquettes

Next time I’m going to try a Vietnamese coffee ($4.20) or an Umeshu ($10.00) which is a Japanese plum wine... When the weather warms up though, I think I might opt for a Hawthorn Pale Ale ($9.00). On this occasion I ordered a latte ($3.60) which was delightful with chocolate notes.


Even though Baba Sus is very popular, we were well looked after. We found that the service was very friendly and professional. 

Address: 15-17 Bardolph Street, Glen Iris, VIC

Phone: (03) 9939 6141

Trading Hours:
Tues – Sun: 7.30am – 4.00pm

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P.S. Other eateries nearby are Golden Child, Fordham's Milk Bar, and Two Seeds...

Sunday, 9 August 2015

High Tea at The Hotel Windsor

Last month I celebrated my thirtieth birthday... Unlike most people who perhaps may dread the thought of turning a whole decade older, I was euphoric as I was very glad to say goodbye to my twenties after spending most of my twenties in chronic pain. This year I have FINALLY become 100% pain free which goes to show that you should never give up hope. I was very fortunate to have the love and support (and humour!) of my wonderful mother and grandparents through this difficult time who helped me through multiple surgeries and frequent visits to the emergency department. Thus, I eagerly look forward to the decade ahead and to make the most of the fantastic opportunities that present themselves.

On my birthday, my Mum treated me to a High Tea at The Hotel Windsor. This was the beginning of a weekend of celebrations with family and friends. The Hotel Windsor has been serving traditional afternoon tea since 1883. On the weekend, a dessert buffet and chocolate fountain is added to the High Tea. We were welcomed by the friendly and super efficient staff and seated at our table. We were poured a glass of French Sparkling wine on arrival. 

We were presented with three tiers of tempting delights. On the lowest tier were the ribbon sandwiches. A choice of three fillings which included ‘Chicken, celery, apple and lemon thyme’, ‘Egg mayonnaise, cornichons, Dijon and dill’ and ‘Smoked salmon, cucumber and caraway cream cheese’.

The top tier contained the savoury items. This included an ‘Éclair of porcini mushroom, mascarpone cheese and winter herbs’ and a ‘Cheddar cheese scone, smoked pork, tarragon and grain mustard’.

On the middle tier were the sweet pastries. This included a ‘Honey and Sesame Pannacotta - Spiced quince, cashew and sesame brittle’, ‘Heart of Gold - Passionfruit cream, mandarin jelly lemon scented olive oil cake, juniper sable’, ‘Snickers Cream Puff - Caramelia mousse, peanut dacquoise salted caramel, milk chocolate, gold’.

Later on in the afternoon tea we were provided with The Hotel Windsor’s Famous Traditional & Sultana Scones. We were provided with bowls of clotted cream, lemon curd and Windsor jam to accompany our scones.

Our tea was habitually replenished throughout the High Tea. I found ‘The Hotel Windsor Afternoon Blend Tea’ was very delicious.

We had a fabulous time and enjoyed some very scrumptious food. I would highly recommend the Hotel Windsor for your next important celebration...

Trying to decide what tea to order...

To find out more about the Hotel Windsor’s Afternoon Tea, check out their website...

Address: 111 Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: 03 9633 6004

Tea Sittings:
Mon - Tues: 12 noon | $69 per person, children aged 3-6 years $25, aged 7-12 years $40
Wed - Frid: 12 noon & 2:30pm | $69 per person, children aged 3-6 years $25, aged 7-12 years $40
Sat - Sun: 12 noon & 3:00pm | $89 per person (includes an indulgent dessert buffet) children aged 3-6 years $30, aged 7-12 years $50

Click to add a blog post for 111 Spring Street Restaurant on Zomato

P.S. Other eateries nearby are Terra Rossa and Chin Chin...

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