eating out

Marmalade and Soul (Closed)

Just like I occasionally choose to read books based on the cover, sometimes I visit a restaurant or cafe just because I like the name. That’s how Alastair and I ended up breakfasting at Marmalade and Soul. I thought it had a cute name, and that was reason enough for me. :)

Marmalade and Soul is located in North Fitzroy and I think it’s aptly named. There’s something really sweet about the place.

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Gorski and Jones

I’m a pain in the ass with birthdays.

I keep mine very quiet, but when it comes to someone else’s… I’m that annoying person who goes around telling EVERYONE that someone’s birthday is coming up (tick), or who’ll bake a cake and make everyone sing happy birthday (tick), or even decorate someone’s desk with a massive Happy Birthday banner and balloons (tick).

Bro’s birthday was earlier this month, and apparently his gf likes birthdays too, because she did so many amazing things to celebrate. He was whisked away on a surprise weekend to Sydney, there was a birthday dinner, a birthday party AND an epic hamburger cake. Talk about spoilt!

On his actual birthday, Bro’s gf booked dinner at Gorski and Jones, on Smith Street in Collingwood. They open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in a rather industrial, funky looking, bare bricked room that is unfortunately (for food photography anyway) rather dark in the evening.

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Sarti: Chapman Hill olive oil

Disclosure: I attended the tasting and dinner at Sarti courtesy of Chapman Hill.

Once upon a time, when I was more naive than I am now, I agreed to accept a bag of fresh olives from a friend.

I had grand aspirations of marinating my own olives. They were going to be great. FOOL. Anyone who has ever dealt with fresh olives will know how much work in involved in preparing them – they need to be soaked in water, changed daily for weeks to leach out the bitterness.

Perhaps, instead of spending weeks babying these stupid olives, I should’ve tried crushing them to extract the oil. Or even better – I should’ve just tossed the olives out, bought myself a bottle of oil, and saved myself the angst.

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Akachochin: set lunch

Ever since our first visit to Akachochin in South Wharf, I’ve been dying to go back. The only thing that prevented a second visit was my rather sad attempts at austerity (which hasn’t been going so well but let’s not dwell on it). But the perfect opportunity came up for a revisit the other weekend when Celeste was in town for a conference. Along with Haz and Gazman, we all headed down to South Wharf for a long overdue catch up with Celeste.

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Heirloom

Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of Heirloom.

I think it’s fair to say that Heirloom has suffered from a confused identity. When they first opened about a year and a half ago, the cuisine was marketed as Japanese-French fusion. Fusion food, fairly or unfairly, seems to have a negative connotation, so to market yourself with that label is a brave (or naive) move.

Well, Heirloom realised that the fusion thing wasn’t really working, and at the beginning of this year they quietly rebranded themselves into a modern Japanese izakaya with a total change to their menu.

Alastair and I were invited along to a bloggers’ dinner last week to try out the food.

Located on Bourke Street on the ground floor of the Citadines Hotel, Heirloom is a vast space with concrete walls, lots of black and clean lines. Due to the hotel, they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast mostly being a more traditional Western style affair. Lunch and dinner are more interesting, showcasing their take on Japanese izakaya food.

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The Commoner: Whiskey Business

What’s better than having a girls’ night out with my Dastardly friend? A girls’ night out with WHISKEY.

Truthfully, I’m not really a whiskey drinker, but as with any booze – I’m a willing learner. Hah.

Every couple of months this year, The Commoner release movie inspired menus. They had Poultrygeist in February, Claws in April, and June’s menu was Whiskey Business – 5 courses matched with whiskey.

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Common Galaxia

Common Galaxia is the latest venture from the folks behind Dead Man Espresso in South Melbourne. They have very recently opened in Seddon and we visited on possibly their first or second week on a Sunday morning. That morning they were very busy and packed right up to the wooden slatted ceiling. So busy that we had to put our names on a waitlist and stand outside in the freezing Melbourne winter because there was no room inside.

This was incredibly unfortunate because it was very cold outside. I was so cold. Look, I just feel the need to tell you again: it was SO COLD.

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Gypsy & Pig

Tucked away in Little Lonsdale Street between Elizabeth and Queen Street is a sweet little Japanese restaurant. I visited this week thanks to a tip off from a reader (Hi Gavin!), dragging along Alastair, Hazzie and Ashley for a spot of dinner. Gypsy and Pig is a small restaurant – about 24 seats or so – and unfortunately when we arrived there weren’t four seats available together. Faced with this, I agreed to us being split into two groups – so Alastair and I had an impromptu date, as did Ashley and Hazzie. :)

As well as being small, the restaurant is modest and understated. There’s a lot of black – the staff are dressed in black, and the walls are painted a matt black, broken up by large timber framed windows. Half of the seating is arranged bar-style in a big square around the open kitchen.

With a name like Gypsy & Pig, it’s no surprise that they specialise in pork dishes – specifically kurobuta, the Japanese name for a breed of pig known as Black Berkshire. Kurobuta is highly prized for its sweet, rich flavour, tenderness and juiciness.

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Livingroom: Wirra Wirra wine dinner

Disclosure: I dined courtesy of Livingroom.

Last week, Livingroom hosted a wine dinner with Wirra Wirra wines.

Wine dinners are great fun. Drinking wine is always fun but I don’t just like them because I get to drink lots of wine (though that is a compelling reason). It’s mostly because I get to try wine that I might not normally drink and get out of my comfort zone.

Livingroom has been open for a few years now and they were awarded their first Chef’s hat last year in the latest Age Good Food Guide. It’s located in a building that used to be three different shops, and inside the split level room the decor is pretty understated except for a few chandeliers – the walls contain a few artworks, the wooden tables are undressed, and large windows look out to the street. It’s owned by a father and daughter team, Alan Markham and Carolyn Liem, and their head chef is Darren Daley.

I was looking forward to my visit for an evening of food matched with Wirra Wirra wines.

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Chicco

Mostly I like being an adult. But sometimes it really sucks. Particularly when you have to spend a weekend running errands and doing boring grown up stuff. When I was younger, being an adult looked so inviting – ALL THE FREEDOMS YAY – but the reality can be a bit tedious.

The other weekend, Alastair and I spent a morning dealing with errands. As a reward for being a grown up and dealing with boring grown up stuff, we wandered down to Chicco for brunch. We arrived at about 11am on a Sunday and as they were doing a bustling trade we were fortunate to snag a seat by the large windows (yay natural light). The cafe has high ceilings, a polished concrete floor, and is decorated with white macrame light fittings. They look a bit weird and kitsch but seem to work with the relaxed vibe of the place.

Breakfast is served until 3pm, and lunch starts at 12pm, so we ordered brunch and a round of coffee to start. Chicco uses Padre coffee, and I enjoyed my long black – it was nice and smooth.

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