north melbourne

Twenty & Six Espresso

Twenty and Six

Do you want to hear something dumb?

I (occasionally and only when Alastair and I are alone) burst into spontaneous jingles narrating whatever I might be doing at the time.

At the supermarket buying snacks? “Buying all the snacks, buying all the snacks, I’m at the supermarket buying all the snacks.”

You get the idea.

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Casa & Bottega: MFWF croquembouche class

Croquembouche

Disclosure: I attended courtesy of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and Casa & Bottega.

Ahh croquembouche.

Apart from being a tall towering thing of beauty, it’s really fun to say.

I’ve always admired them before, but never made one. They just seemed *difficult* but you know what? It was actually much easier than I was expecting. See that bad boy up there? Yeah, I made that.

(Confession. It may have only been easy because I made it at a class at Casa and Bottega and I had guidance at every step.)

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Beatrix

cakes

Occasionally, I find myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice to own a cafe?”

And then I immediately give myself a mental smack. For many varied reasons, this is a Very Bad Idea.

However, in that hypothetical situation – that one where I’m a totally different person and have a different mindset and skills – Beatrix is exactly the kind of cafe I would love to have.

It’s little, and it’s sweet, and there’s cakes, NUMEROUS CAKES. Savoury food is limited and includes a couple of daily ciabatta specials.

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Agraba

Where I grew up, the weather was pretty stable. It was shit, but it was stable. When it rained (and it did often), it rained for days – pelting, horizontal rain. When it was windy (and it almost always was), it was a strong, bitterly cold wind that would turn umbellas inside out in an instant. When it was cold (and yes, it normally was) it would be cold for the whole week.

8 years in Melbourne, and I still think the weather here is insane. Hot sunny days suddenly transform to torrential rain in the space of an hour. One day it’s 30 degrees, the next it’s barely nudging 15. How is one meant to plan for such unsettled weather?? Should I leave the house in sandals, or do I need gumboots? Do I need tights, or will I be sweltering by the end of the day? AAARGH.

Maz, Daz and I caught up recently at Agraba on a Friday night. When I booked a table, I noticed that Agraba had both inside and outside seating. It was a gorgeous day on Friday, and I was tempted to request an outside table. And then I remembered – this is Melbourne.

Lo and behold, by the time I got home from work, the rain had started. Good thing I hadn’t chosen the outside table!

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Gurney Drive (closed)

One evening on our way home from the CBD, Alastair, Bro and I stopped at Gurney Drive for a quick meal. The restaurant, presumably named after Gurney Drive in Penang, Malaysia, sells Penang Malaysian hawker food. It’s decked out with bright walls, framed pictures, and heavy wooden tables and chairs – oh, and lots of photos of the food stuck on the front window!
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Donwoori

I have a theory about Donwoori, a Korean restaurant on Victoria Street, North Melbourne (across the road from the Queen Victoria market). It has almost zero online presence: it’s not in the white pages and it’s not listed on Urbanspoon. (Update: it’s there now! But it wasn’t at the time of posting) The only places that I could find Donwoori mentioned was at blah blog blah, a comment that Erwin left on my Wooga post, and on Foursquare. Details are scant though, and I couldn’t find a phone number anywhere.

So my theory about Donwoori is that it doesn’t actually exist in real life. Sure, I’ve been there and eaten there, but it must’ve been because we crossed a portal into an alternate universe. That is surely the only explanation possible – who has zero online presence nowadays?
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Wooga Korean Restaurant

Is it immature to want to eat at a restaurant merely because of it’s name? If so, count me as immature because I was keen to eat at Wooga for that exact reason! Woooooooga woooooga. (Someone please stop me.)

Wooga is a Korean barbeque restaurant located across the road from the Queen Victoria market, in a string of Korean restaurants. According to The Age, woo means beef, and ga means house in Korean. I went there with mum, dad, Alastair and Bro in December for a low key birthday dinner. When we arrived on a Monday night, they were the busiest out of all the Korean restaurants on the street and even though we had booked we had to wait for about 15 minutes for our table. There’s not much standing space inside, so we loitered outside on the footpath – fortunately it was a lovely, warm evening!

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Assorted eats

I know that I’m not the only food blogger who struggles with this. Basically, I eat more than I blog, which means I have a rather large amount of photos accumulated. In order to get through some of them, I’m going to cram several places into a couple of posts. After that maybe I’ll tackle the photos of food I’ve cooked but haven’t blogged?

Dead Man Espresso
Libertine – Suckling Pig Banquet
Auction Rooms
St Ali vs Vitasoy

Dead Man Espresso

Dead Man Espresso

We went to Dead Man Espresso with Maria and Daz a couple of months ago. They had a very short food menu on the weekend (I’m not sure if it’s different during the week) which was a shame. I suppose the focus is on the coffee? I thought my coffee was okay, but others weren’t that impressed with their coffees.
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Cafe Plum 6 (closed) & Penguins!

King Penguins

Last weekend the Boys and I went to see the Penguins! at the Melbourne Aquarium. We got up early and had brunch in the city before heading there.

Brunch was extremely forgettable, so I think I’ll tell you about a couple of past visits to our favourite cafe instead!

A wee while ago, Bro and I had a Saturday brunch with the other KKC members, while Alastair spent the day working.

Cafe Plum

Bro and I both had something that was on the specials board – baked eggs with pepperonata, feta and tomato sauce served with grilled pide ($15.50). It was great! The yolks were still gooey, perfect for dipping the pide in, and the pepperonata was sweetish and slightly tangy.

Cafe Plum

On a different occasion, we went back to Plum for brunch on my birthday. The Boys both had a special – Grecian omelette with roasted tomato, feta and sourdough toast ($14.50). Franco drizzled some chilli oil on top – yummo!

Cafe Plum

The French toast with bacon and maple syrup was amazing, as per usual. It was such a nice way to start my birthday.

King Penguins

Back to the penguins at the Melbourne Aquarium. The Melbourne Aquarium recently completed renovations and opened the Antarctica exhibit, showcasing Gentoo and King Penguins. The ones in my photos are the larger King penguins.

King Penguins

The new penguin enclosure is great. The best part was the wall where you could see the penguins in the water – they swam and darted around, showing off their agility and gracefulness. Penguins are cool!

Read about previous visits to Cafe Plum here.

Cafe Plum
193 Flemington Rd, North Melbourne 3051
Ph: (03) 9329 8867

A series of brunches: Auction Rooms, Orange and Café Plum (closed)

Auction Rooms
103-107 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Phone: 9326 7749

Auction Rooms Auction Rooms

Claire highly recommended Auction Rooms, so a couple of weekends ago we went there for brunch. It’s a large, impressive space, all wooden beams, eclecticness and hipsters, and was very busy and bustling when we arrived.

Auction Rooms

After a look at the brief menu, I decided on the chorizo open sanga – a panfried chorizo with roasted red capsicum, mushroom paste and apple sauce on toasted sourdough with rocket salad ($13). I would’ve liked to have had a spicier chorizo, but I was happy with my brunch. The apple chunks were interesting – at first I couldn’t figure out what they were. I thought they may have been pineapple due to the sweetness and appearance, but they also tasted very gingery.

Auction Rooms

Bro had the beans with bacon – Italian slow cooked baked beans, sage, basil, and rosemary infused olive oil served with sourdough toast ($11 without bacon, $13.50 with bacon).

Auction Rooms

And Alastair had the opening bid – poached eggs, roasted cherry tomatoes, bacon and spinach on sourdough toast ($15).

Auction Rooms

Coffees were very, very good. I don’t have sugar in mine, but nevertheless I adored the little soup cans on the table that the sugar sat in. Bro was a bit grossed out at them (the cans did look a little rusty around the top…) but they were very, very cute and totally fit the aesthetic of the place.

Orange
124-126 Chapel St, Windsor
Phone: 9529 1644

A few weekends ago, Alastair and I made an unusual trip south of the river to have brunch with a friend in Windsor. We do tend to stick to our part of town – not because we’re north of the river snobs – the truth is that we’re just lazy!

Orange

My short mac came with a little jug of extra milk. How cute!

Orange

Whenever I see items on a brunch menu that’s a bit different to eggs on toast, I tend to gravitate towards them. Which is how I ended up with a grilled kipper with horseradish butter, with a poached egg on sour dough toast ($15). It was a touch salty, and I thought it was a bit expensive, but apart from that I was pleased with it. The watercress was lemony and great with the kipper.

Orange

Alastair had the omelette with corn, coriander, chilli, and guacamole ($13.50). I’m sure he didn’t care, but I was pleased to see that it was a proper omelette (I don’t like open faced omelettes and don’t consider them worthy of stomach space).

Cafe Plum
193 Flemington Rd, North Melbourne 3051
Ph: (03) 9329 8867

And of course, it wouldn’t be a good brunch post without a couple of brunches at our favourite café!

Cafe Plum

During a visit several weeks ago, there was a new item on the specials board – black sticky rice with caramelised banana, surrounded by a pool of coconut milk. Alastair ordered this for brunch, and a damn good choice it was! Sweet and fragrant with chewy glutinous texture, it’s not the kind of thing that I would ever think to have for brunch, but it was delicious.

Cafe Plum

I had a roti wrap filled with scrambled eggs, potatoes and bacon. Yuuuummm… the roti was crispy and jam packed with filling.

Cafe Plum

And Bro had a HUGE serve of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and a bit of chilli oil/sauce on top.

Cafe Plum

On a different occasion, we arrived at Cafe Plum a bit later than usual, so we all ordered lunch. Bro had herby chicken meat balls with linguine ($16.50).

IMG_20302

And Alastair and I had shepherd’s pie with a rocket salad ($15.90). Underneath the creamy mashed potato were chunks of tender meat and vege in a tasty sauce. The rocket was good too – just the right amount of peppery bitterness.

Previous visits to Cafe Plum can be found here.