Madame Brussels

Madame Brussels - Sandwiches and sausage rolls.

Madame Brussels – Sandwiches and sausage rolls.

Usually when winter hits I automatically morph into a hermit in response to the icy cold weather outside. Ideally I like to stay indoors with the heater blasting, tucked in a warm blanket with lots of yummy food sitting on the coffee table within arms reach from the couch. But it was my friends birthday so I manned up, emerged from my warm shell and went out into the coldness for afternoon drinks. Upon my arrival at Madame Brussels I was given a cosy blanket from my friend, similar to the one I had just been in at home (had she read my mind?).

I was thankful but confused. I know that some people use their jacket as a blanket to cover their legs or some people put their hoodie on and pull the jumper up to cover their mouth like a ninja to feel like they’re in a blanket, and more obviously some people wear blankets ponchos, which is basically a big blanket with arm-holes in it (I know I wear my poncho/blankie out all the time).  But this was different, my friends just straight out brought their blankets to the bar. I hadn’t been out for a while and wondered if it was suddenly socially acceptable to bring your actual blanket from home out to bars. And if this was the case hey, I was all for it. My friends soon explained that the bar provided the blankies (awesome and less akward). With the heater blazing above me and wrapped up in a blanket, I immediately felt right at home.

Blankie

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Third floor up we walk inside and the floor is covered in astroturf AKA fake grass and there is a curvy tiled pathway down the center of the room that leads you to the bar. The white outdoor tea settings scattered around the room made it feel like an enchanted tea party. The inside décor looks like your outside (this can become confusing especially after a few too many drinks). The real outside was the spectacular outdoor terrace overlooking our beautiful city of Melbourne.

Madame Brussels - The Outdoor Terrace

Madame Brussels – The Outdoor Terrace

The choices of drinks were mouth-watering, they had Jugs of Pimms with fruit and cucumber (my fave), Ameretto sour, Sangria etc. yum yum yum! We had these delightful little toasted sandwiches (no crusts) with poached chicken, chives and mayo. They were delicious! They had teeny bits of lemon rind in the sandwiches so each time you took a bite there was a hint of lemon. So refreshing! A sandwich refreshing?, who would have thought. Delicious! We also had Mother of Pearl’s homemade sausage rolls dunked in “dead ‘orse”. Dead ‘orse, tomato sauce, same same. Tasty! A table near us had the scones and the fondue, we viewed them from a distance and ate them with our eyes from a table close by.  They certainly looked delicious.  The tea was served in silver teapots with adorable knitted tea cosies aside mismatched vintage teacups.  Aww so cute even the teapots had a blankie. Before we left we couldn’t restrain from trying the lemon sponge cupcakes with hot pink icing displayed at the bar.. they were average but they looked pretty and had hidden raspberries inside yay.

Madame Brussels - Lemon sponge cupcakes with hot pink icing.

Madame Brussels – Lemon sponge cupcakes with hot pink icing.

I had a blast on a winter afternoon but I heard it’s even better in the summer. It gets really busy so you need to go early to score a good seat and apparently the nights on the weekend get super packed so go early to avoid sad-faces.

I heart Madame Brussels!

Olives x

Madame Brussels 
Address: Level 3, 59-63 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Website: http://www.madamebrussels.com
Phone: 03 9662 2775
Trading Hours: Monday-Sunday (Everyday) 12pm (noon)-1am

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Wonderbao

Wonderbao

Wonderbao – da pork bao and custard bao.

Wonderbao is a little specialty store that make a range of tasty steamed buns daily. In Chinese, Bao means bun. The traditional name for these delicious steamed buns is ‘Baozi’ but I guess Wonderbaozi doesn’t have the same ring to it.

They have gigantic yum cha steamers filled with steaming hot baos with delicious fillings. There is a bao to suit everyone, silky tofu, pork belly, chicken, shitake mushroom and vegetarian. And if you need something sweet after your meal they’ve got that covered too with some dessert bao options like custard and taro.

Wonderbao

Wonderbao – Delicious baos waiting to be eaten.

I had heard only good things about this place for a long time so on my lunch break I went to go find it. It’s one of those Melbourne eats that are hidden in a secret alleyway. You can either go through the ground floor of a random building off A’beckett street or enter through the alley. It’s worth finding because the baos are absolutely amazing.  You could say they’re Amaze baos!

I chose da pork bao (good choice me). The bun was soft and fluffy and not too thick, it encased a combination of pork, chinese sausage, shitake mushroom and boiled egg? OMG yumm! It was delicious, actually it was more than delicious! I couldn’t think about anything else than about how delicious it was for a few minutes. I immediately etched Wonderbao into my mental notes as the number one best place to eat baos.

They also serve organic soya milk which is served hot or cold. Soy milk is a drink best served cold. Or hot, they’re both equally as good. I prefer a hot soya milk on a cold winter’s day. Mmm.

The wonderfully magical balance of flavor in the bao got me thinking of Alice in Wonderland but in this rendition Alice is in Wonderbao. The organic soy milk would be the magic potion that says ‘drink me’ that would make her shrink, then the sweet custard bao would be the cake on the table that says ‘eat me’ that makes her grow, something like this.

Alice in Wonderbao

Alice in Wonderbao

During the lunch rush on a weekday there is usually a long line out the door. RMIT is just around the corner and students have the street smarts of knowing where to eat delicious food on the cheap. Wonderbao is so cheap that when I order my usual (da pork bun and a custard bun) it costs less than five dollars. That is deliciously good value.

I heart Wonderbao!

Olives x

Wonderbao
Address: Shop 4/19-37 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne
Website: http://www.wonderbaokitchen.com.au
Phone: 03 9654 7887
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm, Not open Sunday

Wonderbao on Urbanspoon

Go nuts for cronuts!

Dossants/Cronuts

Dossants from Movida Bakery, inspired by the ‘cronut’.

What is a cronut? A cronut is a combination of a croissant and a donut. The name sounds silly but seems appropriate. When I hear that two of my favourite pastries are making a super pastry baby, naturally I want to meet it. The original trademarked ‘cronut’ is made in New York at Dominique Ansel Bakery but it can be identified under the alias of dossant or zonut in Australia.

So I was told that the only place to get this alleged cronut in Melbourne is at Movida Bakery in South Yarra so off I went. We got to the bakery and there was a selection of sweet and savory pastries, fresh breads and some delicious deli sandwiches yumm! But then I remembered that we came here on a specific mission to get cronuts, and by cronuts I mean dossants (wink wink).

Movida Bakery

Movida Bakery

We walked into the cute little bakery and ordered two dossants. I literally got the last two dossants. For me the last two? I should be so lucky. I hold on to them with dear life and walk out of there with a great big smile from ear to ear. I could not contain my excitement. I had no doubt in my mind that these dossants were going to be the most scrumptious little pastries to date. Admittedly they didn’t look fabulous but that didn’t worry me, in my mind they would be deliciously ugly and that was fine.

I also bought a cocoa meringue that sort of resembled a meteor, which reminded me of that asteroid game where you shoot the asteroids and they break into particles and then you have to obliterate the particles into space dust in order to save the world (well maybe not the world but definitely to save you and your spaceship). I made my own re-make of the Atari game starring my Movida Meteoringue. Same game but yummier!

Meteoringue

Objective: Destroy the Meteoringue

People in NY are going nuts for cronuts and are waiting in line for over two hours to buy the new pastry. People are buying cronuts in NY for $5 dollars, which is a reasonable price, but people are then selling them for more than six times that amount on what everyone keeps referring to as the black market. (I’ll take one heart, two kidneys and ooooh is that a cronut?) Not the real black market but word on the street is that cronuts are being sold at an inflated price to the people who cbf’d waiting in line. Seems you CAN buy patience.

So back to the dossant, I held it in my hand, paused, then took the first well-anticipated bite. I couldn’t believe my tastebuds, I sat there in disbelief and had to do a retake. I took another regretful bite and put it down. My excitement had plummeted. My first thought was ‘meh nothing special’, my second thought was ‘how could a croissant and a donut make such an ugly baby?’ and my first words were ‘do you want the rest of mine?’. I was suffering from severe devastation.

Before and After

Before: Going nuts for cronuts                         After: Severely Devastated

Granted the ones I tried are not the original trademarked cronuts but they are the only ones in Melbourne at the moment. Adriano Zumbo makes the ‘Zonut’ which is similar but his store is in Sydney.

I would like to try the original ‘Cronut’ but the guy who invented them seems a little possessive. Ansel has trademarked the name ‘cronuts’ but also tweeted that other bakers are ‘copycats’ and questioned if they would be able to look at him in the eye. Why so serious? He didn’t invent the croissant or donut but was happy to copy those pastries to create his idea. Once I made a dessert bagel with a donut acting as the bagel, and fresh whipped cream replacing the creme cheese. Should I trademark the Dogel?

This whole cronut experience has taught me that sometimes you may wait in line for so long trying to get what everyone else wants but once you get there you realise that cronuts totally suck and the thing you wanted so badly wasn’t what you wanted at all. Find out what matters to you and follow that line instead.

Olives x