Mr. Brightside

Mr. Brightside - Caulfield South.

Mr. Brightside – Caulfield.

Yesterday we celebrated my friends birthday with a big night out. Come morning and by morning I mean afternoon, we were in need of a good feed. Brunch was in order. We decided to go to Mr. Brightside. They had everything you could want for brunch and more. It was a really cute venue, they had bits and pieces around like picnic baskets, hanging plants, cages around the lights and pretty ceramic plates, which gave the place character and made it feel cosy.

Mr. Brightside - Morning coffee.

Mr. Brightside – Morning coffee.

First stop, coffee. Well actually I ordered a fruit juice blend because I was in need of some nutrients and it went down a treat. It was freshly squeezed and delicious. I think I skulled the whole glass in one sip. Yum!

Mr. Brightside - Brightside Big Breakfast - fried eggs, bacon, tomatoes, sausages and hash browns.

Mr. Brightside – Brightside Big Breakfast – fried eggs, bacon, tomatoes, sausages and hash browns.

This was one of those instances where my eyes were too big for my stomach. I ordered the Brightside Big Breakfast, which had eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns and tomatoes with two slices of sourdough bread (which I used to soak up the egg yolk yum!). I wanted to tack on mushrooms and spinach and avocado and smoked salmon and baked beans and basically all the sides. But with great restraint I resisted and thank goodness I did because it was already heaps of food. It was absolutely delicious and exactly as I had envisioned. So yum! I have to make a particular mention about the hash browns. They were incredible. They weren’t really oily (like hash browns usually are) and they were so tasty. They were seasoned with rosemary and they were crispy on the outside and mushy in the middle. Amazing!

Mr. Brightside - Muesli, yoghurt and rhubarb.

Mr. Brightside – Muesli, yoghurt and rhubarb.

A friend ordered muesli and yoghurt w macadamia and rhubarb. The muesli had lots of texture and was packed with macadamias, nice and crunchy. Topped with yoghurt and cooked rhubarb.

Mr. Brightside - Smashed avocado and feta w cherry tomatoes, a poached egg and salmon.

Mr. Brightside – Smashed avocado and feta w cherry tomatoes, a poached egg and salmon.

There was the smashed avocado and feta with cherry tomatoes on whole meal toast with shallot dressing. Delish! My friend added extra proteins, a poached egg and some smoked salmon.

Mr. Brightside - Fluffy Omelette w spinach, mushrooms, tomato and French goats cheese.

Mr. Brightside – Fluffy Omelette w spinach, mushrooms, tomato and French goats cheese.

The omelette was light and fluffy just as an omelette should be. It was filled with mushrooms, tomato, spinach and French goats cheese. It was really tasty.

Mr. Brightside - Eggs florentine - poached eggs w spinach, hollandaise & salmon on an english muffin.

Mr. Brightside – Eggs florentine – poached eggs w spinach, hollandaise & salmon on an english muffin.

And the eggs florentine was divine. It was poached eggs with spinach and hollandaise on an English muffin. My friend added salmon, avo and hashbrowns. The add-ons are great they give you flexibility so everyone can alter the dish to suit them.

Mr. Brightside - Muffins and slices and scones oh my!

Mr. Brightside – Muffins and slices and scones oh my!

They also had a range of sweets to order so you could just pop by for a coffee and cake. They had caramel and vanilla slice, chocolate hedgehog, a range of muffins and scones with jam and cream Yum. I had my eye on the vanilla slice but I was already very full. I decided I would just order it next time since I plan to be back often. Love this place, it was a great place for brunch and they have a variety of menu options that make you want to try everything.

We had about ten people brunching and everyone easily found a menu item that matched exactly what they felt like eating. Loved the flexibility in menu and the staff were friendly and accommodating. We were seated inside but if you want to sit outside they have heavy-duty heaters to shield you from the frosty chills of the winter weather. It was a great brunch with a bunch of great friends (try that one on for a tongue twister).

I heart Mr. Brightside!

Olives x

Mr. Brightside
Address: 189A Booran Road, Caulfield, VIC 3162
Phone: 03 9576 9588
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri: 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun: 7.30am-4pm.



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The Meatball and Wine Bar

Meatball & Wine Bar - Melbourne.

Meatball & Wine Bar – Melbourne.

I’ve always seen the ‘meatballs’ sign on the window out front and was curious if they only sold meatballs. Yep, for most part of the menu there are different types of meatballs and wines. Hence the name. Sounds simple and it is, and that is what makes it remarkable. Meatball and Wine Bar use fresh Australian produce to create delicious meatballs and they are served in an uncomplicated way, which lets the produce shine. I like the idea that there are meatballs on the menu, but there are so many different choices on how you can eat the meatballs. It’s unique and it makes it fun. There is also a great wine selection.

Meatball & Wine Bar - Insides.

Meatball & Wine Bar

I love the décor! Brick walls, oaky furniture and wine bottles and wine boxes everywhere, it sort of felt like you were in a wine cellar. It was awesome! The atmosphere brings sophistication to the restaurant, which makes it much more than just some tasty meatballs.

So firstly you can choose what type of ball you want. They have pork, beef, chicken, fish and veg. Then you choose a sauce. They had Italian tomato, white creamy or pesto salsa verde. And then you can choose something for the balls to sit on. Italian beans, creamy polenta, potato smash, homemade pasta or veg. You can also choose to have sliders instead, which are the balls and sauce of your choice in three mini brioche buns. Yum!

Meatball & Wine Bar - Pork meatballs with homemade pasta and white creamy sauce.

Meatball & Wine Bar – Pork meatballs with homemade pasta and white creamy sauce.

The pork balls were my favourite type, which had fennel, sage and orange. We had them with the homemade pappardelle pasta, which was so thin and light and fresh, it was incredible. It went really well with the creamy sauce. Delicious!

Meatball & Wine Bar - Beef meatball sliders with Italian tomato sauce.

Meatball & Wine Bar – Beef meatball sliders with Italian tomato sauce.

We also had the beef balls in the sliders with the Italian tomato sauce. The three little burgers were delicious. Oh if we got the pork balls in the sliders then it would have been the three little pigs. Oh well. Anyway these were delish! The brioche buns were soft and buttery and the beef was juicy and delicious. Plus there was a secret little pickle in each bun, which I liked. Wait, these were my favourite too. They were adorable and easy to eat.

Meatball & Wine Bar - Chicken meatballs with creamy polenta and pesto salsa verde.

Meatball & Wine Bar – Chicken meatballs with creamy polenta and pesto salsa verde.

We also got the chicken meatballs, which had pistachio, muscatels and parmesan. We had them with the pesto salsa verde on the creamy polenta. The polenta was really creamy as described in its title. That was yum. I liked the pistachio, the nuts made the balls more textural. Hmm I don’t know about that last sentence hehe. And the pesto was tasty.

Meatball & Wine Bar - Whoopie Mac! Chocolate cookie and caramel ice-cream sandwich.

Meatball & Wine Bar – Whoopie Mac! Chocolate cookie and caramel ice-cream sandwich.

For dessert we ordered a whoopee mac. The whoppie mac should be called ginormo! It was a ginormous ice-cream cookie sandwich. It was the size of a burger! It was massive and it was delicious. You get to choose your own flavour combo. They had a variety of cookies and a selection of homemade ice-creams. We chose chocolate cookie and caramel ice-cream, can’t go wrong. It was wonderful!  It was massive, I don’t know if I could eat a whole one myself. The ice-cream was really smooth and creamy and the chocolate cookie wasn’t too sweet so it worked well. Plus also there were little surprise chocolate chips inside. It was yum.

Meatball & Wine Bar - Vanilla bean panna cotta with berry coulis.

Meatball & Wine Bar – Vanilla bean panna cotta with berry coulis.

We also ordered a vanilla bean panna cotta with berry coulis. This was a special on the night and it was good. The panna cotta was really creamy and vannilary which went well with the tart blueberry and blackberry coulis and biscuit crumb. It was really yummy.

They also had charcuterie and cheeses which makes for a great appetizer or if you just wanted to drop by for a quick bite. I really enjoyed this place, it was fun and the food was great. I like that the meatballs were made from Aussie produce. The venue was great and so was the service. It was a great dinner, simple honest food and a fabulous wine selection.

I heart Meatball and Wine Bar!

Olives x

The Meatball & Wine Bar
Address: 135 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9654 7545
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-1am, Sat-Sun: 11am-1am

Meatball & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


The Artful Dodger

The Artful Dodger - Street view.

The Artful Dodger – Street view.

The Artful Dodger is a cool little café opposite Elsternwick station. It’s the perfect place for a Sunday brunch. Artful Dodger is the cunning little criminal boy in the Charles Dickens novel ‘Oliver Twist’. But the only thing criminal about this place is that there are too many delicious things to choose from on the menu. My favourite is the ‘Artful Eggs Benedict’.

The Artful Dodger - Artful Eggs Benedict w maple baked ham & roasted field mushrooms.

The Artful Dodger – Artful Eggs Benedict w maple baked ham & roasted field mushrooms.

The ‘Artful Eggs Benedict’ is two poached eggs with a chive and lemon myrtle hollandaise on a toasted NY bagel. I like it with maple baked ham and a side of roasted field mushrooms. It is absolutely delicious!! The chive and lemon myrtle hollandaise is amazing. It’s a great twist on an old favourite, it’s exciting because it still tastes like a hollandaise but with a different flavour. They used Lemon Myrtle in the hollandaise, which infused a strong lemony flavour, which was clever because I think if they used actual lemon, too much acidity would steal the creaminess. The egg yolks were oozing out as I cut into them, the ham was sweet, the mushrooms were juicy and the bagel was beautifully toasted. All together it was incredible! On a side note, my friend and I decided that ‘Myrtle’ would be a really cute name for a goldfish. Don’t you think? Anyways, if you are having trouble deciding on a meal, the ‘Artful Eggs Benedict’ is a winner.

The Artful Dodger - Corn & zucchini fritters w beetroot vodka cured salmon.

The Artful Dodger – Corn & zucchini fritters w beetroot vodka cured salmon.

I’ve also had the ‘Corn and Zucchini Fritters’ with avocado pomegranate salsa, with Beetroot vodka cured salmon. It’s really tasty. Fritters that I’ve had in the past have generally been bland, but these fritters surprised me. They were packed with flavour and worked well with the avocado pomegranate salsa. The beetroot vodka cured salmon looked fantastic, parts of the salmon were stained with the colouring of the beetroot it was really pretty. The thinly sliced salmon had an interesting flavour and was smooth and creamy.

The Artful Dodger - Miso smoked trout w Grilled zucchini salad, quinoa, preserved lemon & fennel labneh.

The Artful Dodger – Miso smoked trout w Grilled zucchini salad, quinoa, preserved lemon & fennel labneh.

The ‘Grilled Zucchini Salad’ has so many different textures, it’s fun to eat and healthy too. It had grilled zucchini, pistachios, quinoa, pomegranate, green beans and mixed herbs & seeds. It also had preserved lemon and fennel labneh, which brought all the flavours together. Slices of the ‘Miso smoked trout’ were layered on top of the salad, which was delicious on its own or with the salad. This creamy ocean trout was perfectly cooked and melted in your mouth. It was yummy.

The Artful Dodger - Great coffee.

The Artful Dodger – Great coffee.

One word to describe the coffee: Amazing! I had a latte and it was delish! They make good coffee. They also have some muffins and slices available so if you’re not particularly hungry you can also just grab a small snack and a coffee.

Great food and awesome coffee! They have a small indoor area and a nice outdoor seating area, which is covered so the rain can’t get you. And they have friendly staff to help you with the menu options. Again perfect place for brunch.

I heart Artful Dodger!

Olives x

Address: 267 Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick VIC 3185
Phone: 03 9523 5541
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun (Everyday): 7am-5pm

The Artful Dodger on Urbanspoon


Cumulus Inc.

Cumulus Inc.

Cumulus Inc.

I have been hearing about this restaurant for years and went there for the first time last week. Everyone who has been there has said nothing but amazing things and I finally got to experience it for myself. Everything I ate was brilliant! This relatively small space is brought to life by the great energy that fills the room. On one length of the room there is a bar with people seated along it and on the other side there is an open kitchen where the chefs are creating the meals. People were seated on round tables in the middle and along the bar and kitchen. It’s a small cozy space with a lot of style. Our waiter politely introduced us to the menu and was thorough in her menu descriptions, which was great.

Cumulus Inc. - Mmm Oysters.

Cumulus Inc. – Mmm Selection of Oysters.

We got some oysters to start. There was a list of oysters on the menu, written like a mini wine menu. This was new to me because the only options I’m used to choosing with oysters are whether I want ½ a dozen or a dozen. Our waiter explained the different types and they all sounded divine. We tried a range of different oysters from the selection. Previously I thought that oysters were just oysters but each of those oysters had such varying characteristics, different tastes, different sizes, different textures. Wow! I like the small sweet ones over the mature textural ones but they were all really good.

Cumulus Inc. - Baked Chilli Mussels.

Cumulus Inc. – Baked Chilli Mussels.

Next up, baked chilli mussels. The mussels were individually presented with a tomato based chilli sauce that had a decent kick to it. It was then sprinkled with Parmesan breadcrumbs on top with a spot of aioli to put out the fire. They were delish!

Cumulus Inc. - Foie Gras Parfait w Toasted Brioche.

Cumulus Inc. – Foie Gras Parfait w Toasted Brioche.

The thickly sliced triangles of brioche were very light and buttery and had a nice crunch to it, divine just on its own. The foie gras parfait was decadent and perfectly smooth, a great pairing for the toasty brioche. It’s delicious in a small dose so you appreciate it. We had three people and ate too much each. I found that if you get greedy and eat too much of the fois gras parfait it starts to leave an oily feeling on the roof of your mouth (that layer of grease feeling you get when you eat a cold sausage roll). Lesson learnt, don’t be greedy.


Cumulus Inc. - Flounder w lentils, bacon and radicchio.

Cumulus Inc. – Flounder w lentils, bacon and radicchio.

We ordered the special on the night, which was Flounder with lentils, bacon and radicchio. It was truly delicious! It was the perfect meal for a cold winters night (well cold autumn night). It was comforting and delicious. It was like a lamb casserole but the fish version, layers and layers of complex flavours served in a humble way. It was moreish and full of amazing flavours that worked perfectly. The salty bacon, the bitter riddichio, the creamy lentils and perfectly cooked flounder made it a stand out dish.

Cumulus Inc. - Cracked wheat and freekeh salad, preserved lemon, barberries.

Cumulus Inc. – Cracked wheat and freekeh salad, preserved lemon, barberries.

We had trouble deciding on which salad to get because they all sounded good but we shortlisted them down to two salads. We were tossing up between the two options but our waiter informed us that we could get a half serve of one salad and a half serve of the other salad. This was grand, we got the best of both worlds. Yay! I was very excited about this. It was so accommodating. It was a great solution. We decided on the half serve of Cracked wheat and freekeh salad, preserved lemon, barberries, which was so delicious, it was a flavour sensation, there was so much going on, lots of textures and lots of flavours, but it all worked really well. The dollops of yoghurt really brought it all together.

Cumulus Inc. - Roasted pumpkin, pomegranate molasses, shanklish & toasted seeds.

Cumulus Inc. – Roasted pumpkin, pomegranate molasses, shanklish & toasted seeds.

For the other half serve we ordered the roasted pumpkin, pomegranate molasses, shanklish (middle eastern cheese) & toasted seeds. It was so sweet. It was literally big chunks of roasted pumpkin with all the ingredients sprinkled on top. It was so sweet and really delicious! I loved how the pumpkin was the star and the other ingredients changed it into an interesting and complex flavour combo.

Cumulus Inc. - Chocolate Mess, milk & cocoa nib cream.

Cumulus Inc. – Chocolate Mess, milk & cocoa nib cream.

For dessert we ordered the chocolate mess , which was a chocolate bonanza. Chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie, chocolate bits, chocolate everything! The ice-cream on top tasted a bit sour like a yogurt, which was good because the tartness offset all the rich chocolate tones. Very clever.

Cumulus Inc. - Madeleines filled with lemon curd.

Cumulus Inc. – Madeleines filled with lemon curd.

On the menu the madeleines say that they take 15 minutes, which I think is because they are made to order. Yum fresh! They looked beautiful sitting upon little beds of lemon curd. The delicate shell-shaped cakes were golden and crispy around the edges and a were soft and buttery in the middle with lemon curd centres. Delicious! These are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea to finish a wonderful meal.

The food was really delicious, and most of all, our experience was fantastic and memorable. There was a good flow of meals (a nice brief break between meals) and the service was great. I was especially excited about the oyster knowledge imparted. I was impressed with the presentation of the food and even more impressed once I tasted the food. It was all very exciting. Will definitely be back. Although sad the flounder is not permanently on the menu.  Loved it!

I heart Cumulus Inc.!

Olives x

Address: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9650 1445
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri: 7am-11pm Sat-Sun: 8am-11pm


Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Patee Thai

Patee Thai - Massaman curry, coconut rice & roti w satay sauce.

Patee Thai – Massaman curry, coconut rice & roti w satay sauce.

I remember the first time I went to Patee Thai. My friend and I stumbled upon the Brunswick street store and were taken to a world of Thai culture that we were not then familiar with. Years later, after multiple visits to Thailand, I realised why this particular restaurant stood out. It was authentic and gave us a peek into Thailand’s beautiful culture by exhibiting humble food made with care which was affordably priced. After the great success of the Fitzroy restaurant, one was also opened on Chapel street in Prahran. It has the same vibe as the first venue and the same awesome food, the only difference for me is that it’s a little closer to home (same same, but different). This is one of my favourite Thai restaurants and everything I’ve tried on the menu is mouth-wateringly delicious (literally salivating as I write this).

Patee Thai - Floor seated area.

Patee Thai – Floor Seated Area.

You can choose to be seated at a table with boring chairs or you can get right in, take your shoes off and sit on the floor. If you choose the floor option, there are cute cushions to sit on with triangular backrests to ensure a comfy stay. The only issue is that if you are like my bf (taller than the average bear) you may need to sit opposite a shorter person like me so you can stretch your legs out. Also, it’s probably not a good idea to wear your favourite shoes because you don’t want to spend your night entertaining the idea that someone might accidentally leave with them (negative thoughts clouding your subconscious can ruin your meal).

Patee Thai - Roti and Satay Sauce.

Patee Thai – Roti and Satay Sauce.

If you’re wondering what to order for the entrée you can always go the easy route and get the ‘mixed entrée’ where you get to try a variety of entrees. I adore the little ‘veg green curry puffs’ the pastry is really light and the filling is really tasty. Great starter. My friends think the vegetarian spring rolls are pretty awesome. The ‘garlic chive dumpling’ is yum, it’s sort of like a glutinous pancake with garlic chives served with a dark soy chili sauce. Yumm! And the satay skewers are good, partly because the satay sauce is amazing. The satay sauce goes with everything, with the skewers, with roti, with plain rice or even just by itself sluurrp. The roti is soft and subtly oily (which is part of its charm). It tastes even more delicious when eaten with copious amounts of the satay sauce.

Patee Thai - Thai green curry w chicken.

Patee Thai – Thai green curry w chicken.

Patee Thai make a good curry. The ‘chicken green curry’ and ‘lamb massaman’ are my favourites. The green curry has an incredible balance of flavour and is the perfect consistency not too thick, not too runny, it’s just right. The massaman is thick and moreish. It has an intense depth of flavour. The authentic flavours take you straight to Thailand with each mouthful.

The coconut rice is exactly the way I like it. It’s similar to plain steamed rice, just a little stickier with a sweet subtle taste of coconut. It taste delicious in its own right and it doesn’t take the spotlight off the main dishes. I always have to eat some just by itself om-nom-nom. It’s not milky or gooey like some coconut rice. It is a brilliant accompaniment to the flavoursome curries.

Patee Thai - Pad Thai Noodles w prawn.

Patee Thai – Pad Thai Noodles w Prawn.

Patee Thai’s ‘pad thai noodles’ are the best and jam packed with flavour. I get the prawn pad thai noodles which have a few big juicy prawns, firm tofu pieces and crunchy peanuts with a squeeze of lemon to balance the flavours. It is absolutely delicious and completely authentic (except for when I get some cheeky broccoli added).  Can’t go wrong with this dish, it’s remarkable every time.

Some of the other yummy menu options are the ‘grilled marinated chicken’ with turmeric, coriander and peanuts. It’s like bbq chicken pieces with the skin on. It has a delicious smoky barbequed flame-grilled flavour. The ‘fish fillet with kaffir lime leaf sauce’ is boneless lightly battered fish fillet bites drizzled with a sticky palm sugar sauce. The mango chicken is always a crowd pleaser. It’s battered chicken pieces with a sweet mango sauce. The ‘cashew prawns’ are big and juicy with a kick of chilli, served on a sizzling plate and the fried rice is a tasty accompaniment to any of the dishes. Patee Thai is one of those restaurants where everything on the menu is delicious.

If you’re a fan of the green leafies, the fresh ‘Asian greens with garlic and oyster sauce’ will be a hit. It’s fresh and full of flavour. It’s a good dish to share as a side or if you want to make this dish more substantial, ask them to add a protein like chicken or tofu.

My favourite dessert is the ‘Thai baked custard tart.’ The pastry is buttery and melts in your mouth and the custard is not too sweet. The Thai custard has a roasted coconut and palm sugar flavour, which is interesting and delectable.  I appreciate the unpretentious plating, a simple slice of tart served with a scoop of ice-cream. Just like you’d serve it at home. And then sometimes you get a yummy after dinner chocolate mint with your bill.

I recommend to eat-in or pick up your take-away order especially on a busy Saturday night, because in the past I have had a few unhappy delivery moments. But the food has never disappointed. It always hits the mark. The food is reliable and always tastes the same. Delicious!

The theme of the restaurant is traditional Thai, which is represented through not only the food but also the décor and the staff’s attire. I totally dig their gold puffy pants. The dim lights provide a calming atmosphere and when that is coupled with a full tummy it can make you feel very sleepy zzzzz. Patee Thai comprises the essence of what Thailand is to me. Good food, polite people and a calm atmosphere.

I heart Patee Thai!

Olives x

Addres: 135 Chapel street, Prahran
Phone: 03 9510 3060
Trading Hours: Monday-Sunday(Everyday)-6pm-10.30pm

Patee Thai on Urbanspoon

Melbourne Chinese New Year 2014

Melbourne Chinese New Year 2014 - Chinatown.

Melbourne Chinese New Year 2014 – Chinatown.

So today we ventured out into Melbourne’s 40 degree heat to celebrate Chinese New Year in the city. First stop Chinatown. They had the big dragon and the lion dances. I like when the lion jumps up and eats the lettuce, aww it’s so cute. Lettuce is hung above the doors of the restaurants with a red packet of money. The lion eats the lettuce and red packet. And just for the record, if there was a red packet of money in my lettuce I would definitely eat more of it. The lion jumps up and eats the lettuce and scatters leaves around to symbolize a fresh start for the new year and to spread good luck.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Lion dance.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Lion dance.

The great thing about celebrating the Lunar New Year is that it is tradition to celebrate with delicious food. There were lots of street food stalls setup around the area. There was a variety of skewers available, chicken satay, bbq pork, marinated squid, corn on the cob. Skewers are good because they are a one handed meal. You can eat them on the go. They allow you to continue browsing stalls without difficulty.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Chinese skewers.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Variety of skewers.

No celebration is complete without beer battered potato twists dusted with a generous amount of chicken salt. Yum.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Potato Twists

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Mr Potato – Beer battered potato twists.

They had square chunks of rice noodle fried with an egg, topped with spring onions with a sweet soy sauce which was delicious. It looked like tofu but it was actually rice noodle. Which was strange for me because I’m used to noodles looking long and stringy but I liked the change. I dig it. It’s hip for noodles to be square.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Chinese street food.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Chinese street food – Square rice noodle.

Then for something sweet they had these little mini pancakes (bigger than dutch pancakes but smaller than pikelets) filled with red bean, chocolate or cream. It tastes like something from breadtop. I paired that with sugercane juice which had a squeeze of cumquat juice. It was refreshing but it was particularly sweet, which I should have known, it being sugarcane and all.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Sugarcane juice & Redbean pancake sandwich.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Sugarcane juice & Redbean pancake sandwich.

Second stop. Crown Casino. At Crown they had CNY stalls setup outside along the yarra river with a big stage with CNY events held throughout the day.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Crown Casino - Year of the Horse

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Crown Casino – Year of the Horse.

We went inside Crown for refuge from the heat. In the food court they had a Hutong Dumpling Bar store. What? My favourite dumplings were available right there in the foodcourt? I was convinced it was a mirage. After all we had been in the heat for an extensive period of time so this idea was totally feasible. To my delight it was no figment of my imagination, there was definitely a Hutong Dumpling Bar standing in front of me in the food court at Crown. The Xiao Long Bao (Soup dumplings) from Hutong are my favourite dumplings ever. I was confused at first and thought the idea of having the dumplings served in a food court seemed to devalue their worth. But after much research (eating them and then eating them again) I realized the dumplings were just as good as at the restaurants only they were more accessible. So Yummy!

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Hutong Dumpling Bar - Xiao Long Bao.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Hutong Dumpling Bar – Xiao Long Bao.

Today was filled with great food, friends and fun. Wishing you all Good Luck for the year ahead.

I heart Chinese New Year!

Olives x


+39 Pizzeria

+39 Pizzeria - Melbourne.

+39 Pizzeria – Melbourne.

The name +39 is the country code used to make an international phone call to Italy. It works. It definitely has a better ring to it than +61 (the country code for Australia). The idea behind the country code is that the restaurant is like a ‘direct line to Italy’. I love the idea! This restaurant is definitely a direct line to the simplicity of food produced in Italy and the high quality produce.

+39 Pizzeria.

+39 Pizzeria – Friends and Food.

The place has a nice open layout and a casual vibe. A good place to catch up with friends for some quality pizza.The counter looks like a delicatessen with the glass cabinet of fine cheeses and cured meats. There were about ten 5kg super-sized jars of Nutella sitting in a row on the shelf. Their blatant obsession with Nutella made me feel right at home.

+39 Pizzeria - Front counter.

+39 Pizzeria – Front counter – Fine cheese and cured meats.

Their pizza crust is thin, crispy and delicious. I got the ‘diavola’, which has Italian tomato salsa, Fior Di Latte (mozzarella), hot salame (not a typo, salame is the plural of salami, facinating I know) & black olives. Yum, it was delicious! I suggest choosing a basic pizza with not too many toppings because the base is quite thin and can be a little floppy in the middle. Unless you have mastered the art of the floppy pizza, your toppings will slide right off and you’ll be left with a naked base…and not to mention a sad face. The margarita was a hit.

+39 Pizzeria - Diavola.

+39 Pizzeria – Diavola – Salami and black olives.

My friend got the Caponata Di Pane, which was a Neapolitan style bread salad with borlotti beans, rocket, marinated eggplant, cherry tomatoes, onions & parmesan. Thinly shaved parmesan on top is always a winner.

+39 Pizzeria - Caponata Di Pane.

+39 Pizzeria – Caponata Di Pane – Neapolitan style bread salad.

Another friend had the Lasagna – Italian style lasagne with Wagyu Bolognese, béchamel, Fior Di Latte & Parmesan. Yum!

+39 Pizzeria - Lasagne Di Wagyu.

+39 Pizzeria – Lasagne Di Wagyu.

Another friend had linguini with Crystal Bay prawns, cherry tomatoes, chilli, garlic & E.V.O oil. I was like O.M.G what is E.V.O.? Found out it’s Extra. Virgin. Olive. Ahhh, makes sense.

+39 Pizzeria - Prawn Linguine.

+39 Pizzeria – Prawn Linguine.

Two of my friends birthdays were that week, so we ordered a Nutella pizza to celebrate. We whacked some candles on that pizza and called it a birthday cake. When no one brings a cake, just add candles. Remember to order a dessert that the birthdayee would like and not the one you like. (It’s not your birthday!) Nutella was spread liberally over the thin dough base then topped with fresh strawberries with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. The pizza was okay, but for me, the vanilla ice-cream took the cake. Pun intended. It was creamy, yummy and so vanillary that it almost tasted like lemon cheesecake or something. We ordered an extra scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. So good!

+39 Pizzeria - Nutella Pizza.

+39 Pizzeria – Nutella Pizza.

This place is all about bringing a little part of Italy closer to home so people in Melbourne can experience authentic Italian food the way they do it in Italy.

I heart +39 Pizzeria!

+0L!v3s x hehe

+39 Pizzeria
Address: 362 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9642 0440
Trading Hours: Monday – Sunday 11am – 10pm

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Shizuku - Street view.

Shizuku – Street view.

We had heard the legend of the ramen burger, the tale of a burger with no bun. According to the story, the bun is replaced with golden patties made entirely out of egg noodles. We had seen and eaten them only in our imaginations and we knew in our heart it was our duty, nay, our destiny, to try these ramen burgers for ourselves. Plus it was dinner time so this all worked out swimmingly.

Shizuku - Ramen burger w miso soup.

Shizuku – Ramen burger w miso soup.

The first ramen burger in Melbourne was created at Shizuku, so that’s where we went. There were two options. Both of which are served with a bowl of miso soup (an especially delicious miso btw). I ordered the candied pork belly with plum and prune sauce and kewpie mayo which was amazing.

Shizuku - Ramen burger w candied pork belly.

Shizuku – Ramen burger w candied pork belly.

My brother ordered the veg option, the miso-glazed eggplant with sweet miso jam. Both were yum. The ramen is packed tight to form the patty so you loose the bounciness of the noodle. I imagined the outer part of the ramen patty to be crispier and softer towards the center but the whole patty was the same soft texture throughout. It was still really yummy though and its fun to eat a bowl of noodles in a hand held motion.

Shizuku - Ramen burger w miso glazed eggplant.

Shizuku – Ramen burger w miso glazed eggplant.

We tried the chargrilled rolled pork belly which was absolutely delicious. It looked amazing and tasted even better. The thin slices of pork and julienned cucumber made the dish delicate. It was topped with cha shu sauce (sort of like Chinese char siu) which made the dish stand out with the simple and stunning flavours.

Shizuku - Chargrilled rolled pork belly.

Shizuku – Chargrilled rolled pork belly w cha shu.

The Hiroshima crumbed oysters were also delicious. Piping hot oysters, crumbed with panko, deep-fried then placed back in their individual shells, oh so cute. They sat beside a fresh salad with kewpie mayo and a dark sweet sauce (I think it was oyster sauce –which would seem fitting). Or it could be the same sauce as in the ramen burger, the plum and prune. Either way, the point i’m making is the sauce was yummy.

Shizuku - Hiroshima crumbed oysters.

Shizuku – Hiroshima crumbed oysters.

The wasabi prawns were incredible. So delicious! We got the wasabi mayo on the side because my mum feared that it would be too hot but it wasn’t. It was just right. The prawns were cooked perfectly, the tempura batter was light and fluffy, and the wasabi-mayo ratio was perfection. I loved these so much.

Shizuku - Wasabi prawns.

Shizuku – Wasabi prawns.

To finish our meal we had the green tea ice cream with a Japanese black sugar fusion melt (which tasted like molasses), dusted with soy bean powder. It tasted just like green tea. The black sugar melt was a little bitter but it was a refreshing finish to our meal.

Shizuku - Green tea ice-cream.

Shizuku – Green tea ice-cream.

They had heaps of really interesting and imaginative dishes on the menu but we couldn’t order everything and we had already eaten to our stomachs capacity. I definitely want to go back. They had these cheesy nori snacks on the menu which was tasty cheese wrapped in seaweed, deep fried and sprinkled w seven-spice chilli. Sounds interesting huh. They also have caramalised lotus salad, karaage popcorn chicken with secret batter and a range of gyozas yum!

Shizuku - Decor.

Shizuku – Decor – Pretty lights that look like beautiful flowers.

The décor was simple and stylish. The lights looked like lots of cables emerging from the ceiling with these crafty designer lights hanging from the cables. They looked like beautiful flowers.

I heart Shizuku!

Olives x

Address: 309 Victoria Street, Abbotsford
Phone: 03 9995 8180
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun: 11.30am-2.30pm (Lunch), 5.30pm-til late (Dinner)

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