Posts Tagged Breakfast

Feeling virtuous @ Admiral Cheng Ho, Abbotsford

It’s no secret I’m all into the health craze. For those of you not rolling your eyes, let’s talk about Admiral and his wonderful treats.

If you haven’t heard of Monk Bodhi Dharma from Marwin Shaw, the first restaurant from the team behind Admiral, start Googling. Like, now. I’ll wait.

So now you know that Monk Bodhi Dharma is all about specialty coffee and teas alongside a killer menu that features gluten free, raw, and vegan dishes.  Now we can get back to Admiral Cheng Ho, their newest opening on Johnston Street in Abbotsford. Let me give you a hint, they offer the same category of drinkables and eatables. Just in a more convenient location for us Northsiders.

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The interior is made up of recycled and salvaged materials, creating that relaxed, yet well-made, industrial look. It’s comfortable, it’s familiar and it’s the perfect place for brunch.

Starting with coffee is no easy feat. Of course, you can order a skinny cap and be on your way, but if you’re interested in brews, you can choose from a changing six grinders operating each day. Sometimes they will be seriously premium and cost $20 a cup. Other times not so much.

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Now you’ve got a coffee we can get to the menu. As I said before, they cater for the health conscious among us.

The Cheng’s Granola is a mix of spiced raw granola served with seasonable fruit, house made hazelnut milk and what tasted like sweetened cashew cream. It’s sweet, filling, and delicious. All the while, rather virtuous.

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Umami Mushrooms sees slow roasted king oyster, shitake, oyster, and swiss brown mushrooms served on house made pumpkin, spinach, and sundried tomato bread topped with goats cheese, thyme, and red chilli oil.

It wouldn’t be Melbourne if there was no smashed avo on the menu, and the Avoca Ho a mix of avocado, feta, mint, and lemon served on organic sourdough, will give the rest of Melbourne a run for their money.

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For those who care about gluten free and raw options this is a keeper. For those who don’t, it’s just as good. Don’t expect bacon and sausage, however.

Admiral Cheng-Ho on Urbanspoon

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My favourite Breakfast with five:am and Yousli @ Home

Breakfast or brunch is my favourite meal of the day. Going out for brunch is one of my favourite things to do, but I am also big on home-made breakfasts.

Muesli, or muesli like creations are my go-to. I have been munching on Loving Earth Deluxe Buckinis with yogurt and fruit, but recently I was lucky enough to go to a Yousli breakfast. Yousli is a brand of muesli that focuses on healthy and tasty options that you can tailor to your own tastes in their online shop.

Youli

At this breakfast we tasted the pre-made range and created our own. I made a mix of organic baked oats, spelt, buckwheat grouts, activated buckinis, puffed amaranth, sunflower seeds, baked sesame seeds, chia seeds, activated buckinis, activated almonds, pecan, sour cherries, goji berries, dates and organic sun muscats. It is divine, if I do say so myself.

Youli package

Another recent addition to my breakfast is co-yo. BUT I recently discovered five:am Yoghurt’s Coconut yoghurt. Now, this is made of real yoghurt, not coconuts, but it is so tasty (and much cheaper than co-yo), and goes perfectly with breakfast of any kind. five:am is an organic and all natural yoghurt brand that has some other seriously good flavours like dark caramel and coffee bean.

Five AM Coconut yogurt

Muesli and yoghurt are a great breakfast, but fruit really completes it, in my opinion. So, I’ve been poaching pears – with a small amount of sugar – to finish my newfound favourite. Here is my favourite breakfast – at the moment that is.

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Poached Pears

Ingredients

2 pears
2 cups of water
1 tbsp sugar – I used Heilala Vanilla sugar
1 Cinnamon stick – you can use ground cinnamon if that’s all you have
1 vanilla pod
five:am coconut yoghurt, cacao nibs and Yousli to serve.

Method

Place the water, sugar and vanilla pod in a saucepan over medium heat.

Once the sugar has dissolved, place the peeled, cored and quartered pears in the saucepan. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Store pears in an airtight container with their poaching liquid.

To serve, layer your Yousli – or muesli – yoghurt, then poached pears. For one serve I usually go with half a cup of muesli, 100gms of yoghurt and half a poached pear. Top with cacao nibs for added texture and flavour.

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This is not a complicated recipe at all, and I certainly didn’t invent it, but hey, it is pretty tasty.

I’d like to thank five:am for the yoghurt and Yousli for my very own Yousli. 

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Feeling at home @ The Grain Store, Melbourne

Sometimes you walk into a venue and your shoulders drop and you feel relaxed. This is exactly what happened to me when I walked into The Grain Store, tucked into the somewhat dodgy end of Flinders Lane. Now, to put my emotional state into context (for effect shall we say), I had just battled my way through hoards of young scantily clad semi drunk people leaving King Street at 9am on a Sunday morning. It was not a pretty sight, I can tell you that. So, a feeling of calm is even more commendable I would say.

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As I arrived I was welcomed and quickly seated on the communal table to the front of the room. I did not realise that getting a seat was actually quite lucky. As I was leaving two hours later people were hip and shouldering for the last tables. And we should have booked, I overheard the waitress telling someone else. So, feeling quite lucky in retrospect.

I perused the menu as I drank my St Ali coffee. I was torn instantly. The menu, designed by chef Ingo Meissner, has a European brunch vibe happening and it’s enticing.

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Options range from chilli and fennel sausage with winter vegetable mash, poached egg, Russian red kale, pear and cider relish ($17) to apple and rhubard ricotta pancakes with oat and honeycomb crumble ($16) to vegan cauliflower, quinoa and goji berry with pumpkin hummus, celeriac and nigella seends ($17) – I’m not even sure what that would look like.

Anywho, on this particular morning I was feeling breakfast not brunch, it was 9am after all so I went for the Grain Store toasted muesli parfait served with mandarin, chia seed yoghurt, quince jam and quinoa milk ($10).

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This, my friends, is for the sweet tooths out there. The quince jam was thick and deadly sweet while the yoghurt and mandarin did offer nice tartness. I have to confess, I now add chia seeds to my yoghurt at all times.

My breakfast companion opted for the special of sweet brioche French toast with rhubarb, apple and caramel. It looked divine and she confirmed as much.

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The space simply adds to the charm. The light wooden interior, with natural light, lovely design details and crates of apples made me feel a little like a Southern Belle. Yes this may prove I don’t have any idea of the history of design, but it worked just the same. As did the fact that they serve booze all times of the day, some even on tap.

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Upon my next visit to The Grain Store I will no doubt try the chocolate chip cookies which are baked to order, served in fours with a glass of milk. I mean come on, does it get any better than that?

My tip is go.  And make a booking apparently.

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A Trip to the South Side @ Hub, St Kilda

Hotel Urban in St Kilda have just opened their new café Hub. It has a new name, a new fit out, and a new menu.

The first thing I realised about this little café was that it is the opposite of what comes to mind when you think of a hotel café. It’s not large and impersonal but it’s cosy, small and has spunk to it that you rarely see in a hotel café.

The walls have art and books from local businesses and each piece of furniture looks like it was chosen especially for the specific spot that it has taken up.

I loved the menu here. It is broken up into two sections –The Classics and Modern Takes. In the classic section you’ll find regulars like Eggs Benedict and Crumpets with honey and lemon. The modern takes section offers more unique dishes like Autumn mushrooms on brioche with Persian feta and thyme, or House cured salmon with soft cooked eggs, salmon caviar and dill on toast.

The coffee, bitter and strong held us over as we waited eagerly for our meals.

Soy Cappuccino

Soy Cappuccino

The table shared a serve of the House made crumpets with lemon and creamed honey ($9.5).

House Made Crumpets with lemon and creamed honey ($9.50)

These were delicious. They were moist and fluffy and reminded me of breakfast with my Grandmother. The combination of honey and lemon was beautiful as the sweetness of the honey was accented by the sharp tart flavour of the lemon. Even though we only got a mouthful of these babies, you could tell they were a crowd pleaser.

For my breakfast I chose the Cinnamon Porridge with caramelised pears and oat crumble ($9.5).

Cinnamon Porridge with caramelised pears and oat crumble ($9.5)

This was exactly what I was hoping for. It was a freezing Melbourne morning and the porridge was the warming dish that I was expecting. The porridge was creamy and light while the caramelised pears added sweetness and great flavour. The crumble; a lovely touch to often more traditional porridges added sweetness and great crunch to what can sometimes be a texture poor meal.

My dining companions ordered the Eggs Benedict ($17) and the special of Scrambled eggs with smoked eel, potato rosti and green tomato chutney ($18). They kindly let me take some pictures.

Eggs Benedict ($17)

Scrambled eggs with smoked eel, potato rosti and green tomato chutney ($18)

Hub is a lovely little breakfast spot offering a unique hotel dining experience, and with the on street entrance, it feels like just another café to those passing by.

Also…I think they want people to follow them on twitter :)

Hub Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Consistently Great @ Friends of Mine, Richmond

You know how there are places you want to visit once, and then there are places you keep coming back to…well for me Friends of Mine is one of those I keep coming back to.  Friends of Mine has two sibling cafes, Porgie and Mr Jones and Snow Pony. You will find a lot of the same amazing dishes across all three venues.

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, hung over, straight from the gym, cheeky weekday catch-ups…I’ve done it all here.

The menu is delicious and has its own flare. It starts with a Pick.Me.Up.Please, which is a small brioche roll with bacon, tomato chutney, scrambles and Maffra cheddar. It continues with toasts, croissants, muesli’s and herb and cheesy toast.

The ‘favourite friends’ section holds some of the main attractions. This includes the famous smashed avocado with Thyme buttered mushrooms, marinated feta, torn basil on wholegrain toast and the Mr Jones’ golden ‘folded’ eggs. There is even a dish called ‘Hung’ over, which consists of herb and cheesy toast with poached eggs, bacon and smashed avocado.

Lunch items range from toasted sandwiches, salads and larger places including risotto, a steak sandwich and even a braised Ox cheek. The menu really has you covered.

After many a breakfast visit my favourite items have to be the Smashed Avocado with Thyme Buttered Mushrooms, Marinated Feta, Torn Basil on Wholegrain Toast ($17.9). On the particular occasion photographed below I ordered it with bacon on the side.

Smashed Avocado with Thyme Buttered Mushrooms, Marinated Feta, Torn Basil on Wholegrain Toast ($17.9) – With a side of bacon

The flavours in this dish are amazing. Creamy avocado with strong herbed mushrooms are contrasted with the rich feta and fresh basil. They also use really nice bread here, which acts as a great backdrop.

Another breakfast favourite of mine is the Toasted Banana Bread with Maple Syrup Mascarpone, Fresh Banana, Berry Compote and Crushed Pistachios, ($14.9).

This is a very decadence breakfast. The bread is light and fluffy and tastes more like banana cake and is perfectly toasted to make it slightly crisp on the outside. The mascarpone and berry compote make it moist and the banana offers a fresh element. The crushed pistachios complete the dish adding texture.

On a later visit my friend and I ventured into the lunch menu.

I ordered the Toasted Piadini with ham and swiss cheese ($14.50 w a side salad).

It was a crisp light toasted sandwich and was accompanied by a lightly dressed green salad. It was simple yet tasty.

My friend ordered the Thai calamari salad.

We ordered some of their delicious chunky chips with garlic aioli to share and we were very happy diners.

While I have only had one thing on the lunch menu, it is definitely the breakfast/brunch options that keep me coming back here. The staff are also lovely, always with a smile on their face even though there is usually a wait on the weekends.

To top it off, you can order a Berocca, a Bloody Mary and French Champagne with your breakfast. Anywhere that sells French Champagne for breakfast and names a dish ‘Hung Over’ is off to a good start in my eyes.
Friends of Mine on Urbanspoon

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Finding a local gem @ Red Door Corner Store, Northcote

 

You know that moment when you find out your local café is awesome…yeah this was that moment.

After moving to Northcote, I have been overwhelmed with great dining options. Red Door Corner Store was one of these.

While moving in I hadn’t really had the chance to go to many cafes and restaurants so when a girlfriend stayed over after a very unexpected night out, I jumped at the opportunity to give Red Door Corner Store a chance.

(The Thursday night that preceded our visit to Red Door Corner Store, I was at work planning to head to the gym on my way home and spend a quiet night in. This however took an unexpected turn when a girlfriend messaged “Drinks at Charlie’s Bar?”…Well I was sold. I will share our adventures from that night in my next post….In my new attempt to be honest with you all I might even tell you about my unexplained ability to accidently ‘like’ awkward things on Facebook. Although you might think I’m making it up, they really are that awkward. )

Anyway, I digress.

So there we are, Friday morning and I had nothing in my house to eat due to only being in my place a few days. Red Door Corner Store was open and only a sleepy stumble away.

Interior

I was a very happy café goer as I walked in. It has a lovely relaxed cozy atmosphere. Wooden tables and white walls are accented with steel water jugs and cute sugar holders. Baking trays are hung on the walls, making it feel like your grandmothers’ baking isn’t too far away and service was given with a smile.

Our coffee’s came quickly. My soy cappuccino ($3.50) could have been a bit stronger, but had a lovely taste.

We got down to the menu. It is a lovely breakfast menu with a little bit of a twist. It included Bircher trifle, breakfasts tarts, Coconut Crumpets with creamed rooftop honey, berry jam and Mytleford butter and Grilled Semolina with mushrooms, lemon thyme, spinich, tallegio, poached egg and parmesan curls. I ordered the Breakfast Roll, which was filled with egg, bacon, avocado, rocket, aioli and tomato kasundi ($12).

This was really delicious. While the egg and the bacon were fried, the fresh avocado, rocket and tomato kasundi balanced it perfectly. These sorts of rolls can often feel heavy and oily, but this was fresh and flavoursome. It was also the perfect size for brunch.

Breakfast Roll

My friend ordered the chicken sandwich of the day, which came with a small bowl of bean salad on the side. She said it was fantastic. The chicken was really good quality and the mango chutney matched it perfectly.

I will certainly be back to Red Door Corner Store and not only because it is a stones throw from my new apartment.
Red Door Corner Store on Urbanspoon

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Sunny Brunch @ The Victorian Café, Albert Park

 

The wonderful world of twitter introduced me to guys over at The Victorian Café in Albert Park and one sunny Sunday morning a friend and I decided to take a drive and try it out.

The Victorian Cafe

The café is in the beautiful corner building on Beaconsfield parade with gorgeous high ceilings and a wooden interior.  The beach is meters away making it a perfect spot for a sunny Sunday morning.

The menu sticks to classics with a few little twists. There is something for any craving. They also use Brasserie Bread products, which is always a plus for me.

On this particular morning I decided to order the Grandmother Ham, Goats Feta, Avocado, Basil and Heirloom Tomatoes on thick cut Sourdough toast ($18.50). I added a hash brown on the side ($3.50).

Grandmother Ham, Goats Feta, Avocado, Basil and Heirloom Tomatoes on thick cut Sourdough toast ($18.50).

They really did mean thick cut toast! This was just delicious. The beautiful sourdough was spread with avocado and topped with a very generous amount of pan-fried grandmother ham, fresh tomatoes, huge basil leaves and feta.

It was a perfect combination of fresh and cooked ingredients and even though there was only one slice, I couldn’t even finish it. The hash brown was also quite impressive; crisp on the outside and mixed with what seemed like garlic and herbs it was beautifully flavoured. I will say I could have used more feta, having said that I am of the opinion that there can never be too much feta.

Grandmother Ham, Goats Feta, Avocado, Basil and Heirloom Tomatoes on thick cut Sourdough toast ($18.50)

They also make a mean coffee here and have a number of blends available each day.

Coffee Menu

My friend and I both took home a Brasserie Bread chocolate brownie and a bag of Gridlock Coffee which Sebastian behind the coffee machine kindly ground for us according to our different machines.

There is a Wagyu Beef burger with heirloom tomatoes, haloumi, lettuce and aioli served with rosemary and lemon salted potato chips on the lunch menu that is calling me back there soon.

It’s worth the drive.  Thank you very much to Stu and Sebastian for having us and making it a great morning.

The Victorian Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Breakfast Catch-Up @ Coin Laundry, Armadale

Lately there has been a lot of buzz around a little café named Coin Laundry. In a little side street of Armadale you’ll find this gem.

Street Tables

A friend of mine lives walking distance from the cute find and we decided, that was more than enough reason to give it a go.

As you walk into Coin Laundry you are automatically hit with the calm and relaxed vibe of the wait staff and the atmosphere. Chilled waiters run the show seamlessly. On a Thursday morning, we were lucky to secure the last free table and word on the street tells me the weekend usually involves waiting a while for a table.

Coffee's Being Made

Coffee’s came quickly and we took way too long to decide what to order. Gossip often gets in the way of choosing meals at breakfast catch-ups.

The menu offers your standards like eggs, toasts, banana bread and porridge. It then has more exciting items like the Caramelized French toast with crispy bacon and organic maple syrup or the Olive Bread Bruschetta with fresh ricotta, fresh tomatoes, basil oil and parma ham.

On this particular day I wasn’t in the mood for a large breakfast so opted for the Fruit bread with ricotta and thyme honey.

Fruit Toast with Ricotta and Thyme Honey

It was simple and delicious. The fruit bread was out of this world. It had whole dried apricots and whole dried figs studded through it. The ricotta and the honey, smooth creamy and flavoursome was the perfect addition to the crunchy bread.

My dining partner ordered the Corn and Manchego fritters with guacamole, corn relish and crème fresh. It was served with a huge salad of rocket and coriander, which made my friend very happy; she is a serious rocket fan. It is often joked about just how much she loves it!

Corn and Manchego Fritters

If you’re in the mood for something sweet after breakfast choose a take home pastry or muffin from the very cute selection on display.

Fresh Pastries

We will be returning very soon to try the other delicious options on the menu.

For more information:

Coin Laundry

61 Armadale St, Armadale

 

Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Brunch @ APTE, Heidelberg Road, Alphington

Today I had the opportunity to have brunch at ATPE in Alphington. Easily missed by drivers by, this place is among car dealers and busy roads!

It is worth a stop though, I tell you that.

The all day breakfast menu has all a breakfast menu needs. Nothing out of the ordinary, yet all the essentials. Eggs, big breakfasts, banana and coconut bread, hot cakes (both of which looked to die for!), and smaller options like muesli and toast. Gluten free bread and muesli is also available.

One stand out option for me was the Mixed Platter, which was half a serve of banana and coconut bread with honey labna and pistachios and half a serve of the ricotta hot cakes served with poached fruit and honey infused ricotta.

In a savoury mood however I ordered the poached eggs with a side of avocado and feta, as well as my standard soy cappuccino.

My cappuccino was lovely, creamy and the perfect strength.

My breakfast was equally well done. The eggs were runny yet cooked through; and the avocado was fresh and creamy. The feta was delicious, it was the real stuff…creamy yet salty, crumbly and with a real bite. Feta and avocado really were made for each other. If you haven’t tried it with eggs…you need to.

I will be heading back to APTE for the mixed platter very shortly!

For more information:

APTE Café

538 Heidelberg Rd

Alphington 3078

(03) 9482 2991

http://www.apte.com.au/

 

 

 

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Uni Break Turns Into Brunch @ Pope Joan, Brunswick East

Pope Joan, located strangely close to my apartment has become a favourite among locals and visitors a like. My street is always its busiest when the weekend brunch crowd wanders sleepy eyed to the welcoming doors of Pope Joan. Popping up out of car repair stores and run down houses, it was a sight for sore eyes.

The venue…

As you enter your welcomed by a warm and cozy dining room, with smiling wait staff, laid back patrons, a cabinet filled with freshly baked goods and a smell that assures you you’ve come to the right place. Take a seat either in the wooden dining room, or open the sliding door and venture out the outside. There are tables lining the undercover deck and then outdoor tables taking you all the way to the homegrown herbs and vegetables found in the garden.

There is an attention to detail demonstrated here that is rare in a small brunch/lunch venue. Each dish is served in its own original setting. The rice pudding is served in an old school jam jar, the fruit toast served in a toast stand and the porridge is served using three matching pieces of crockery. One to hold the porridge, one to hold the fruit and a matching jug to hold the milk. It was just a beautiful sight to see.

The Menu…

The menu, while not your standard breakfast/brunch menu offers so many delicious looking dishes. It ranges from baked ginger bread with maple butter, to rice pudding, to pressed ham hock and lentils with fried egg and sauce gribiche, to even W.A Sardines and tomato on toast with feta, pine nuts and currents.

In addition to this there are a range of gourmet sandwiches including The Cornish: Milawa chicken, stuffing and jalapeño peppers to tantalize those who are in the mood for lunch.

My Meal…

My friend and I had trouble deciding what to order so opted to share. We chose the warmed ginger bread which was served with smoked maple butter and the Boiled eggs, soldiers, bacon bits and herb salt.

Seriously…divine.

As it arrived by friend looked at me and said “I know this is weird, but I need to smell it” as she picked up the plate and brought it to her nose. Of course once she had done this I was unable not to follow suit. It has been a good choice, the ginger aromas filled my nose and it took all my strength not to eat her half as well as mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ginger bread was amazing. It was light and fluffy with a strong ginger flavour pushing through. Perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, the maple butter was able to add moisture and subtle sweetness without interfering with the bread itself.

Then our eggs arrive. They were adorably served in a porcelain egg carton, eggs in their own section, bread in the centre and the bacon bits filling one corner and the herbed salt filling the other. It was a gorgeous picture!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we sliced the top of our soiled eggs, we revealed perfectly soft boiled eggs! The toasted grainy buttery bread, which accompanied it, was excitably dunked in straight away. The bacon, expertly crisped added everything bacon should, while the herbed salt was flavoursome and delicious. I couldn’t tell you which herbs they used, but along with the salt it cut through the richness of the egg yolk and completed the dish!

I should also say here, that my soy cappuccino, topped with love heart coffee art was also lovely. Rich and creamy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the vegetable garden out the back to the gorgeous antique looking crockery, eating here feels like you’ve come home. We sat for hours in the busy dining room people coming and going as they please, not once feeling the sometimes-watchful eye of waiters in a busy venue. I honestly think we could have sat there all day with no one having a care in the world.

All in all Pope Joan offers delicious coffee and exciting fun and innovative food that really hits the spot.

For more information:

77-79 Nicholson Street

East Brunswick

(03) 9388 8858

http://popejoan.com.au/

Pope Joan on Urbanspoon

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