Oct 9, 2013

For the love of pizza

362 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

This story is not about how we met at  +39 Pizza Bar on a bustling Melbourne lane way for the love of pizza.  It is not about how too much food was ordered. Food restraint is not my forte. This time I blame it on the Italian accent, perhaps just rehearsed, but still, not helpful when it comes to saying no to a plate of bruschetta. 

Neither is this a story about the bottle of red we shared. I am not even going to mention how it had a grape-stomping party in my head the morning after.

This is a very short story about moments of life, little stills stitched together by the thread of time. Moments like these are the brightest threads in that thick, strangely cut fabric.

Pizza +39 outside shot

Pizza from +39 Pizza bar
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Oct 6, 2013

No agenda, just Mamasita

Level 1, 11 Collins Street, Melbourne

Cashmere coats and Armani suits abound. Office people uphold their importance with expensive good looks on the classy side of Collins Street. They rush around the Mamasita sign, treating their afternoon meeting agenda like a life-time commitment.

Me too, very important. My meeting agenda included a salt-ringed glass of margarita and char-grilled corn cobs in melted cheese, paprika and mayo. Keen Melbourne crowds queue just to get that. The word on the street is that Mamasita is an adventure. No, I do not like to queue, but I am always up for an adventure. I trick the crowds, and get in just before lunch time.

Braised goat tostada, a few margaritas and an icecream covered in popcorn. We do not need an agenda to have a killer of a meeting Mamasita, and I.

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Sep 22, 2013

Hanoi Hannah

180 High Street, Prahran

Green-eyed Lady Luck served me with the Sex, Drugs and Rice Paper Rolls sign.

It did not happen on the 17th parallel north, where fishermen take their junks across Halong Bay. Where leaf-hatted elders soak their mint in poached chicken pho and rice paper rolls inhabit street corners, washed over by monsoon rains and Bia-hoi.

Never scared to be bold Hanoi Hannah cased the leaf-hatted elder, framed the junks and sailors, and serves the fragrant pho and crisp rice paper rolls to grateful crowds.

This hawker-style bar is a standout. Fresh, fun and funky, the food is very reasonably priced. Generously infused in Asian flavors Melbourne delivers the best type of street-style Vietnamese.

  Hanoi Hannah on Urbanspoon

Aug 3, 2013

MoVida Next Door

164 Flinders St, cnr Hosier Lane

This is the best form of lucky. The street corner that can't be missed; the bar that can't be put in the corner. They belong to each other, Hosier Lane and MoVida Next Door, the striking City laneway and charismatic Spanish wine bar.

It is the sum of colors that excites the most. Nothing disappears when you go inside, the earthy reds of the eggplant chips and Salmorejo, the silver white anchovy with tomato on crouton, the vibrant green of char-grilled chilies. The shades of these will add more heat to the bill.

MoVida Next Door on Urbanspoon

Jul 24, 2013

Hawk & Hunter Small Batch

Glen Eira Avenue, Ripponlea

Tuesday mornings don't often sound like freshly made raspberry slice and mulled wine. Instead, the sounds come from the City bound trains, exhaling colorful crowds into the narrow Melbourne alleyways, cubicles and paper jams.

But when the good things come, even in small batches, they sound like coriander spiced falafels, buoyant poached eggs, warm corn and black bean fritters and apple juice. 

Good things come at Hawk & Hunter Small Batch. Mulled wine in hand, I watch the City trains inhale the crowds,  while my morning sounds like a raspberry slice.

Collage on the wall inside the cafe

Mulled wine

Coriander spiced falafels, hummus, pickled vegetables, flatbread and poached eggs

Corn and black bean fritters, chimichurri, avocado and a poached egg

Jaffa truffle pops

Raspberry slice

Hawk & Hunter Small Batch on Urbanspoon

Jul 20, 2013

Little Chloe

1810 Malvern Road, Malvern East

Tuesday, 11 am and I find myself looking at the breakfast menu. Live it up, while I can, It's all about the girl.

Little Chloe.  The delicate menu pages tell me about the pork belly, coffee aroma about the seriousness of business here.

This new place quickly gathers a reputation amongst locals, who aren't spoilt for choice.

I go for the pork, no hesitation. After all, I did my research in the Good Food Guide. The black rice porridge with pandan-infused coconut cream chosen by my friend, a cheerful winter warmer.

It was all about the girl, Little Chloe. Character and taste combination, coffee options and reasonable prices, you can count me in.

Little Chloe interior

Black rice porridge Picture of the Good Cafe Guide

Pork belly

Little Chloe on Urbanspoon Julia Snip on Google+

Jul 10, 2013

The Grain Store

517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

It was hard not to notice this handsome newcomer with passion for local, organic produce and impeccable taste.

The Grain Store. Brisk walk up to the very top of Flinders Lane. Barn doors, oversized pumpkins and milk jugs. Hello farm boy, you surely do look like a lot of fun!

Saltbush lamb with sweet potato, bok choy and violet mustard, potato gnocchi and Tomme cheese, mushroom taleggio cream, broccoli, brown butter and nigella seeds.

Does this sound like a music score? I was quick to be smitten. If I need an excuse to meet up again, there is also chocolate chip cookies and milk, baked to order; I am saving this for my next visit.

The Grain Store inside shot

Saltbush lamb with sweet potato

Desserts on the table

Newspapers on the rack

potato gnocchi and Tomme cheese
Thanks for the photo NP :)
The Grain Store inside shot

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon

Jul 2, 2013

A date with the Mexican

Radio Mexico
11-13 Carlisle Street, St Kilda

I had a date with the Mexican; I am not an attached woman when it comes to gastronomy.

It's hard to know what makes it work sometimes. I tried them all, Mediterranean - entertaining, but too self absorbed, Asian - far too exotic, French - definitely some sparks there, but if you've had it once, you will know what its all about.

But with the Mexican, connection was instant.  Complex but very relaxed, never lets you in on its secrets. Always makes me want to come back for more.

I was back at Radio Mexico. Funky, zesty, rough at the edges, street style Mexican, that goes well with a beer. Just how I like it.

graffiti on the wall outsideView to the kitchen

Mexican tacos
Iced hibiscus tea with orange and limeRadio Mexico inside shotMexican tacosCutlery jagMexican tacosGrilled corn
Radio Mexico on Urbanspoon