1 kit & kafoodle: June 2014

Monday, 30 June 2014

La Belle Miette


 La Belle Miette has long held the special place in my heart as the best Macarons in Melbourne. I adore their delicate pastel colours and their subtle but decadent flavours. By chance I was wandering past the Collins Street store and saw the special Mother’s Day flavours. Who am I to resist?


Their packaging is incredible and due to the fact I am a complete sucker for packaging, I have a large majority of La Belle Miette’s gift boxes to store jewellery, washi tape and other random useless stuff that I passionately spend money on… So of course I was delighted in their simple but effective hint to a traditional jam jar. It’s those little things you know?


The appealing colours of their macarons mean any flavour combination will look beautifully presented – and the lovely staff at La Belle Miette will take the time to order them in the most aesthetically pleasing way!


From left to right:

Raspberry – this is one of the stronger macaron flavours and is quite evidently raspberry. It luckily doesn’t venture too far into the sickly sweet category of some other macaron makers of Melbourne, which is one of the reasons why I prefer La Belle Miette.

Scone with Blackcurrant jam & cream – being a huge fan of scones, this is one of my favourite flavours. I love La Belle Miette’s specialty of putting a jam jelly disc in the middle of the macaron filling, it makes for a nice texture change and a burst of flavour. This macaron has quite a subtle scone flavour, so you need to concentrate quite hard on picking that up over the stronger blackcurrent jam.

Lemon & Vanilla marmalade – The lemon flavour of this macaron was not as sour or strong as I was expecting however the real marmalade in the middle brought the lemon flavour out well.

Orange marmalade – This orange flavour was again, not too strong but still featured the real marmalade in the centre. A difficult choice, but I would name this flavour my least favourite of the six.

Green tea – I was surprised at how much this macaron really tasted like green tea, but there was no hint of any powdery taste or traces of the green tea they used to infuse this morsel.

Violet & Blueberry jam – One of the staple macarons I buy from La Belle Miette. It has everything I love about their range: a subtly floral inspired flavour, a jelly disc centre and as always, the perfectly formed hard shell breaking away to the chewy insides.

I am now hanging out for more themed macarons and gift boxes as each celebrated occasion rolls around. Maybe they will do a Halloween theme?!


TL;DR Best Macarons in Melbourne. Word.

La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Oscar Cooper

I'm calling it, jaffles are the new burger. 

...

No? No one else? Okay, haha jokes! Jaffles are probably going to come and go and we'll all realise we used to own a jaffle-maker and have the ability to make these toasted sandwiches at home. 

I might need to go buy a jaffle-maker.

So, one Saturday, we're making our way to breakfast, at 12.10pm no less, because who said breakfast has to be enjoyed in the AM? Tucked behind Chapel St lies Oscar Cooper, a busy little cafe that boasts all-day jaffles - "Damn Fine" ones at that. 

Despite being jam-packed, we were seated after waiting only five minutes, so that's one point for you, Oscar. The day's jaffles, the flavours of which are listed on a wall, looked enticing and we had our heart set on one featuring pulled pork and jalapenos, but alas, 'NA' was listed next to it. Nothing makes one's stomach sadder than the letters N and A next to a menu item. Not 'Appy (Jan).

I started with a Golden Pash juice, which contained pineapple, apple, orange and passionfruit. The passionfruit seeds lodged themselves in the straw upon first sip and proceeded to make the juice unnecessarily harder to consume. Oscar, you might want to look into investing in some wider straws. The juice itself, when it made its way into my mouth, tasted overwhelmingly of pineapple, with a hint of passionfruit. 

Golden Pash juice - $5

Of the five or six jaffles on offer, two were listed as NA, so we settled for the chicken, chives and gruyere cheese. There were a bunch of other very appetising-sounding items on the menu that were on the short list, but we didn't want to overdo it for breakfast, so we only also ordered the Oscar's Benedict. Oh, and the wagyu burger. Because when my preferred item is Not 'Appening, I bloody well get a burger for breakfast to make up for it.

Chicken, chives and gruyere cheese jaffle - $8.50

The jaffle was nicely toasted, although compared to other ones we've sampled recently, the outside did not appear to have been slathered in butter and crisped to lovely perfection. I prefer the artery-clogging version.


The filling was piping hot and contained a moderate amount of cheese and chives, but could have done with a smidge more chicken. While pleasant enough to eat, it reminded me how easily this could be replicated at home. Mental note to stop at K-Mart on the way home. Nostalgic Afternoon!

The Oscar's Benedict came as two poached eggs on a potato roesti, with smashed avo and tangy hollandaise sauce, to which we also added berkshire bacon. Because why not?

Oscar's Benedict, with berkshire bacon - $18

Strangely enough, I have steered clear of hollandaise sauce most of my life because of fear of the unknown. It somehow never occurred to me to try some and so, with slight trepidation, I had my first hollandaise sauce.

It was not to my liking. I won't be repeating that experience.

The potato roesti was also not to my liking, being not of the crisp version, but of the soggy, lukewarm and limp. Disappointing. This item sounded a lot better on paper than in execution. Not Again. (Ever.) [It should be noted, my breakfast partner enjoyed this very much.]

American style wagyu burger - $18.50

And then, the final breakfast item arrived and I was so pleased to see fries that I started devouring them like they were crack. You would think I hadn't yet eaten that morning. The burger came with bacon, Californian cheddar, pickles, tomato, lettuce and a smear of some sauce, which might have been mayonnaise or some variant thereof.


The iceberg lettuce slice was a sad, limp little thing and seemed out of place, like it had been added as an afterthought. The bun was almost toasted too well and there was not enough of the sauce (or spread?), which would've added some needed moisture to each bite. However, the wagyu patty itself was very good, seasoned well in itself, with visible chopped onions and herbs scattered throughout, and was a lovely pink on the inside. Paired with the melted cheddar, bacon and pickle, it was almost enough. Perhaps, Oscar, you might want to re-think the lettuce and sauce. Non, Ami?

Overall, a decent outing with a few little hiccups, but I'd be willing to return and try some of the other menu items. And some more jaffles seeing as I never went out to get that jaffle-maker, because, well. Never Acquired.

And seriously, if jaffles do become the next burger, I called it first.


TL;DR - Try a jaffle, provided it's available, and take a gander through the menu.


Oscar Cooper on Urbanspoon

Friday, 27 June 2014

Huxtaburger

Huxtaburger joined with PayPal to create a magical feat that could inspire nations, heroes, princesses, dragons and Oberyn Martell to fight and fall for the quest of true taste - 50% off everything on the menu for two weeks. Booyah. It's time to get sick of Huxtaburger (is that even possible? I'll tell you in two weeks)

For those with smartphones, you download the PayPal app, join your account (sign up if you don't have one already, the one downside is that it is directly linked to your bank account and you are then unable to remove it - however, PayPal do favour the buyers, so it should be pretty safe?) and search for "Huxtaburger".

Cool deconstruction on Huxtaburger's website
All three locations should come up (though if it's past closing time it won't) and the neatness is all in their pre-ordering system, no queuing, no fuss, just pick up and stuff face. The app is simple to order off the menu, even giving you options to add/remove sauces, toppings and fillings. If you don't know what's what, check the simple, fun Huxtaburger website (you can even click the burgers to deconstruct them; the only way it gets cooler is if it were all in 8bit). Now through my exploration, if you click on "order online" it brings you to the Beat the Q page, which is mirrored on the PayPal app - and lo and behold, the prices are shown already halved. I didn't click through but this may be a sneaky way to circumvent the PayPal-ness if you don't have a smart phone or otherwise.

I put in my order and drove to the place where my meal was a-waiting. I honestly expected more people to be cashing in majorly on this incredible deal, but I am not complaining. I then decided against shovelling food into my mouth in the car whilst steaming up the windows like the Titanic love scene and drove home again. 

The prices below are the already discounted prices.

A slimmer Denise (+ added Bacon)

I decided on The Denise (the hot one, $5.0) which is The Huxtaburger (beef pattie, mustard, mayo, tomato sauce, tomato, cheese, lettuce, pickles) with jalepeno and sriracha mayo. Then 'cos even the extras were half priced I turned it into this weird tropical Aussie thing by adding Double Cheese (50c), Beetroot (25c), Bacon (50c), Pineapple (25c) and Egg (50c). Now due to this overzealous packing of my burger, when I peeled back the paper, it dissolved in my hands due to the juices soaking through, and the burger looked like a hot mess. But wow it tasted good. Sloppy and dripping everywhere, with the pattie being moisty and juicy. The jalapeno and sriracha kicks your mouth and enhances every bite. Plus, the ingredients used are fresh; the lettuce is crunchy, the egg isn't rubbery and the pineapple still has that sting. The meat has a succulent taste and the brioche bun only adds to the decadence.
Avert your eyes... it's The Hot Mess



I ordered the chipotle chips ($1.25, large 25c extra) which are crinkle cut old school style. The plain ones are a bit too dry and boring for me, whilst the chipotle dusted ones have a nice bite to them. I still think they need aoili, mayo or a dipping sauce to make them even more palatable. In this instance I used Ducking Good's Alioli (more on that in the future) which was epique! However, due to the drive home the chips got a bit soggy and wilted, expect the opposite if you're ordering them fresh from the counter. 

 
And the Chocolate Milkshake ($4.0) which was definitely more milk than thick (shake) but damn that didn't stop it from being fantastic. Chocolatey and not fake like the chocolate sauce they put into other fake flavour milkshakes, this was the real deal, I could almost taste the chunk. Second best milkshake behind Merchant's Guild, if only 'cos there was no scoop of icecream floating in my cup.


TL;DR There's a reason why Huxtaburger is considered Melbourne's best burger... And now it's half price. What are you even waiting for?!
Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Flour Market

Waking up early to join the already impressive line outside the Fitzroy Town Hall at 8:45am on a Sunday morning was totally worth it for my carb-starved body. But here are a few tips for the seasonal Flour Market, held in various (hipster) locations in Melbourne.


  1. Bring cash only - do not look a fool when you burn through your money after two stalls (me.) and have to turn to a generous friend to borrow from (thanks Will!)
  2. Don't hesitate when you want to buy something, it will probably be gone when you look back. 
  3. This is more for the stallholders but LABEL YOUR ITEMS, it will save a lot of time when you don't have to explain every flavour of tart to every single customer.
  4. Get there early, we were in and out within two hours with decent waiting times (definitely gets worse as the morning goes on), not to mention things sell out (All Day Doughnuts were gone in 4 hours). This doesn't apply when storeholders get there late on purpose (apparently that happened at the Valentines Bake My Heart Flour Market)

On to the food, chaps.

Bakewell & Co.

The Choc Cross Peanut Butter Cookie ($4.50) was amazing! I loved every bite and wished I bought more. The chocolate was soft and melty and the cookie was soft and chewy. So good.

The Sweet Apple Pie Slice ($6) was also beautiful (but unfortunately no picture because it got squished in the frenzy of carb-loading). I loved the pie crust which tasted awfully similar to shortbread. The apple pieces inside were done to perfection - no random tough skins to bite through, or overly sweet. The only complaint I have, which made the whole experience a bit jarring, was the pastry at the bottom of the slice was completely raw, so I grilled it for a bit and got a nice piece of biscuit. A friend had a similar experience with the spiced pumpkin pie but despite this, we were both thoroughly impressed (he said I need to try the Key Lime Pie. I am excited!).


Tivoli Road Bakery

Tivoli's Hot Cross Buns ($3.50) were recently declared as the best hot cross buns in Melbourne! So of course I picked one up to try. To be fair, I did eat it the next day, toasted so I didn't get a feel of the "moist, with an appealing bounciness" described in the article. However, it was a delicious hot cross bun. It looked great and wasn't too spicy or fruity - even with the orange rind mixed through.

The famous Tivoli Cronuts did not choose to make a comeback at the Flour Market (but I will continue hoping) but they did have some hot cross bun stuffed donuts ($4.00).These to me tasted like Christmas pudding in a donut (but I don't really enjoy Christmas pud so maybe it did in fact taste like a really well done Hot Cross Bun)! That is to say, it was lovely and spice-filled and delicious. The littler currants mixed in were a great addition. Tivoli sure know how to make people feel warm and fuzzy inside with their donuts.


These guys were a massive hit, with the biggest line in the room. Desperately wanted to try the Quiche Lorraine, but alas we were too slow. So we settled for their Pie special which was chicken, corn, bacon and leek (I know right!) And yes folks, it tasted as good as it sounds. Lovely and creamy, and so darn tasty, there were huge chicken pieces in there which you could satisfyingly chew through, and all the ingredients complimented each other so well!


We also got the Beef, Cheddar, Guinness & Thyme Pie ($8.50) holy moley. These guys know how to make their pies. The beef filling ate like a meal, a warm comforting winter meal; and the pastry was light, crunchy and oh-so-good. I think I have finally found a place that has beaten Pie In The Sky, and that is not an easy thing to do - and I'm happy because it's a lot closer to get my pie fix now!



The pork, apple and fennel Sausage Roll ($6.00) which was delicious on first bite, but then I decided it was a little bland - probably best eaten with some of the relishes Pure Pie have on sale. I would buy it again though, as the pastry around the meat was delicious like the pie base, but really let's be honest, these guys aren't called Pure Pie for nothing.


All Day Donuts
This guy Raph, the mastermind behind Beatbox Burger amongst other things, is a genius churning out hit after hit after hit.

This beauty is the cream cheese glaze donut with milk berry rubble. The icing on this puppy tasted so good, it was sweet and I could have dunked donut after donut into the glaze. For some, without this glaze the donut may be a bit bland or not sweet enough for some, but it tasted fine to me either way.


The tried and true Passionfruit Curd with Coffee Glaze and Chocolate Rubble had and awesome passionfruit curd centre, a surprise that I probably should have seen coming. The curd was very well done, not being too sweet but so creamy! I much preferred this donut to the other.


Nora Tarts


These stunning tarts looked gorgeous on the trestle table set up and the crowd around them eagerly jostled to be served. This Bonsoy Cereal infused Earl Grey tea, lady finger caramelised banana, grass jelly, cornflake crunch, dried blueberries/cranberries, and Froot Loops tart is a mouthful to say but not so much in taste. I felt like the tart had a strange flavour; like tasteless pastry with a strange after taste where I swear I could taste the charcoal mix, which gives the black colour. It is unfortunate as the pastry is usually what I look forward to the most in my tarts. I am unsure if it's because the taste of charcoal is too strong (tasteless) or whether there isn't enough fatty butter and sugar added. The contents were initially nice and creamy in line with the bonsoy tea, but then it got weird due to the combination of Froot Loops and grass jelly. I think they went a bit ambitious with the flavours and it didn't balance for me. 




On the other hand, the chocolate ganache, mango, orange puree, pistachio and freeze dried mandarin tart was a lot better. Possibly due to the stronger and heavier taste the dark chocolate brings to the tart. The smooth chocolate filling was not too bitter and not too sweet. The orange puree and mango hiding underneath the surface had a nice sweet hit that broke up the heavier chocolate taste. Delicious. The pistachio and mandarin flakes were a nice addition as well. I would recommend these tarts to someone who needs to look fancy at a party when they present their dessert platter. 


I hope to visit the stockists of Nora Tarts in the future as in all honesty, my storage was pretty poor and I need to give them a fairer go; but at this stage their tarts definitely looked better than they tasted.

I am so glad I hauled myself out of bed in the early AM to attend this carb-fest, I spent my money like a bazillionaire and don't regret any of the purchases! A great little morning in Fitzroy Town.

TL;DR If you can get down to the Flour Market you will not be dissapointed!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Mr Big Stuff




Mr Big Stuff is the latest restaurant to offer southern-style soul food to fill a niche that hasn’t really been nailed in Melbourne yet, though will it change now? Opening up next to San Telmo means you have a lot to live up to, but Mr Big Stuff performed like a pro.


Walking through the door (almost unmarked, except for the sassy faces on the door welcoming you in) the atmosphere was hopping, a DJ set up in the corner and warm lighting bouncing off the red toned d├ęcor made the place feel more like somewhere you’d see the next Step Up movie being filmed. The music was slightly loud which made it difficult to converse, but maybe I’m just deaf. Despite that, the tunes were epic in nature: rap and R&B from the 90s got even the chefs moving to the beat. It’s just that kind of place.The wait staff are dressed cool and sexy, with their bow ties and suspenders. The are friendly with lots of personality, up for a chat and are all very attentive to their customers.

The menu is no doubt very inspired by America and her south (note: the dishes are sizeable and you will want to try everything, so beware), with the first page featuring a variety of KoolAid and iced tea inspired cocktails. On top of that, there is a wide range of wines and beers. 
I ordered a Cold Pressed Kool-Aid Soarin Strawberry Lemonade, beefeater Gin, cold pressed strawberry, fresh lemon juice & soda ($12.5, available as a non-alcoholic alternative $8.5 - not pictured) but most of it went to my eating partner. The drink tasted sour as fuck, despite getting the sweetest recommended drink. Apparently that's due to the gin. Whodathunkit. I'll stick with a non-alcoholic egg cream or iced tea next time.


We jumped right to the Pig’s Ear Chips, cayenne salt ($8.0) which were just so strange sounding we could not resist; they were so salty and fatty and so, so bad but so, so good. They were very oily and tasted a lot like crackling so don't get this unless you loves dat phat.


Next up were the Ox Tail Slider, braised ox tail, slaw ($9.5) which were surprisingly juicy and tasted quite great. A darker Asian style sauce matched the radish and cabbage salad. Despite being a good dish, I would forego this for others on the menu.


The hot sauce provided on the table went so well with this (and most of the other food, though sometimes the spice blocked a lot of the meat and sauce’s flavour). 


The Fried Chicken & Waffles, spiced maple syrup ($19.0) was something I knew I had to try. Despite thinking they would never go together when I first spotted this on a menu way-back-when, I have since given myself up to this classic southern dish. No one really knows how to combine sweet and savoury to my liking quite like American food. The waffles were toasted to perfection and the maple was thick, sweet and undiluted – together they were good enough to eat alone as a dessert or snack. However, with the chicken… Man. Those ‘muricans are crazy as. But it works so well. The deep fried chicken with maple drenched waffles are pretty epic. A lot better than Kodiak Club’s. Add that hot sauce and shhiiiieeettt guuuuurlll sexual healin' (yeah the DJ knows my jam, it was played.)


The Pork Ribs, slaw, bourbon BBQ sauce ($28.0) were beautiful, the meat fell off the bone just so and the sauce on the ribs was great, though not enough! The slaw on the plate was crunchy and balanced the saltier ribs. They would be Newmarket Hotel worthy, especially since there was so much meat on the bone. Better watch out lads there's a new kid on the block.


The waitress recommended the Corn Bread ($6.0) to go with the ribs, which was unnecessary I felt, but delicious all the same. The corn bread was definitely not as buttery as Bowery to Williamsburg’s, but still quite soft and crumbly. Suddenly, I saw a little corn pop out and I was like, 'shit CORN bread'. And it all made sense after that. The flavour of corn definitely showed through a lot more in this dish, which is probably why I never made the connection previously. Anyway, this also tasted great with maple syrup, but maybe everything does…


The Kale Greens, candied yams, pecan ($12.0) were ordered to balance all that red meat; however kale to me tastes much like weird sea water, which is apparently what kale is meant to taste like. That being said, it did go down better when eaten with the ribs. I really enjoyed the sweet yams, and just wanted to pick them out and eat them alone, though I guess that would defeat the purpose of the green dish.

And then it was dessert time.

As soon as the Apple Pie, cinnamon, spiced rum ($10.0) dish touched down the smell of baked goods and cinnamon filled my nose. Yes. So much yes. Piping hot (don't burn yourself) apple filling tasted just like homemade apple pie. The pastry is quite thin which was disappointing, and a lot of the fanfare was focused on the massively cinnamon-sugared coating. Ultimately it was a very sweet dish, but every time I bit I expected to taste a curry puff.


The Quince & Rhubarb Cobbler ($10.0) had a strong star anise flavour and was heavy on spices. I am not sure if I’m a fan, as there was not a lot of crumble but a lot of stewed fruit and rhubarb. Ultimately I think Mr Big Stuff definitely has stronger savoury dishes, and I may skip the sweets next time I’m back.

TL;DR Soul food is now my jam. I'd wish these guys good luck, but they're not gonna need it.



The Da dined as a guest of Mr Big Stuff.

Mr Big Stuff on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Bowery to Williamsburg

This hidden gem is often overlooked due to the more popular graffiti filled laneways which surround the unassuming cobblestoned street. It is worth the search though, with its intimate seating indoors and out, it definitely feels like a place to go to on a slow day where you want to eat good food in peace.


Settling in, I decided on a FANCY hot chocolate: the peanut butter hot chocolate ($5.0), in the end the peanut was very subtle but the chocolate was still quite dark and delicious. Not only that, but all drinks come with an American style chocolate, Hershey’s Kisses or in this case, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Score!



The special for the day was the Monte Cristo: gypsy ham, swiss cheese with friend egg, water cress & pickled onion salad ($17.0) so I opted for that, despite desperately wanting to nom The Reuben as per a friend’s recommendation. If the brioche bread wasn’t enough, there was also copious creamy smooth mayo, with a bite of mustard to round each mouthful off. The warm melty cheese and ham were great and the side of sweet onions and watercress lifted the flavour of the sandwich.


The Pulled Pork Hash, corn bread, broccoli, rabe, poached eggs ($16.0) was quite interesting. The vegies gave the dish a very Asian feel, though I doubt that was the goal. The pork was well cooked but nothing extremely flavour packed. The corn bread tasted like butter cake which was so strange to have a sweet-ish cake in the middle of the savoury fare. The cake crumbled well and I thought it was a weird addition until the very last bite, where it suddenly went well with the vegies and sweet BBQ sauce.


The Buttermilk waffles, mixed berry citrus compote, lavender marshmallow & whipped cream ($16.0) sounded so good I couldn’t resist. The lavender marshmallow tasted a lot like blueberry but was so pillow soft and unlike the pre-packed kind. There was a nice crispy sugar coating where the whipped cream had fallen so that was pretty cool. The waffle was warm and not too sweet and was complimented perfectly with the compote and whipped cream. The Waffle Club waffles are still better, but this was p. good.


TL;DR Such an easygoing environment and American-style food makes me want to return here, over and over.

Bowery to Williamsburg on Urbanspoon

Monday, 16 June 2014

Jam & Cream


Beautiful whimsical place tucked away in Heidelberg Heights, a friend recommended this scone focused eatery and I jumped at the chance (I do love scones!). The quirky decorations and tempting trinkets that lined the entrance only made Jam & Cream seem all the homlier. It was a very nice touch. As was the pink caravan situated outside!


The menu was plentiful, despite only focusing on high tea type delicacies, and the tea options were as bountiful, so two of us decided to hit the Jam & Cream’s Tea Party which promised “a montage of both sweet and savoury morsels” as well as a pot of tea ($29.50 pp) and the Nanna's tasting platter for two ($28) which gave us ten baby scones and a pot of tea, which was split amongst a table of five.
The cappuccino and iced coffee both looked beautifully presented, though I didn't taste it so cannot comment on the specifics.

So first up was the warm savouries, the home made sausage roll and tomato and cheese quiche. These two were the highlights of the meal, delicious and warms the heart the way only homemade food can. The tomato relish had a nice bite to it and complimented the tasty morsels well.

The pinwheel sandwiches were so pretty and daintily presented, but with very simple condiments such as ham/cream cheese/lettuce and ham/tomato/lettuce and egg/lettuce.

Then our mammoth platter of mouth-watering scones landed. There were meant to be ten varied flavours of scones, with a mix of savoury and sweet, but to be honest I could only identify that stark difference rather than the individual sweet types. I know one was chocolate covered coconut which was delicious, and another was a raisin dotted scone but in the end, with all the jam/cream/honey/marmalade I put on, I couldn’t really tell them apart. They were however, very soft, fluffy and crusty on the outside. The savoury scones were nice, I identified cheese and I put my sweet chilli sauce on them, which was strange but still went down easily. 

I definitely prefer their sweet to savoury but a huge bonus was there were plentiful supplies of jam and cream (and if you asked for more it came with a smile).

By the time our cakes came out I was way too full to enjoy, but they allow for a take away option to enjoy at home! The chocolate cake was lovely and moist; the apple rhubarb crumble was great with the pastry definitely having a buttery homemade feel about it; the passionfruit sponge was baked well with a crusty outer and spongy inner. Loved it!


TL;DR Very cute place to eat some scones outside of the Dandenong Mountains. 
Jam & Cream on Urbanspoon