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El Burro

8 Oct

My hometown, Williamstown, has been described before as a gastronomic wasteland.

Harsh words yes. But sadly mainly true.

Being such a popular tourist spot, the place is littered with joints serving poor quality, pub style parmas and chips and cafe food at its worst.

So when El Burro, a tiny restaurant serving Spanish tapas opened in the heart of the tourist trap Nelson Place, it was met with excitement and hesitation by locals.

For too long locals have ventured out to sample what Willy has on offer and subsequently been stung too many times by woeful service and food to match.

How do I know this? I was one of them! Until El Burro changed my opinion completely.

The staff here actually, surprise surprise, give a damn about the food they are serving. They also care about the customers. Each time they have  gone out of their way to make sure my friends and I were always enjoying ourselves.

Fried goats cheese with mint and beetroot salad

There are heaps of vegetarian options, even a vegetarian paella which is pretty hard to come by.

The standouts for me though are the pesto and parmesan arincini balls served with rocket and aioli, the fried goats cheese balls, the amazing sangria and the churros with chocolate dipping sauce.

Parmesan and pesto arancini balls

El Burro has become a frequent local hang out for my group of friends and I, hence why there are so many photos over lots of different times!

Potato Salad with poached egg

Beetroot salad with fetta

Pumpkin, rocket, goats cheese and pinenut salad

'Bambi' cocktail

Homemade dips with bread

Olives

Churros with chocolate dipping sauce

Creme Caramel

Monday nights are $8 tapas nights and the weekend lunches are all $8 tapas as well. I’ve also tried their cocktails which are awesome on a Saturday night before heading out.

I fully recommend getting down to this place not just for the great food, but because we should be supporting local businesses that care about the stuff they’re serving!

All of the frustrated Williamstowners will understand where I’m coming from.

Vegetarian options: 7/10
Food: 9/10
Decor/interior: 7/10
Service: 9/10
El Burro on Urbanspoon

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Mopho

8 Oct

There’s nothing I love more than a superb noodle dish.

Unfortunately, I find few places in Melbourne really pull their weight in the noodles department.

My prayers were answered when Mopho came along.

Tucked in a pokey lane near Chapel St and off Toorak Road is the relative newcomer with awesome interior, furniture and lovely staff.

I have been a few times now, each time sampling the different veg options and each time leaving full and satisfied.

Okay, yes I am aware, I was just ranting and raving over the noodles at this joint, then I blog about the silken tofu dish instead?

This is partly because I forgot to take photos of the noodle dishes I have had there and partly because the silken tofu dish is just so damn good, you have to know about it!

Now the dish is served with all kinds of gorgeous things as well as a delicious sauce that goes great over the brown rice they serve on the side.

There is a healthy amount of vegetarian options, with quite a few of the noodle dishes happily prepared meat free.

Vegetarian options: 7/10
Food: 8/10
Decor/interior: 8.5/10
Service: 9/10

MoPho Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Mizusu’s

7 Oct

Mizusu’s is a wonderful little Japanese cafe nestled in the heart of the gorgeous South Melbourne. It’s both a restaurant and a take away shop with yummy Japanese tapas.

I’ve visited it a few times and each time I can’t go past the mixed vegetable stirfry with tofu and cashew nuts with sweet chilli sauce.

I complete the meal with a serve of their delicious biodynamic brown rice and a green tea.

Perfect!

Stir fried veggies & tofu with sweet chilli sauce

Biodynamic brown rice

Japanese green tea

Edamame

Vegetarian options: 6/10
Food: 7/10
Decor/interior: 7/10
Service: 7/10

Misuzu's on Urbanspoon

Le Chien

7 Aug

Le Chien has fast become a foodie/critic’s favourite.

Which is great for me because it’s situated in Seddon – nice and close to get to!

There are three things you’ll notice on your first visit.

1: the awesome art deco on the walls.

2: how BUSY this place is!

Le Chien place is ALWAYS full. Be prepared to be squished against the window on the bar stools or wait about 10 minutes for a table.

And 3: Le Chien make a mean breakfast.

I have been there on numerous occasions and each time I have (embarrassingly) ordered the same thing because it is so damn good!

I order the Promite Special – poached eggs, avocado, tomato on sour dough toast and I order some extras of feta cheese and homemade onion jam.

The feta cheese is to die for! So soft and creamy.

My dish

This is my favourite dish, hits the spot every time and it is the PERFECT hangover cure.

Mum orders the scrambled eggs with chilli on sourdough with sides of avocado and onion jam as well (if you visit you MUST get the onion jam!).

Scrambled eggs

I’m usually pretty hesitant to ever order scrambled eggs at cafes because they usually come out overcooked and I like them soft and mushy. Le Chien get the balance just right – perfect scrambled eggs.

I probably will venture out and try something new soon, but in the meantime Le Chien’s consistency means that I am always sure I am going to have a great brunch.

Vegetarian options: 7/10
Food: 8/10
Decor/interior: 8/10
Service: 7/10

Le Chien on Urbanspoon

Bill’s

4 Aug

Bills is a breakfast institution in Sydney and it’s not hard to see why.

There was a wait for breakfast at 10.30 in the morning! Okay, it was a Saturday, but still, being told to wait 20 minutes just to get a table with about 30 other people waiting for breakfast is crazy!

Once we were in and the food was served all was forgotten.

The pancakes were to die for. Not exaggerating when I say they were probably the best pancakes I have ever had.

For $17.50 the ricotta hotcakes were served with with fresh banana and honeycomb butter and I asked for some strawberries on the side.

Ricotta Hotcakes w/ strawberries

Rumour has it the pancake mix is made and thrown out 3 times with the next batch used as the mix to be served.

Again, crazy. But that’s Sydney dining for you.

I also had the Sunrise Drink: orange juice, banana, yoghurt and berries, very tasty.

My sister ordered the sweet corn fritters with roast tomato and spinach – minus the bacon with a side of scrambled eggs.

Fritters

The fritters were tasty but the scrambled eggs – oh my god. Soft, fluffy and creamy. Beautiful.

It is pricey for breakfast – but as you can tell by my review, if you are looking to indulge in the most important meal of the day look no further.

Looking forward to my next visit to Sydney just so I can have some of those amazing hotcakes again!

Vegetarian options: 7/10
Food: 9/10
Decor/interior: 8/10
Service: 7/10

Bills on Urbanspoon

Orange

19 Jul

I heard about Orange through the trusted Broadsheet restaurant directory (download the app if you have an iPhone/Pad – it’s perfect on the run when you are in an unfamiliar suburb and you’re hungry!).

I dined at Orange after returning from Europe and I must say, it simply felt like I had walked into another gorgeous, old world Parisian cafe!

The wooden furniture, the dark and moody atmosphere and the jazz music gave me de ja vu.

Anyway on to the food.

There weren’t many vegetarian options in the mains section of the lunch menu, however there were a few options in the entrees and most of the starters/grazing options are vegetarian and would make a great tapas lunch.

I had freshly squeezed orange juice with the potato gnocchi –> tomato, basil, basil, balsamic reduction

Potato Gnocchi

and a side of truffled mash potato.

Truffled Mash

The food was nice and satisfying.

The meals I picked contained all of the ingredients I love, however there was something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.

It missed that certain je ne se quoi that gives food its wow factor.

If I head back I will be keen to try some of the grazing options which look great but I didn’t get a chance to try. Also they had an all day breakfast menu which admittedly looked like it had some great food on it.

Vegetarian options: 7/10
Food: 6.5/10
Decor/interior: 8/10
Service: 8/10

Orange on Urbanspoon

Cafe Advieh

19 Jul

Apologies for the delay in adding new posts – I have been overseas for the past month. Rest assured I have a tonne (well, not a tonne) of eateries to review from Melbourne and, for something different, Sydney!

When I found out there was a place nearby serving Middle Eastern breakfast, I was intrigued and promptly headed down to give it a try.

I had high hopes, given it was located in Gamon Street, Seddon which is home to some great restaurants and cafes.

Also, Middle Eastern cuisine tends to have lots of vegetarian options so I didn’t bother trying to find a menu beforehand.

I was definitely not disappointed – Cafe Advieh is a hidden gem!

Everything produced in the family run restaurant is home cooked by the Mum with the children working the floor.

The Middle Eastern decor and the fresh mint tea really sealed the deal!

Mint Tea

The breakfast was delicious and the servings were generous.

On my first visit I ordered the Advieh Breakfast –> fried eggs, turkish bread, haloumi, roast tomatoes, olives, cucumber and lemon – delicious!!!!

Advieh Breakfast

My mum ordered the Open Avocado –> turkish bread, avocado, feta, tomato & basil leaves (not very Middle Eastern, but yummy none the less!)

Open Avocado

On my second visit I was enticed by the falafal plate (falafels with a choice of 3 salads in the salad bar + tzatziki + hummus)

Falafal Plate

Fair to say each time I loved my meal and left feeling satisfied and healthy as the dishes are so light and full of vegetables and legumes!

If you’re on the run they also have a take out bar with many Middle Eastern freshly made delights such as: salads, falafels, tzatziki, hommes and much more.

If you are in the area I HIGHLY recommend giving this place a go. I’ll probably see you there!

Vegetarian options: 8/10
Food: 9/10
Decor/interior: 9/10
Service: 8/10
Cafe Advieh on Urbanspoon