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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

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

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

Cafe Fidama

2 Jun

Cafe Fidama is an institution in Yarraville.

It was the first place to bring good, quality food to the area and is responsible for Yarraville turning into the cultural hub that it currently is.

I’ve never been disappointed with this place, so naturally this visit was no different.

Veg heads aren’t overwhelmed with options, however the veg options they do provide are always delicious.

The best thing about this place is that they bake their own bread daily and man oh man can you taste the difference.

For my entree I ordered the pan fried Spanish olives

And for my main I chose one of the specials, the hand made gnocchi with a tomato, eggplant and parmesan sauce

The gnocchi was beautiful and a nice change from the gnocchi with butternut sauce that I usually order.

To be honest, the gnocchi combination is all of my favourite things so I had nothing to complain about!

The olives were also tasty, however could have done with some chili perhaps to accompany it.

As I said, I always enjoy Fidama and look forward to my next visit.

Vegetarian options: 4/10
Food: 8/10
Decor/interior: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Cafe Fidama on Urbanspoon

Gravy Train Cafe

29 May

An oldie but a goodie in the West, Gravy Train Cafe recently appointed a new head chef so I thought I’d head down to try the new menu.

I was pleasantly surprised.

I ordered the grilled polenta with artichoke and romesca sauce on a bed of spinach and two poached eggs.

My dish

Mum ordered the three cheese scrambled eggs and my sister ordered the thin crust pizza with potato, caramelised onions and tallegio cheese.

Mum's 3 cheese scrambled eggs

Georgia's pizza

All 3 dishes were delicious! Polenta was soft and melt-in-your-mouth and the pizza had an amazing tang due to the onions.

I also really loved how they actually squeezed fresh juice – in my opinion there is nothing worse than being served cheap, nasty, carton juice!

Fresh orange juice

Would definitely go back! So many vegetarian options for brunch.

Would I go back? Yes
Vegetarian options: 8/10
Food: 8/10
Decor/interior: 7/10
Service: 8/10

Gravy Train Cafe on Urbanspoon

A Pint of Milk

20 May

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – with such great brekky places these days it’s not hard to see why!

For my first Veg Food Diaries assignment my boyfriend and I headed to a new cafe in Williamstown cutely titled A Pint of Milk.

A Pint of Milk

The owners have turned an old milkbar into a hip and modern little cafe that could easily fit into Fitzroy or Collingwood – I loved the big wooden share tables and the wooden bench that surrounded the perimeter of the inside.

Now onto the juicy stuff, I was happy with the amount of veg options, although I must say most breakfast places are usually pretty good with vegetarian selections.

The menu overall was innovative and original. No predictable ‘Eggs Benedict’ or ‘Big Breakfasts’ here.

I decided to order the sweetcorn & zucchini fritters with avocado salsa. I asked for a side of feta and a poached egg to accompany it as well as a green tea.

Cute tea pot

After 30 minutes of still no breakfast and no word from any wait staff (we counted there were 8 staff including the chefs) we started to get edgy and irritated.

I was saddened that a place that had so much potential couldn’t provide basic customer service and let us know what was going on.

The worst bit was the fact the couple next to us who were seated and ordered at the same time as us, were finished and leaving by the time our food came.

Happy to say I managed to put this first mishap behind me once the food arrived.

The presentation was gorgeous and the taste… wow… even better – I ate every last bit.

My dish

The feta was beautiful. It was of a high quality which is really important. I can always taste the difference between cheap and quality cheese. It was creamy and melted on the mouth – perfectly complimenting the flavours of the dish.

The fritters were light and fluffy and the avocado and tomato salsa had a gorgeous tang.

I’m really excited to go back and try the spiced chickpea, cumin & tomato cassoulet with poached eggs, hazelnut dukkah on flat bread and sumac labneh (a yoghurt cheese).

Vegetarian options: 7/10
Food: 8/10
Decor/interior: 8/10
Service: 6/10

Pint of Milk on Urbanspoon