Brother Thomas / Melbourne
Brother Thomas is one of the city’s newest additions. Although this is their first café, Brother Thomas has been supplying delicious coffee beans to some of the lucky café’s in Australia for around 2 years now. Located in the corporate outskirts of the CBD (on the corner of Williams St & La Trobe), getting here is just a walk in the park, if you’re coming from Flagstaff Station.
We were lucky enough to meet Jerome, the father of Brother Thomas. He was down to earth, good looking and had an obvious passion for coffee. I tried the house blend which was rich smooth and delicate and it paired perfectly with the best milk in Melbourne. (St Davids Dairy) With that combo, every sip was bliss.
The pale concrete and blonde timber provides a soft and calming ambience. Arrangements of plants, dangling light fittings and the subtle touches of sky-blue gives a sophisticated and friendly look.
Delicious sandwiches, tarts, pies and other treats are on display to kick up your appetite. The friendly staff can help you pick something if you’re very indecisive like I was.
The waitress recommended the beef cheek pie with a nicoise salad and tomato relish. Tender pieces of slow cooked beef cheeks cooked in delicious spices. The relish adds that bit of kick every Aussie needs with their pie.
My friend Alice got the mushroom tart (also recommended by the waitress) which was equally as delicious. Served with a deliciously sweet beetroot relish, which gave the perfect balance to the dish.
The ambience, the food, the coffee and the staff made this a great experience.
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With Brother Thomas in town, there’s no excuse to drink instant coffee or eat stale sandwiches at your office anymore.
Corner La Trobe St & William St
White Guy Cooks Thai / Food Truck
White guy cooks Thai is an interesting concept coming out of a food truck. Once you let go of the racial pre-conceptions and smell the delicious aromas (minus the exhaust) you realise the food is pretty good. Perhaps it’s because the mastermind white guy (Simon) is married to a Thai woman. Korean bul-go-gi, gyozas, fried chicken, spring rolls and banh mi are just some of the delectables available.
Crispy prawn banh mi with asian slaw (coriander, lightly pickled carrot, cabbage and bean sprouts.) Deliciously crunchy battered prawns surrounded by fresh veggie goodness, every bite was delicious.
Pork belly banh mi & crunchy spring rolls served on asian slaw. Petite spring rolls are the best, crunchier and a lot easier to eat… almost too easy. The delicious slivers of pork belly were crispy yet tender and full of flavour.
A food truck that serves KFC? What more could you want. It get’s even better when it’s not the usual greasy badness from the fast food chain. This korean fried chicken is just as flavoursome, served on asian slaw dribbled with Japanese mayo. And you only need to feel half as guilty.
Just like all the other food trucks, they might have their regular spots but you might need to do some stalking before you get your hopes up. Twitter usually does the trick. (@whiteguythai)
White Guy Cooks Thai
Food Truck (Various locations)
Tom Thumb / CBD
From those trendy fella’s who brought us Clement Coffee and Dutchess of Spotswood — This ‘hole-in-the-wall’ espresso joint has got it all going on.
The boys are experts in creating the upmost trendy places serving fine coffee and delivering a joyous experience. The menu at Tom Thumb includes classic breakfasts, fresh sandwiches for lunch, and delicious sweets.
Great coffee from Clement Coffee is served featuring their PONY blend and a single origin. The first sip is a pleasant reminder of how coffee should taste; delicate, smooth and delicious. The rest is just bliss.
The ‘hole-in-the-wall’ expands to a cosy upstairs area which became my office for a couple of hours. A perfect thinking spot for me, a perfect making-out spot for the couple behind me and an intimate catch up spot for the old ladies on the other table.
The spiced pork sausage with a fried egg on sourdough was nostalgic. It hugged my tastebuds and warmed the cockles of my heart. A simple menu that tastes home-made without all the hard work. Serving classics such as, toast, muesli (organic), fried eggs, baked beans, crumpets and the latest rave — Truffles.
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So whether you are looking for a perfect thinking spot, a place to make out, or catch up with your old ladies – Tom Thumb is the place. Rumour has it they could be opening at night time soon too! Stay tuned.
53 Flinders Lane
Sushi Hotaru / CBD
I think Sushi train is an incredible invention, a fun and clever way of dining. Back in Christchurch, I had a favourite sushi-train, and I may have just found my Melbourne favourite – Sushi Hotaru.
If you search through the Red Silks arcade, you will find Sushi Hotaru hiding away in the corner like the shy kid at school. Once discovered, you will realise that this little sushi bar is far from shy.
There was a bit of a queue when we arrived, but the sushi looked too good to go anywhere else. Around 30 minutes later we finally snatched up a seat. The ambience was busy, fun and vibrant.
All dishes were very affordable at approximatley $3 a plate. They had a good selection on the “train” but for those impatient types, they also had a state of the art iPad menu where you could select made to order dishes without hailing down a waiter. My thought was – every Asian restaurant needs one of these!
The fish quality here seems to be a bit dull compared to my homeland, New Zealand. The salmon nigiri was so-so, but bearable with enough soy sauce and wasabi.
The Japanese have seemed to have mastered seaweed like the British have mastered potatoes. This seaweed salad wrapped in seaweed was delicious.
My favourite dish was the tataki beef nigiri. The beef was cooked beautifully – tender and moist.
Sushi Hotatu’s tako yaki/octopus balls are very delicious, and I love it when the katsuobushi (fish flakes) makes the dish look like it’s alive.
Some of the dishes and fishes were kind of obscure. I didn’t know what half the stuff on the train was, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
We also ordered some ramen off the iPad menu, it was great because it’s a much more affordable way of lining the stomach rather.
When I said the beef tataki was my favourite dish, I was lying. The Scampi supersedes all the sushi plates with its mesmerising features. The flesh was tender, silky, and melted right in the mouth.
The mounting dishes by the end of the meal demonstrated the immense satisfaction that was endured.
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Overall, it was a tasty and affordable start to the evening. The bill revealed itself at approximately $20 a head, just enough in the budget for dessert. The black sesame and green tea ice cream here looked beautiful for dessert, but perhaps we’ll save that for next time. (We went somewhere else for dessert, find out in my next blog post!)
Shop 118 200
Bourke St Melbourne, VIC
Wat Da Pho / South Melbourne
Wat Da Pho, a newish Vietnamese restaurant located in the heart of South Melbourne. Authentic Vietnamese cuisine with a specialty in… Pho! If you love Pho, you’re in for a treat. If you don’t know what Pho is, you’re also in for a treat and if you don’t love Pho… who are you?
The decor sets this place apart from your typical pho restaurants around Melbourne, mostly spotted in Richmond, Footscray or Springvale. The menu also offers something more simple, Vietnamese food noobs, you can’t really go wrong as there is only 3 entree’s, 3 types of Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and 3 desserts.
They have chosen to dress this place up nicely in a cheap-but-not-nasty kind of way. Traditional ingredients, photo’s from Vietnam, pots and pans are just some of the elements used to give this place a modern feel and also tie in the roots of their business - Simple yet delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
The ambiance was warm and casual. The furniture and cleanliness is a lot nicer than the cheap nasty plastic you get in Chinatown or other cheap asian restaurants.
Pineapple & Passionfruit Smoothie - A great drink to start off with as Vietnamese cuisine is quite light. This was refreshing and delicious. Perfect for a hot day, and a generous portion for $5.50 They also do some alcoholic smoothies which i’m yet to try, but they sound
equally more delicious.
Condiments are a big deal in Vietnamese cuisine, its great to see they have an abundance of fish sauce, hoisin sauce and the best Sriracha ever (Huy Fong Foods). I could not live without that stuff, and it works perfectly as a Pho topping. Just looking at the condiments was enough to get my tastebuds excited.
Step aside taco’s, you have some competition. Rice paper rolls seem to be the hottest new food in Melbourne recently, with multiple vietnamese restaurants capitalising on the rising popularity of rice paper rolls. Good on them I say, as the more rice paper rolls we get, the happier and healthier we are!
Nick and I had to get all the rice paper rolls, mainly because I ordered. Lemongrass pork, prawn and chicken avocado. They were all delicious, my favourite one was the prawn, although it was the smallest, not sure if it was meant to be. The hoisin sauce was a bit boring compared to other places, it would have been nice to see some crushed nuts in there. Anyway, it’s not about the sauce, the verdict comes down to the rice paper rolls, luckily they were fresh and delicious and only left me wanting more. They had a vegetarian/tofu one too which I am yet to try! Let me know how it is.
Condiments aren’t the only thing in Vietnamese food that really makes the meal your own. They often have fresh vegetable add-ons served to the side so you can add as much or as little flavours as you like. Bean sprouts, thai basil, vietnamese mint, fresh cut chilli, and lime.
This was for the Pho. We got the delicious rare beef pho. Fresh flavours and good quality ingredients. I felt like I could ‘trust’ this food a lot better than a typical asian joint down Chinatown.
The broth was light and refreshing. The noodles were cooked well, and the beef was nice and tender. The bean sprouts added a nice little crunch while a bit of pepper seasoned the soup. I went a little overboard with the condiments, as I always do. Be extra careful with the chilli, it can get quite hot. It’s a lot easier to ‘add’ flavour than it is to ‘take away.’
We also got ‘Da Sticks’ Honey sesame chicken on rice. They were tasty and well seasoned. Simple.
Thank god I don’t have to travel into the city for Vietnamese food anymore. Wat Da Pho definitely brings something different to South Melbourne and it looks like all the other Vietnamese restaurants need to step up their game. Welcome to my stomach Wat Da Pho!
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Wat Da Pho
212 Clarendon Street
Etto / South Melbourne
Melbourne’s hottest new pasta joint ‘Etto,’ has opened up in my local area and i’ve fallen in love. Coming from a graphic design background, this sexy branding caught my attention.
After setting such a high standard from their branding, I was anxious to see how good the food would be. Despite seeing similar typography/branding around, Etto has a unique style and a great sense of authenticity in delivering the best ‘Italian street pasta’.
Pasta is one of my favourite things in the world, so I was excited to see a place which specialises in fresh pasta.
Cute simple interior with a modern design, seating around 10 people inside. The ambiance was laid back and warm with a fun, family friendly environment.
Outside seating available for rush hour or outdoor friendly days, although I think majority of the customers choose the take-away option. I wouldn’t blame them, as the food comes in a trendy brown paper bag. Perfect for lunches, dinner, or an afternoon snack if you’re a fatty.
The beautiful typography is carried all the way through their branding, with the menu including info-graphics of pasta. The deal is - you pick your pasta, and then you pick your sauce to stir through, or a salad. It’s impossible to go wrong, as everything in the menu looks delicious.
There’s no need to fear if you don’t know what “rigatoni” or “pappardelle” or “tagliatelle” is. Etto has fresh pasta all labeled or info-graphicised for your learning pleasure. And if you’re still stuck, i’m sure a little bit of human interaction won’t hurt. The staff here are very friendly.
Lauren got the smoked salmon and roast capers with dill, rocket and lemon infused olive oil with desiree potato gnocchi. I had a few bites and was in gnocchi heaven.
Gnocchi was ultra fluffy and moist, and sauce was deliciously flavoursome. I would have chosen this sauce if I liked rocket - it’s one of the very few ingredients I am still learning to like.
Justine ordered the basil and pine nut pesto in a light cream sauce with toasted herb pine nuts. Delicious pesto flavour and once again a delicate light and fluffy gnocchi.
Pesto has a tendency to be quite rich, which was also applied onto this dish. I personally love pesto, and enjoyed the 3 spoonfuls I managed to steal.
My choice on the menu was the smoky pancetta carbonara with crunchy breadcrumbs in a light white wine cream sauce. I got it with spinach tagliatelle. No regrets, and a rare occurrence - no food envy!
A great carbonara sauce, with excellent texture and crunch added by the breadcrumbs. The sauce was light and creamy and releasing a beautiful flavour without overpowering the delicious smoky pancetta. The spinach tagliatelle added a bit of green to the dish to make it a bit ‘healthier.’
At first glance, I judged the serving size as it was tiny and was immediatley dissapointed - however, by the end of our meals, we full and very satisfied. The girls even had about 4 gnocchi pieces left over (which I ate of course.) At around $12 a dish, this pasta is great quality and excellent value. I will definitely be back to try the rest of the menu.
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Etto Italian Street Pasta
251 Clarendon Street
Bacon and Egg Muffin
My boyfriend made me this. Super cute and ultra delicious. If you need to impress someone, I highly recommend feeding them this. Note: Even tastier whilst hungover.
Mekong / Melbourne
Mekong. I’m not going to sugar coat it. The shittest place I have ever been in Melbourne. Don’t get me wrong, not all the food is bad and some people love it here. Hell, even my boyfriend likes this place, however my first experience at Mekong was bad enough to make it my last.
The environment is authentic, but stale - with tacky condiments on tables, laminated menus and unclean cutlery. Apologies for the half eaten food pictures coming up, it was a Saturday night and I was drunk.
Check those tits. I mean the rice paper roll. Lauren wanted vegetarian rice paper rolls but they didn’t have any left. So she ordered four prawn ones, but they only had two left. Obviously not made fresh, obviously too lazy to make any, obviously crap service.
Spring rolls, pastry was a bit heavier than expected. You can get better spring rolls elsewhere.
Grilled pork on vermicelli. This was my dish, simple but tasty. I enjoyed it because I was hungry and drunk. Don’t know if I would in any other state.
I think this was rare beef noodle soup / Pho. Classic vietnamese dish. Nothing wrong with the dish but there was nothing extraordinary either.
Grilled chicken on vermicelli, obviously not grilled for long enough. Undercooked chicken was enough to put the whole table off their appetite.
Vegetable noodle soup. Here’s the slippery slope to customer dissatisfaction. A piece of plastic bag in a dish. Who knows how long that poisonous plastic bag would have been brewing in that boiling soup for.
Mekong has proved to serve some good-ish dishes and mentions on other blogs, however I think the ad outside saying “Bill Clinton had 2 bowls, how many can you handle?” must be a complete lie. I don’t know why anybody with more than $50 in their bank account would come here.
If you want to risk food poisoning or near death by choking on a plastic bag for the sake of mediokre food, Mekong is your place.
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Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam
03 9663 328
241 Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Sichuan Dining Room / Melbourne
Sichuan Dining Room, a casual chinese restaurant we visited for dumplings.
As noted, casual ambiance. Beware of plastic table cloths. Fairly cheap menu, fairly average service, as expected in Chinatown.
Justine thought it was a bit ambitious ordering 30 dumplings between 3 of us for a late “afternoon snack.” No regrets. Crispy, tasty dumplings. Lined my stomach perfectly just before dinner.
Craig insisted we have a healthier option as well, so we got these boiled dumplings. They were flavorsome and juicy with a simple broth. Pan fried dumplings were definitely more popular.
We ordered dumplings, a fairly fail-safe dish, achieved satisfaction. The other food looked good too, but not as good as other Sichuan restaurants in Chinatown.
Sichuan Dining Room
03 9663 5472
Mid City Arcade - 194-200 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
5 Stars Vietnamese / Christchurch
5 Stars Vietnamese Restaurant is the best Vietnamese restaurant in Christchurch, and i’m not just saying that because my mum owns it. A warm welcoming ambiance with a very casual and cheap menu.
Fresh Spring Rolls/Rice Paper Rolls. Whatever you like to call them, they are divine, fresh, healthy and the sauce is amazing!
Sugarcane Prawns, if you have never tried these, I highly recommend you do.
Bánh xèo, is a traditional vietnamese savoury pancake, filled with a mixture of things. We had pork, prawn, bean sprouts and fresh herbs. Delicious and filling. The sauce is amazing.
Spicy seafood pho. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with rice vermicilli noodles.
Rare beef pho, this broth was deliciously flavorsome.
Lemongrass Chilli Chicken, beautiful fresh flavours as expected.
If you’re looking for a nice, cheap, healthy, BYO restaurant, 5 Stars is the best. Say hi to my mum.
5 Stars Vietnamese Restaurant
Blok M Cafe / Melbourne
The cafe I chose to go to was packed for lunch, so a few meters down Little Bourke St, I found this express Indonesian eatery, called Blok M.
Blok M was fairly quiet, but the dishes looked good on the wall so I gave it a chance.
A casual ambiance wit a low-key cafeteria feel. Perfect for students/low budgets. The walls are filled with information about Blok M, in Jakarta, the main inspiration behind this restaurant.
A great menu full of Indonesian dishes at a very affordable price! You could go for the classic nasi goreng or mi goreng, but I dare you to try something different.
I got the Ayam Balado (Chicken Balado) - The sauce is incredibly tasty, a great amount of spice, balanced by a flavorsome sweetness. The chicken had a delicious crunchiness to it, assisted by the traditional-indo fried onions.
03 9600 2534
380 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Shanghai Noodle House / Melbourne
Shanghai Noodle House is one of many little chinese restaurants in Chinatown. It’s a pretty cool place to go for a quick lunch. “Nothing fancy” - in the good cheap asian-nothing-fancy way.
Cheap ambiance, like most things from China but I like it. It means they are real/authentic, as long as the food tastes good, who cares about the cheap furniture, the hello kitty aprons and mis-spelt menus.
These pan fried pork dumplings were standardly good, but maybe try the steamed prawn ones, I heard they are amazing.
Roast duck on udon noodles and bok choi, interesting presentation. Flavorsome dish, fairly cheap, and satisfying.
Shanghai Noodle House
03 9662 9380
242 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Hako Sushi / Prahran
Hako Sushi a cute express Japanese/Korean style eatery on Chapel Street. When I walked in, I noticed the staff were Korean, so I was excited to eat some. (The food, not the staff.)
A few things to choose from on the menu, all quite cheap!
A fast/takeaway kind of ambiance, the venue is small and narrow but the natural light and view makes you feel less claustrophobic. Lucky it wasn’t too busy.
I got the jae yook bokum (spicy pork) bento. The same dish on rice (Don) was $11, and the bento box was $11.50, so I made the most logical decision. The spicy pork bento came with salad, vegetarian sushi, tempura, wasabi, pink ginger, miso soup and one measly strand of seaweed salad. The spicy pork was delicious, a great flavor and a good amount of spice. I didn’t care much for the other sections of the bento box, as they were all quite bland and boring, and I only got one little slither of seaweed salad.
03 9529 6498
234 Chapel St
Prahran, VIC 3181
Pancake Dessert House / Melbourne
Pancake Dessert House. A place where no-one orders pancakes or dessert, nor is it a house. At least the bi-line was a bit more accurate, but it’s not like you’re suppose to take that seriously either, as it’s set in Comic Sans. Typical confusing chinese branding.
Not a single Caucasian in sight, the ambiance is very “contemporary asian fast food,” so I guess they nailed that one right. A very young asian vibe, and a comfortable spot for an express lunch, if you’re asian. (White people will stand out.) A lot of delicious chinese dishes on the menu for a very cheap price, I forgot to check if they did pancakes or desserts.
I was tossing up between the lemongrass chicken on rice or this house special pork chop on rice. The lemongrass chicken was served with a little bit of green to the side, and a pan fried egg on top of rice. The pork chop was served with sauce and rice. It was so boring compared to the chicken dish the customer next to me had! #foodenvy. The pork chop was nice and crispy, flavorsome too. The sauce was like sweet and sour sauce combined with black bean sauce and onions. I enjoyed it but I wish I had ordered the other dish instead!
Pancake Dessert House Eatery
03 9663 1400
18/200 Bourke St
Veg Out Time / South Yarra
Veg Out Time is located near the fashion precinct of Melbourne known as Chapel Street. #Fabulosity. Eating vegetarian at least once a week is not only good for your health, but also helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions. This vegetarian chain offers quick vegetarian curries and other canteen style vegetarian food.
I accidentally ordered 2 different tofu curries. Butter tofu (Indian), and Yellow tofu (Thai). They had great flavour in the sauce. I don’t mind tofu but this was too much, tofu overload. I should have been wiser and selected a different dish that was tofu-less, or maybe it was their fault for giving me too much tofu.
Veg Out Time
03 9827 7570
366 Chapel Street
South Yarra, VIC 3141