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
Spice Temple / Southbank
My dad’s visiting from Sydney and the lucky man has been staying at Crown Promenade. Being Buddhist and all, we decided we would visit the temple for lunch.
The closest temple we could find was Neil Perry’s immaculate Spice Temple, located in the classier side of Crown. Rumoured to serve the best Yum Cha in Melbourne we couldn’t really say no.
The flawless decor was clean cut and shiny with a modern mix of asian. The ambience was elegant with great attention to detail from all staff. The menu had mouth watering dish titles and even juicier beverages. From lunar zodiac cocktails, housemade sodas to a list of 100 wines.
Starting off with a classic favourite; Sui Mai. Tasty and softer than usual but nothing extraordinary. Dad use to own a yum cha restaurant and said these were a tad lacklustre.
Tingling prawns marinated in fresh green chillies, spring onions, garlic and coriander. Absolutely loved this dish, so fresh and tingly (as the name suggests!) Delicious prawn cooked beautifully and smothered in the goodness of the marinade. Almost ordered another but any more and my tastebuds wouldn’t have made it through lunch.
The Xiao Long Bao’s (Shanghai Dumplings) — steamed beautifully, lusciously soft and flavoursome however they missed the exciting soup filling.
Spring onion pancake, a simple classic. Nice and crispy on the outside while remaining soft on the inside.
Chow Mien. Crunchy noodles, delicious pork mince and salty chilli sauce topped with spring onions.
Caramelised pork spare ribs with sesame seeds. The sticky sauce was succulent, sweet and full of flavour.
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Some minor food blogger and chef dad pickyness but analness aside, a great dining experience in a gorgeous atmosphere. The staff were great, the food was great, and the venue is beautiful.
Bowery to Williamsburg / CBD
I’ve been dying to go oversea’s and visit New York for a while now, but what’s the point when I can just head down to Bowery to Williamsburg — A ‘new’ New York inspired Melbourne Café.
The café really captures the best of both worlds or in this case the best of both cities. With a fast paced New York subway ambience down a grungy Melbourne laneway, who says you can’t be in two places at once. I was tempted with their famous peanut butter hot chocolate but I required my caffeine fix so I got a Padré Coffee from local roaster in Brunswick with a special Hershey’s kiss on the side, almost better than a real kiss, almost.
A plethora of delectable sandwiches was on offer in the NYC deli style eatery. The menu printed on a cool postcard of New York and type set in Helvetica gave the ultimate Brooklyn subway station feeling. The trendy hipsters, cute staff and rainy weather helped too.
From pulled pork, corned beef, schmaltz chicken, pastrami, salami, lox bagels, eggplant, salmon, pickled herring, mushrooms and meatballs, deciding on a sandwich proves to be a hard task. A sandwich on its own is just $12.5, but for $16.5 (+$4) you can get the full experience.
We decided to do just that and got the pretzels, a pickle and a side. With sides such as mac and cheese, pomegranate taboulet, sauerkraut, apple and celeriac slaw how could we resist.
We got the schmaltz chicken with apple and celeriac slaw and prune relish sandwiched between two slices of walnut bread. The chicken was juicy and delicious balanced by the refreshing apple and celeriac slaw while the delicious prune relish added a hint of sweetness.
The macaroni and cheese was delicious and simple. Served in a cute little jar as the side. The small size made it guilt free. Meanwhile the guy beside us ordered it as a main. (No judgement.)
The pulled pork po-boy with cilantro slaw and aioli was yet another amazing sandwich. The pork was flavoursome, the slaw was crunchy and had the right amount of spice.
The freekeh salad was kinda freaky, not really – I just wanted to say that. It was light, refreshing and flavoursome with crunchy almonds and parsley.
I’ve never been a huge fan of pretzels, but they looked nice on the tray and tasted good too.
Hilary and I were so tempted with the gluten free brownie, but after having leftover bolognese for breakfast 1 hour before having lunch here, my stomach disagreed.
I also missed out on trying this baked cheesecake with maple cream that has been raved on about. Lucky Bowery to Williamsburg is just in the city, so I have no excuses not to return! I’ll remember not to eat left-overs for breakfast next time.
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Bowery To Williamsburg
16 Oliver Lane
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
Plantation / Melbourne
Whilst walking through Melbourne Central, this beautiful typeface caught my eye. Instead of pulling my phone out to discover “what the font,” I got a coffee instead.
Despite being in a food court, Plantation cafe seems to have a semi-decent character/feel. The staff are really cool too, down to earth, have a good sense of humor AND good looking.
With specialty coffee and neat branding, this cafe is the perfect getaway from the monotonous hours of retail therapy.
It’s great because the kitchen separates/hides you away from all the commercial chaos.
Tucked away in a little booth with fresh flowers, a nice little spot to pass time.
A carrot cupcake, pretty dry and average tasting but at least it was pretty.
Escape Melbourne Central inside Melbourne Central - Plantation.
Trunk / Melbourne
Trunk is gorgeous. ‘Gorgeous’ includes an elegant chanel-like logo, a unique vintage identity, edgy furnishings, cute décor and cute staff. It’s no wonder I had to go on a photo frenzy and take heaps of pictures.
The outside is as cute as it is inside, the clean brick walls, the warm outdoor heaters, the luscious plants and nature, all have a very sophisticated but homely edge. This hidden gem is perfect for Friday after work wine downs, and sloshy/sexy Saturdays. A vibrant atmosphere any day of the week in this fabulous area.
The venue includes a lot of different/unique areas catering any occasion. We were after a quick lunch so unfortunately, we couldn’t see the whole place. We headed strait to the casual Diner.
The diner has that classic, industrial make-shift feel, using wood and steel inside a container, but keeping it a bit more sophisticated and polished. I also love the fact that it is exposing natural air and light in a beautiful open environment.
The outdoor seating is very arty, very green, very open, and very awesome. They have quite a few seating options available, all with a brilliant vibe to suit almost any occasion. I love the bee illustrations/art on the wall.
I thought the “honey-garden” was just some awesome art branding, but then this cute little creature came and said hello, I named him Beyoncé. Turns out they really do have rooftop honey gardens. Which is friggin awesome.
They have a signature burger on the menu so we got it. The Burger has, fresh ground wagyu, brioche, red onion, baby cos, and house made pickle. All for only $10, you can add extra’s as well for around $1.50, I added some delicious sautéed mushrooms, divine. Great value for money too.
The plating up was a bit different, you kind of had to assemble the burger yourself, but only lazy bitches would care, I thought it was very quirky and unique-loved it. The pattie was delicious and cooked perfectly, and although the burgers are quite ‘petite’ they were actually quite filling. Love this place and will definitely be back for more! You should totally get drunk at Trunk like a punk, because this place has a whole lot of funk. I should be a rapper.
03 9663 7994
275 Exhibition St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Grasshoppers Feast / Melbourne
Grasshoppers Feast is one of my favourite breakfast places in Melbourne. It’s a fairly new restaurant, hiding in one of Melbourne’s laneways, but I found it.
I love this place is because they grow their own tomatoes! Not only does it look sexy-sleek behind the counter against the wooden wall, but it also means some of their veggies they use are fresh and directly from their own garden! (Duh!)
This restaurant offers such a warm and modern ambience with friendly staff giving great service. I love the lady, she always has such a warm smile on her face. The seating and furniture is all very modern and sheek.
Bacon and eggs on toast, if this is what grasshoppers eat, I want to be a grasshopper. (Get it, the restaurant name is Grasshoppers Feast?) I’m not very good with jokes, sorry. Kyle got this dish, it’s a simple breakfast but i’m sure it was delicious too. The bread looks so fresh and so does everything else on that plate.
I know I should stop ordering Eggs Benedict Atlantic, but I can’t help it. It’s one of my favourite breakfast dishes, and Grasshoppers Feast make it well, the hollandaise sauce is deliciously balanced, the egg is cooked to perfection and the salmon and spinach is tastes so fresh and flavoursome.
03 9663 8404
Shop 13 The Causeway
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Na Siam / Melbourne
After saving up a few dollars by skipping a couple of meals, I could finally afford a cheap dinner out. So Luke and I headed across the road to the local Thai takeaway restaurant. I know it’s takeaway restaurants aren’t amazing, but it beats the effort of budgeting $5 cooked meals at home with missing ingredients, risking dissatisfaction and or depression. Na Siam’s menu is simple, you can choose a dish quickly and get it over and done with.
The owners were friendly. They don’t seem to get a whole lot of business so, this made it comfortable for a quick and casual after work dinner, not being surrounded by dumb people (after long hours of dealing with people at work.) Stark takeaway ambience, almost like a waiting room, but thank god I don’t have to do the dishes.
Thai Red Curry, I didn’t get food poisoning and it was only $8.90. Who can complain with that? They also went to the extra effort to dish it up in proper plates and bowls this time, (It was plastic last time,) perhaps it’s because they saw me taking photos of the whole place - or maybe they are just nice people. Oh and the curry was pretty tasty too, creamy, and flavoursome. Value for money.
Somewhere on King Street
Raymen Ya is located down a secret hideaway lane down Melbournes GPO. Famous for their Ramen, which is a Japanese style noodle soup.
Postal lane provides a great environment, the busy little lane has a ‘fast paced Melbourne’ ambience. The lane provides a good selection of outdoor and indoor seating.
This was my first visit, so I decided to go with their specialty “Charsu Ramen”. Charsu is thinly sliced pork. I got it in a ‘meal’ which included pan fried gyoza and green tea (real green tea, not the crappy stuff). The gyoza was the perfect little entree. Crisp and tasty.
The ramen had flavour, but a little bit salty for my taste. I also would have preferred my egg to be soft boiled, but it was hard boiled. That’s me being forking picky though, I enjoyed the meal/experience. I was with great company (Nick), and ramen is the perfect meal on a rainy/cold day. The bento boxes also looked amazing, perhaps that’s what i’ll try on my next visit!
03 9654 5838
25G Melbourne GPO 350 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Dancing Goat Cafe is just around the corner from my apartment. With good reviews and mentions in The Age Good Cafe Guide, this place was a must visit. I’m not going to lie, this cafe is a bit cute, small and unique with a comfortable atmosphere. With a huge selection of newspapers and magazines available to read, I feel like I could pass time here quite easily.
On arrival I asked to see the lunch menu, I was a bit disappointed to hear that they only had cabinet food. There wasn’t a huge selection, and the choices were either carb based (sandwiches, pannini’s, foccacia’s) or salads. I was convinced to give it a try.
I’m trying to cut down on carbs, and I couldn’t decide on which salad to pick so I got a bit of both. Pumpkin, feta, chickpeas and spinach for one half, and a beetroot, parsley and almond salad on the other. I was worried how well the pumpkin, feta, chickpeas and spinach would go together but to my surprise it had a great flavour and freshness, the pumpkin added the good level of sweetness, and the sprouts and greens balanced the heaviness of the chickpeas and pumpkin. The beetroot and almond salad wasn’t too bad either, a bit plain in comparison but fresh and light and let’s not forget, healthy.
Great Coffee too, and they do specialty roasts if you are interested. Cute place to pop into for lunch, a coffee or time out.
Dancing Goat Cafe
Gigi calls themselves a sushi bar, yet they are run by Vietnamese and the Vietnamese style is evident throughout. Not the best sushi, and the food tastes more chinese/vietnamese than Japanese.
Although the furnishings look modern, i’m not too sure about the colour scheme. The antique olive green paint and highlighter chopsticks clash. There is also a lack of hygienic throughout, dirty cutlery and cups.
I got the Teriyaki Udon. These had an overpowering odd flavour, a bit too salty, and didn’t have the teriyaki flavour at all. They tasted more like Hokkien Fried Noodles. The sushi is dry and flavourless.
Gigi is cheap, and the food is average. Acceptable if you are on a low budget, but other than that, you have no excuse. Don’t expect Japanese food here, if you feel like Japanese, there are much better restaurants close by.
Don Don is the fastest Japanese takeaway available in Melbourne. It is located next to Melbourne Central on Swanston Street and is known to serve super fast Japanese food at a very low price. With generous servings, Don Don won’t leave your wallet, or your stomach empty.
Perfect place for a quick lunch. Not a great deal of seating or a spectacular environment, however the have a couple of tables on the street which is great for people watching on a sunny day. The service is fast, you can expect to get your Bento Box or Hot Bowl Meal faster than you can say antidisestablishmentarianism, and with prices below $9 for every meal, you have no excuse to go hungry.
I guess now it comes to the important part, the food. It’s cheap and not nasty. It wouldn’t be my first choice for Japanese food but if you are running tight for time and low on cash, this place is great. Fairly tasty, and a lot healthier than your average fast food. My Bento box included Teriyaki Chicken and Beef Sukiyaki, both tasty… ish.
Quick but not fancy, Don Don has a lot of business as they offer a healthier and convenient alternative to fast food.
03 9662 3377
321 Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Affogato Espresso Bar is a cute vintage style cafe located down Hardware Lane in Melbourne, with good food, good coffee, and a cute barista.
The furniture had that funky oldschool, vintage, recycled feel to it. They carried that style throughout their crockery as well. This place gives a very relaxed vibe and a comfortable atmosphere, perfect if you need to take a break from the real world.
I got the grilled chicken with capsicum salsa, at $16.50 great value for money. A light and guilt-free meal. The ingredients were fresh and the dish had a nice simplicity to it. Amy got the tandoori chicken pizza, which made my dish taste a little bland in comparison. Food envy. It had a great flavour and body, not too cheesy with a nice balance of spice. I also got a cappuccino, which was delicious. Did I mention that they have a cute barista?
Affogato Espresso Bar
03 9642 5593
29 Hardware Lane
Petaling Street is a restaurant specializing in Malaysian hawker food. A variety of cheap and authentic Malaysian food, ranging from chicken satay skewers, whole steamed fish, laksa, to lemon chicken or sweet and sour pork.
The restaurant in Chinatown is brand new, with new furnishings made from wood, giving it a natural earthy feel. The service was average. Rumour has it the Swanston street venue is not as nice, and the Glen Waverley one does better food. The chain tends to be inconsistent between all venues, so be careful when choosing the right one, as you might not get the same experience.
For a starter I got some satay chicken skewers, these were tasty. The satay sauce had a rich authentic Malaysian style to it, good. I also got the chilli egg and shrimp on rice. This dish wasn’t bad but it had nothing to brag about. The sauce was a bit too sweet and watery, and not enough spice. There was a lack of elements in the dish, minimal veggies/egg. Just some shrimp, a lot of sauce and some rice.
I have mixed feelings about this restaurant, as the food was not too bad, but didn’t have the x factor I was looking for. Maybe I will need to visit again for a true indication of what it is like.
Petaling Street China Town
03 9650 8878
1F/188 Little Bourke St
Melbourne CBD, VIC 3000