Food

Flavour Exchange Spring 2015 Special Offer

Flavour Exchange-140

Melbourne’s Flavour Exchange Spring 2015 is here and with it comes the exciting opportunity to sample some of Victoria’s finest wine, beer, cider and food. With over 50 exhibitors all under the one roof, Flavour Exchange provides a wonderful opportunity to go behind the scenes and meet the producers, winemakers and growers behind the products. Each ticket entry comes with 14 tasting tokens along with a premium tasting glass to take home. So here are the details:

When: Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th September 2015

Time: 4:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: The Atrium, Federation Square

Cost: $36.60 online and $38.00 at the door

But wait! Since you guys are so awesome and are reading this post right now (thanks for that!), I’d like to share with you a  2 for 1 deal! All you need to do is go to Ticketek and enter in the following:

Password for Thursday: TH241

Password for Friday: FR241

Hope to see you there!

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar – Dessert Degustation

8 Whiteman St, Southbank 9292 8300

 

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Chiboust, exaggerated blackberries, basil sorbet, hazelnuts, hazelnut oil, mint chocolate and puff pastry

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Lychee and pine nut tartare, white chocolate, raspberries, gruyere cheese, lychee bubbles and poached raspberries

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Mandarin and yogurt ice cream balls

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Chestnut honey yogurt, milk crumb, scorched ruby and pink grapefruit poached in elderflower, elderflower jelly, caramelised seville orange, peach/honey/yogurt sorbet and orange isomalt sugar

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Housemade dulce leche mousse in a mango glaze, mango poached in kaffir lime leaf, oat cookies, dark ale granita and a multigrain crouton

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Dark chocolate sauce, milk chocolate cremeux, dark chocolate frozen soil, pistachio crumb, strawberry sorbet, dried strawberries and strawberry dust

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Complimentary take home chocolates: Raspberry milk chocolate & Yuzu and chai dark chocolate

Overall:

I simply LOVE dessert. I am one of those people who always has room for something sweet. So when we decided to come and sample the new dessert degustation menu at Mr. Hive, I was very excited. And I must say, the dessert here did not disappoint.

The dessert bar was overseen by pastry chef John Demetrios, for whom I have a lot of respect. Previously the pastry chef at Circa, he was responsible for some of the best soufflés that I have ever tasted in Melbourne. As we sat at the bar and watched him at work, I marvelled at how quick and neat he was at assembling all the delicate little pieces and tiny details that made up each dessert. Although I thoroughly enjoyed every single dish that John created, the stand out elements for me were the basil sorbet (strikingly fresh with a strong basil flavour), the mandarin yogurt ice cream balls (which were lightly scorched before being served so that the ice cream inside was soft and bursted with flavour once you bit into it) and the dark ale granita (beautifully refreshing).

Note that the dessert degustation menu changes weekly every Tuesday and that the dessert bar only seats 6 people so bookings are recommended.

 

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Big Lou’s Donuts

318 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 0407 007 166

 

 

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Thoughts:

Bear Claw – an enormous claw shaped donut that had an apple pie like filling and a sticky vanilla glaze. This monstrous pastry was bigger than my face, making it perfect for sharing = Good

Vanilla slice – a custard and cream filled donut covered in a thick layer of sugary icing and drizzled with chocolate = Not bad

Cookies and cream – this donut was PACKED full of cream and was topped with crushed chocolate cookies = Not bad

 

Overall: The actual texture of these donuts is different to those found in donut chain stores. The donuts here are more dense and chewy (similar to bread) as opposed to being light and airy. Worth trying if you happen to be in the area.

 

Big Lou's Donuts on Urbanspoon

Spilt Milk

288 Neerim Road, Carnegie 9571 8880

 

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Donkey

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Cow

Thoughts:

Donkey – overcooked poached egg, bacon (not the crispy kind) and fresh spinach on sourdough, served with spiced capsicum aioli = Not bad

Cow: baked eggs with fatty chorizo sausage, plenty of fetta and herbs served in a pan, with chewy light rye bread and sweet tomato relish on the side = Not bad

 

Overall:

The menu here is fun and unique as all of their dishes have been named after various animals. Portions however are quite small, as is the place, thus seating is limited. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is cosy. Just note that there is no restroom here but they are in the process of installing one.

 

Spilt Milk on Urbanspoon

Porgie and Mr Jones

291 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn 9882 2955

 

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Smashed avocado with thyme buttered mushrooms, marinated feta, basil and poached egg on wholegrain toast

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Shakshuka – two eggs slow baked with spiced tomato, silver beet and feta

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Toasted banana bread with maple syrup mascarpone, fresh banana, berry compote and crushed pistachio

Thoughts:

Smashed avocado – absolutely delicious! Mushrooms were bursting with flavour, egg was perfectly poached, the toast was thick and fresh, and the marinated feta added a slight sharpness which balanced out the creamy avocado = Excellent

Shakshuka – the slow baked eggs mean eggs that look poached, but are actually cooked all the way through. This dish was full of spices and went well with the warm pita bread = Good

Banana bread – more like banana cake than banana bread (was moist and light). I liked how they incorporated slices of banana in between the two slices of banana bread which made the whole thing taste a lot more fresh = Not bad

 

Overall:

A great place to have breakfast/brunch as the food here is fresh and tasty. There are three main dining areas: the quirky hipster room (wooden benches, funky artwork), the formal dining rooms (known as the “good rooms”) and the bright garden terrace. Service was average and note that this is a cash only place.

 

Porgie and Mr Jones on Urbanspoon

Big Boy BBQ (Caulfield)

764 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield South 9523 7410

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The New Yorker

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Big Boy Smoked BBQ Meat Platter

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Sides

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Peanut butter cream pie with chocolate ganache

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Condensed milk and banana ice cream

Thoughts:

The New Yorker – layers of salty herb infused beef pastrami, melted swiss cheese, mustard and pickles on toasted rye bread = Good

Big Boy Smoked BBQ Meat Platter – beef brisket, pulled pork scotch fillet, pulled lamb shoulder, beef pastrami, ½ rack of pork ribs, ½ rack of lamb ribs and chicken wings. So this menu option comes with 3 jumbo sides but for some reason we got 5 sides (not that I’m complaining).  The sides we got were crunchy chips, onion strings, coleslaw, potato salad and corn bread. Now the menu said that this platter could feed between 1-6 people. Imagine one person eating all of this by themselves. Yikes!

So all the meat at this place is slow cooked and as a result has a salty smoky flavour.  Apart from the pulled pork scotch fillet (which was quite spicy compared to the rest of the meat), everything tasted very similar after a little while once it was covered in the sweet BBQ sauce. As for the sides, the crunchy chips were extremely crunchy (in a delightful way), the onion strings were mostly just deep fried batter, the coleslaw was fairly average, the creamy potato salad had a nice tanginess to it due to the pickles and the corn bread was quite sweet (which I suppose is normal for cornbread) = Not bad

Peanut butter cream pie with chocolate ganache – deliciously creamy with a great balance of peanut butter and chocolate ganache = Good

Condensed milk and banana ice cream – came prepackaged in a little container and tasted like condensed milk mixed with banana Nesquik (ie. had a very artificial taste to it) = Not bad

Overall:

The place to go to if you want to have a break from eating vegetables and instead indulge yourself in a lot of meat. Although the food here is not exactly amazing, the concept of having slow cooked food that is served fast is different and interesting. (Their meat is smoked at low temperatures for up to 16 hours, hence the food isn’t hot but warm when it is served). The staff here are young and friendly and the atmosphere is very casual.

Big Boy BBQ on Urbanspoon

Stokers Coffee Lounge

1033 Heidelberg Rd, Ivanhoe 9497 4488

 

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Raspberry and white chocolate pancakes

(All the pancakes here look pretty much the same hence the one photo)

Overall:

The pancakes themselves were quite thin (almost crepe-like), made fresh to order and had a variety of fillings available (both savoury and sweet). The atmosphere was dim and cozy with wooden tables and benches scattered around, an old wooden upright piano sitting in a corner waiting to be played and an open fireplace in the middle of the room. Although the food and the service here is average, this place is open until 2am (except on Sundays when it is until midnight), making it a great place for a late night nibble.

 

Stokers Coffee Lounge on Urbanspoon

Spring St Grocer

157 Spring St, Melbourne 9639 0335

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Overall:

When you see a crowd lining up for gelati on a FREEZING cold WEEKDAY night, you just know the gelati is going to be something special. The gelati flavours on offer are forever changing, but what remains the same is that they are always intriguing and unique. The ones we tried were:

  • Turmeric, Cardamom and pistachio
  • Salty caramel and chocolate
  • Banana and Dulce de leche
  • Goat’s curd, pear and walnuts
  • Yogurt elderberry
  • Pandan, coconut and lime

The one I enjoyed the most was the Pandan, coconut and lime as it tasted refreshing and tropical, and the flavours complemented each other really well. My least favourite was the Turmeric, Cardamom and pistachio flavour as I found the cardamom taste to be too overpowering. Even so, it was still pretty good.

I can’t wait to go back to this place on a hot summer’s day.

 

Spring St Grocer on Urbanspoon

Acland St Cantina

2 Acland St, St Kilda 9536 1175

 

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Salted caramel ice cream churros tacos

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Triple chocolate & chilli trifle with passionfruit

Thoughts:

Churros tacos – I initially thought that this was going to be a mix between a churro and a taco but it turned out to be churros dough that had been piped out into a round flat shape. As it turned out the combination of warm cinnamon churros, cold salted caramel ice cream and crunchy praline, drizzled with dulce de leche sauce was just terrific = Excellent

Trifle – comprised of a passionfruit jelly-like layer, a chocolate mousse layer, a more dense chocolate layer, a scoop of some sort of sorbet (i couldn’t tell what is was because my tastebuds were overwhelmed by all of the chocolate!) and shaved white chocolate on top. There was no taste of chilli at all though. Maybe they forgot to add it? Nonetheless, a rich creation that I would recommend for any chocolate lover =  Good

 

Overall:

I have walked past this place so many times never realising that there was a restaurant here. So we were given the choice of either dining in the brightly coloured retro front area or the dark modern candle lit back area. We decided on the back area as that was where the crowd was at, including the DJ who was happily doing his thing in a dim corner. Service was good but the noise level here was considerably loud so this is not the place to go to for a quiet catch up. Dessert wise, this place was absolutely delectable.

 

Acland St. Cantina on Urbanspoon