LUNE Lab

When it comes to croissants LUNE is, without doubt, the most well-known store in all of Melbourne, and perhaps one of the most well known in the world courtesy of this New York Times Article. I’ve enjoyed croissants from LUNE many a time.

From their humble cult beginnings when people line up at 5am for the chance to take home up to 6 classic and twice baked croissants, LUNE has expanded significantly. At their now, not so new, location there’s no need to get there first thing in the morning unless of course, you’re angling for a particular special flavour. There will still be plenty of traditional croissants and a selection of other treats like the ham and gyure croissants or a twice baked almond croissant ready for you to pick up or eat in even at 11am.

At this point, I think most Melbournians who are serious about pastries have tried LUNE at least once. However, LUNE Lab is a bit more of a mystery. I must admit that I was a little bit sceptical about paying $60 (plus booking fees) for what I thought was essentially just three croissants. However, it would be more accurate to describe this as a pastry degustation with all you can drink coffee and hot chocolate.

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LUNE lab somehow feels very exclusive and inclusive. Patrons sit at the counter away from the crowd and lines, but at the same time, the space is still very much shared by the croissant making cube and customers coming in and out.

It was still very early in the morning so a Flat White was in order. This was milky and easy to drink. The beans are sourced from Small Batch in North Melbourne and in line with LUNE’s ethos of supporting local small-scale producers. I could have done with a coffee that was extracted a little bit more and stronger, but I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t start too strong, as there was still time for more drinks.

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The first course for every single LUNE lab is always the same. It’s a classic croissant, ten minutes from the oven, which according to the people at LUNE is the best time to have them. They offered us our choice of croissant, from crunchy to soft. It seems that most of the people preferred crunchy croissants. Whereas I picked one that was a combination of soft fluffy pastry on the inside and crispy layers on the outside. There was a distinct difference between Ryan’s crisp croissant and my combination croissant. The contrast between the soft warm buttery inside and flaky crust was heavenly. Eating the plain LUNE croissant is always a must and it’s even better served fresh.

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The rillette danish completely took me by surprise. This was described as LUNE’s take on a sweet and salty dish. The fruity caramelised jam on the side being the sweet component and the rillette the salty. In the danish was a perfect square of the most succulent pork rillette I have ever had in my life. Even though the meat was brimming with juice somehow the pastry stayed crispy the entire time. After this dish, I’m seriously considering having rillette with croissants instead of baguettes from now on!

To go with this I helped myself to the filter coffee. Usually, my heart lies with milk coffees, but the filter was LUNE was excellent. It was distinctly fruity and just bold enough to carry the flavour of the beans without being overpowering.

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I think everyone left out a collective gasp of amazement when we saw the towering ice cream sandwich. Apparently, ever since LUNE Lab started, the owner has wanted to put an ice cream sandwich on the menu. This certainly looked the part. Buttermilk ice cream is sandwiched between two identical rounds of sticky, sugary, crispy pastry. Saying that this was messy to eat is an understatement! Everyone on the table took a slightly different approach to digging in.

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I found that the easiest way was to cut it in half and then eat with my hands with reckless abandon. Puffed rice added a little bit of crispness. The slightly sour raspberry and mild ice cream melted into each of the layers of pastry. Personally, I could have done with a more assertive tasty ice cream, but this was a whole lot of fun.

Mork hot chocolate rounded off the sweet course. I had a soy hot chocolate whereas Ryan ordered a standard milk. Ryan actually started drinking the soy hot chocolate and was none the wiser until the second cup arrived and we were told that was actually his. I was shocked at how satisfying and creamy the soy hot chocolate was.

While dining you can order as many LUNE croissants as you want for take-away. There’s something satisfying about being able to grab the last few limited edition or new croissant offerings without ever having to wait in line.

Despite my initial reservations, LUNE lab delivered on all fronts. Sitting in LUNE for an hour and a half really gives a very unique perspective on the whole croissant making process. The staff are more than happy to answer any burning questions you might have and you get to observe the meticulous process of croissant making all the while you fill your stomach.

lune lab fresh

Website

Lune Croissanterie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

P.S It’s been a while since I posted about the food scene in Melbourne. You might have noticed that I’ve also been blogging less frequently. These past few months I’ve been very busy, but hopefully I’ll be able to post a lot more during the Christmas break!

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All C’s cafe

Did you notice that there’s a lot of tasty things that start with the letter C. For example, cake, cookie, chocolate, coffee, crepe and cafe? The people behind All C’s cafe were smart enough to pick up on this and run with it.

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Located on the second floor of a fairly non-descript building in Koenji, All C’s cafe also brings another C word to mind: Cute. The interior looks like the candy covered house in Hansel and Gretal bought to life. Every corner is covered in cute candy decor. You don’t need to go on this adventure alone either because there’s also plenty of cuddly bear friends. I named my new friend Alberto, even though I’m sure he already has a name.

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Ryan’s chai latte is one of the cutest drinks I have ever seen. The smiley boy surrounded by frothy milk was almost much too cute to drink. Ryan showed much more fortitude than I did, and tucked right in. It was pleasantly spicy, sweet and milky.

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For some reason, it seems like my standard tea order in Japan was almost always apple tea. This cup was so large it almost seemed like a bowl. Although it came with sugar, the fragrant apple lent the tea enough sweetness already.

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After some deliberation, we settled on the pudding trio. I was a little disappointed to see that they were using frozen fruit on the fruits pudding. However, this feeling quickly faded when I tasted the actual pudding. It was shockingly smooth, silky and just eggy enough to be full of comforting flavour, but not too much so that it tasted like scrambled eggs. My favourite was the slightly bitter walnut and shortbread topped pudding. The caramel was slightly more bitter and the crunchy biscuit and nuts provided a really good contrast to the soft pudding.

All C’s cafe also offers cookie decorating classes and party plans. I have a feeling that if I lived in the area I would be tempted to check them out! For now, I think it suffices to say that no matter where you are in Japan it’s possible to stumble into a cute corner like this one!

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Website

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House could be the most photogenic cafe in all of Tokyo. As the name would suggest Aoyama Flower market is actually a florist. They have locations all over Japan, but the tea houses are found only in Tokyo.  Every surface is adorned with fresh seasonal flowers that change weekly.

Aoyama

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From the outside, the original Aoyama Flower Market Tea House looks like any other florist. The only way you can tell that it’s a cafe is from the line of Japanese girls waiting to get in. I’ve heard that the line can be somewhat excruciating, but I was determined to wait it out and see this cafe for myself. Perhaps it was because we visited on a weekday, but a short but very warm 20-minute wait later we were promptly seated.

 

The weekly theme was delphiniums. Each table had at least one cute little pot next to or on the table itself.

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I felt like something light so the  Tea House Salad was my choice. Initially, I thought that the entire sprigs of herbs would be too overpowering, but after making my way through this plate I found the whole thing very well balanced. The creamy but tangy dressing really brought everything together. I do still question the inclusion of the biscuit pieces in the otherwise fresh salad.

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Ryan loves sandwiches. The Roast beef sandwich on the lunch menu jumped out at him. Perhaps it’s because western style sandwiches tend to be meatier and more substantial but Ryan wasn’t all that impressed with the actual sandwich. Instead, he really enjoyed the carrot salad on the side! No mean feat considering Ryan isn’t usually one to order salads.

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Vacation tea tasted of tropical fruits. Although no sweeteners were added I found that the fruity flavour didn’t need anything else to bring out the flavour. I can imagine myself sipping this iced or hot, leisurely by the beach in a tropical country. The Iced House Tea helped cool us down on a hot day but otherwise wasn’t as remarkable as the other drinks.

 

 

 

Flower Parfait is the piece de la resistance of the whole cafe in my opinion. Delicately flavoured rose jelly sits atop crunchy biscuits and granola. The top is liberally sprinkled with even more flowers and a scoop of ice cream plopped on top. This struck the golden ratio for parfaits. Each mouthful was a contrast of textures, flavours and temperatures. The somewhat unusual addition of jelly really made it stand out.

Akasaka

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Unusually for Japan, Aoyama Flower Market tea house in Akasaka has an abundance of alfresco seating. When the weather is good you can lounge around outside, in amongst the beautiful flora and watch businessmen and trendy Tokyoites pass on by. Whereas the Aoyama location is dominated by girls chatting, I feel like this could be the right place to go on a date. The almost European feeling outdoor seating and hushed interior warmed softly by a couple of street lights and recycled lamps are positively romantic.

Unlike Aoyama, this location also has a couple of more substantial dinner offerings and a dinner menu that offers a main, drink, mini dessert and a small bag of flowers to take home!

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Farm Bowl or perhaps more accurately translated as a field bowl. I would describe this as a healthier version of taco rice. Spiced minced beef with tomatoes is placed on top of a generous serving of rice. The real stand out of this dish was actually the vegetable leafs! They tasted incredibly fresh and provided a crisp and refreshing bite when mixed with everything else.

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Vegetable gratin or more literally, baked pasta. Ryan was super happy with this dish because it was covered in delicious melted cheese, which can sometimes be a bit of a rare commodity in Japan.

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One of the most popular choices at Aoyama Flower Market Tea House is the French toast. The Mini French toast is a good way to try it without having a whole serve. Although the small size doesn’t have the same fruits and flowers scattered atop the dish, the actual French toast is still a winner. It’s soft, slightly eggy and sweet enough even without lashings of syrup.

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Mini shortcake is much more normal as far as desserts go. The cherry on top was delicious as was the cream, but I expected a little more from the cake. It was soft and easy to eat but was a little bit bland.

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Fresh Herb Tea is one of the signature drinks at all the tea houses. To my understanding, it’s really just a combination of herbs steeped in hot water. I was a little surprised at just how much the minty lemongrass taste came through. Ryan had another tropical tasting tea with mango flavours. This was also another great choice.

As part of the dinner set menu, we got to take home a small bunch of seasonal flowers. I was so happy to get a cute bag of hydrangeas, as they really encapsulate the rainy season and are some of my favourite flowers. It was a real shame that we were flying back home the next day and couldn’t take them with us! I passed them on to the girls at the hotel reception desk instead, and they were very thankful!

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The decor and menu of both cafes are different enough to warrant a visit to both locations. However, if I had to pick just one I would recommend Akasaka. The late hours and spacious outdoor seating mean that you probably won’t have to wait in line for a table. The lack of other people also made for a much more subdued and relaxing atmosphere.

Tokyo has no shortage of themed cafes and restaurants. After going to a few you’ll see a trend. The more overt the theme is, the worse the food. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much from Aoyama Flower Market Tea House culinary wise, thinking that it would be more about the pretty decor. However, the food was almost as beautiful and tasty as the flowers were gorgeous.

English Website

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Berry Parlour by cafe comme ca: Ikebukuro

On previous visits to Tokyo, I’ve always liked staying in Ikebukuro. It’s on the Yamanote line, connected with a lot of major train lines, bustling with activity but not as overwhelming as Shinjuku or Shibuya. In some ways Ikebukuro is a perfect crossroads for tourists, it’s full of shops, themed cafes, entertainment and anime and manga goods.

More importantly, there’s also plenty of good food. It’s well serviced by heaps of casual eateries and ramen stores, but this time I had something sweeter in mind. Most people who are are familiar with the area will immediately think of Milky Way Cafe for cute and colourful parfaits. As much as I enjoy the galaxy themed cafe I was on the search for something a little more refined.

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Berry Parlour by Cafe Comme Ca isn’t the sort of place that you can just stumble upon while looking for food. It’s located on the 7th floor of the Seibu department store. In amongst a floor of expensive glassware and tea ware is a rather inconspicuous cafe.

The atmosphere is hushed. Most of the noise comes from the soft classical music in the background and the chit-chat of the sophisticated looking ladies enjoying their leisurely afternoon. If it weren’t for a single High School student and her mum also tucking into a parfait, I probably would have felt entirely out of place.

There’s a small selection of cakes, but I think everyone knows that the main drawcard is really the parfaits. These are some of the most beautiful fruit parfaits I have ever seen. Each piece of fruit is sliced meticulously to create an impression of blossoming flowers when looked down from above. The mango parfait, in particular, was almost too perfect to eat.

Perhaps as an Australian I’ve been spoilt. The mangos didn’t have the same fragrant sweetness as the mangos I’m used to eating by the boxful in the height of Summer. However, mangos are pretty rare for Tokyo, so for most Japanese people just being able to try this parfait would be a bit of a luxury.

That aside, each delicate piece of fruit was so consistent. There wasn’t a single blemish and each differently cut slice was so similar in texture it was almost crazy. The soft slightly sweet cream was a good addition that didn’t overpower the fruit or the crunchy cereal. The sour passionfruit coulis on the side was a pretty addition but not necessary.

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I’m going to admit that Mont Blancs are one of my least favourite cakes. They seem to be ubiquitous in Japan but something about the sugary chestnut paste usually puts me off. The strawberry mont blanc seriously made me reconsider my stance. The fresh berries and cream cut through the chestnut. This was especially good with the cereal, as each mouthful was crunchy, sweet and juicy all at once. The raspberry coulis could be added if at any point it got a touch too sweet or dry. As beautiful as the mango parfait was, I’m going to have to concede that this really was the standout parfait of the day.

Berry parlour is just one of the many Cafe comme cas in Japan. Whereas the other cafes tend to focus on tarts and cakes, Berry Parlour’s short menu has parfaits front right and centre. Sophisticated but not unapproachable, Berry Parlour is the perfect introduction to high end Japanese fruit, high end Japanese parfaits and fancy knife work.

Tabelog link
Website

Padre Coffee East Brunswick

Padre Coffee is a big name in the Melbourne coffee scene. After a little bit of research, I also learnt that Padre means father in many languages. It seemed appropriate to be visiting their East Brunswick store where it all began with my very own father (and mother). As soon as I entered the store the heady smell of coffee beans filled the air. It all makes sense as soon as you see the coffee roaster on premise.

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The large latte arrived in a bowl! This is my mum’s favourite cup of coffee, smooth and strong without a trace of acidity. On the other hand, a regular cappuccino comes in a normal cup. The froth on top is just as beautiful as that of the latte!

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I had a Yunnan green tea instead of coffee because I was still feeling a bit unwell. I appreciated how they took the time and care to brew a proper pot of green tea, instead of just filling a pot with boiling water like some cafes are wont to do. It was a touch too cold, on the lower end of 70 degrees perhaps due to not sufficiently warming the pot or cup.

For such a large venue there’s not much in the way of food, but that’s just fine because the real focus is on the coffee. That’s not to say that the small selection of pastries isn’t delicious. We shared a flaky ham scroll that went perfectly with the coffees.

Adjoined to the cafe, there’s also a veritable cornucopia of coffee making supplies. If you’re in the market for anything coffee related or even just a cup (or bowl!) of coffee this is the place to go.

padre coffee

https://shop.padrecoffee.com.au/
Padre Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

By Josephine

I’ve never been to Paris before. However, if it is anything like By Josephine I can see why so many others are enamoured with it. It somehow manages to be effortlessly classy and whimsical all at once. The interior would look perfectly at home in a shabby chic Pinterest inspiration board. The pastry display is offset with a beautiful glow of light. I daresay it would be impossible to walk in and leave empty handed. In fact, I also bought a canele and pistachio and raspberry croissant for later!

By Josephine high tea

On this occasion, I was partaking in a leisurely high tea with friends. The high tea offers a wide selection of drinks, from tea (hot or cold), coffees and even juice. It’s hard to go past a traditional pot of hot tea when sweets are involved. The Detox Tea was pleasantly somewhere between green and herbal tea.

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A selection of macarons accompanied the tea. The flavours were pistachio, chocolate and salted caramal. In terms of flavour the pistachio was my favourite, but it certainly doesn’t beat the black sesame that By Josephine also puts out. Impressively, all the macarons at By Josephine are made by hand rather than machine!

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As always savouries were on the bottom tier of the stand. The chicken & tarragon pain au lait looked incredibly inviting, with a glistening sheen to the pain au lait bun. I liked the bursts of tarragon but found myself wishing that the bread was a little bit warmer and softer. Palmiers remind me of my childhood. I loved going to the bakery with my parents and picking out the largest and flakiest palmier covered with sugar crystals to snack on. Biting into the tapenade & sundried tomato palmier was just like revisiting that joy but as an adult. The cheese gougère is definitely one for cheese lovers. The rich goat’s cheese sat neatly in the light choux pastry. I don’t entirely remember what the square pastry was, but I will say that it reminded me of a pizza in the best way.It wouldn’t be a French high tea without a buttery quiche to help round off the savoury plate.

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The top most tier contained a small pot of lavender infused crème brûlée and cubes of grapefruit marshmallow. I am a bit of a sucker for home made marshmallows and lavender so it was a nor brainer that I would love both of these. Thankfully the crème brûlée was flavoured with a light hand so it didn’t taste soapy.

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That just leaves the middle tier of even more sweet treats! Pistachio bread and butter pudding with raspberry coulis and custard on top was a wonderful twist on an old classic. I imagine this would be even better served warm straight from the baking tray. Spiced biscuits were a surprise hit! Crispy and full of warm cinnamon flavour, I could have easily eaten a handful. The raspberry and chocolate tartelette was probably the richest part of the whole tea. I struggled to finish everything else after eating this. So much so that I ended up taking the rose & raspberry tea cake home to give to my mum.

The 3 tiered stand was so full that our madeleines didn’t fit on! Sadly this means that I forgot to take a photo of them. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that they were small, cute and perfect dipped in tea.

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By Josephine also offers a vegetarian and gluten free high tea menu. The gluten free set that my friends shared looked likewise plentiful and delicious.

At $42 this high tea a real bargain for the incredible selection of food! In eschewing the usual scones and sandwiches By Josephine makes every item in the high tea seem exciting and different. My only real gripe is that it only includes one drink. In typical French style, there is plenty of butter and some of the foods are very rich so it’s a bit difficult to finish them without a drink to offset the heaviness. I found myself ordering another pot of peppermint tea halfway through tea service.

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P.S. On the website it states that high tea is only for the duration of 1.5 hours, but this doesn’t seem to be strictly enforced if the store isn’t busy.

http://macaronsbyjosephine.com.au/
By Josephine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Operator 25

How do you keep in touch with people who you no longer see regularly? A sad part of adult life seems to be losing touch with friends. Sure, you can see what they’re up to on facebook, instagram or other social media but there’s nothing quite like catching up in person.

In a similar vein, how often should you touch base with a good cafe or restaurant? I’ve admitted time and time again that when it comes to food I’m not one for commitment. I can’t bring myself to visit the same places again when there are so many new ones to try. Even so, sometimes I feel that from time to time I should check up on places that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps it serves me right when after a year, they’ve totally changed the menu and replaced all the old favourites.

I didn’t have any of this in mind when I re-visited Operator 25 after a long absence. However, upon reflection, it seems appropriate that I would finally go back here with a good friend who I had also not seen for too long.

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Not only was it unseasonably warm, but I had also power walked over to the train station in order to get to brunch on time. As a result, I chose to eschew my usual warm tea with an iced elderberry tea with chia seeds and orange slice. The tea had a pleasant citrus taste and wasn’t too sweet. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the chia seeds was, but they added an interesting if somewhat unnecessary textural element to the drink.

Orange Juice was ordered by both my dining companions. It was freshly squeezed, so if you let it sit for too long it would seperate a bit, but a quick stir and the taste isn’t really affected at all.

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I dithered between the chia pudding and the Japanese open omelette, before eventually settling on the omelette. What arrived was more of a thin pancake of egg with a generous dash of many of my favourite Japanese ingredients. I found that the octopus was a bit too tough and toothsome and the sauce a touch overpowering, but that aside the flavours were on point.

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As for the teriyaki benedict, the mizuna leaves weren’t a sell but the soft brioche and yuzu hollandaise definitely won hearts.

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My friend polished off the Balinese pork burger first. After the last bite, he paused and commented that it was ‘good, real good actually’. In my books that’s high praise. Although Operator 25 no longer serves this burger with a side of sweet potato fries, I’m not sure if you need them considering how indulgent this already looks.

Even though I hadn’t been to Operator 25 in years it’s funny how I trusted that it wouldn’t let me down. This visit was everything that I had hoped it would be; somehow striking a balance between the new and familiar. I’m inclined to hope that my friendships will be the same, even if time and distance keeps us apart.

http://www.operator25.com.au/
Operator25 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Two birds one stone

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for many reasons. It helps kick start your metabolism, sets the tone for the rest of the day and just helps you refuel. More importantly for me, without breakfast, I get real hangry, real fast. By the time I arrived at Two Birds One Stone, it was a little past 2 pm. I had already had a mini tantrum in the car ride over and was ready to eat almost everything in sight.

Never mind the beautiful high ceilings, large glass windows, and spacious booths, I only had one thing on my mind when I walked in: food.

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I get the feeling that Two birds one stone is not bringing their coffee making A game on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, but even so, the Flat white was rather ordinary. The Earl Grey Tea fared a lot better and instantly perked me up. A touch of milk and sugar helped round out the over steeped cups as the pot was almost emptied.

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Rare yellow fin tuna, with potatoes, green beans, olives, tomatoes, aioli and a crispy fried poached egg was really just a rather upmarket salad nicoise. Not that you’ll catch me complaining, seeing as I love salad nicoise. Biting into the fried poached egg was s bit of a pleasant surprise, as the crispy crust was well seasoned. You can’t really go wrong with so much fresh produce on a plate. As expected the vegetables were bursting with flavour if a touch too oily at times.

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The Reuben: corned beef, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut with seeded mustard mayonnaise on rye. This is one of the better Reubens that I have come across. The cheese was perfect with the sauerkraut. In fact, I happily ate the crusts of the sandwich with just the sauerkraut and rye and didn’t miss the beef at all. Each bite was a great balance of flavours, so much so that the gherkins weren’t needed for palate cleansing. Instead, they were just pleasant to munch on.

Both these dishes were on the pricier side for relatively small portions. It’s almost to be expected when you consider that Two Birds One Stone is located in South Yarra. I’m sure that if I was a local, who could afford the houses or the rent in the area I would be happy to make Two Birds One Stone my local cafe. For now, I’ll just bookmark it as a place that serves tasty and satisfying brunch fare, but there’s nothing that’s urging me to revisit.

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www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au/
Two Birds One Stone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hash Specialty Coffee

Hash is actually a cafe that I have brunched at many a time. This is pretty unusual considering that my ever growing list of brunch venues is always pulling me to unexplored places. On my first two visits to Hash I was rather underwhelmed with the food and service; but the last two times I was fairly impressed with everything on offer.

On one visit my mum ordered a Latte in a large cup. She was a bit miffed that a large coffee only comes in paper cups, but it would have to do! She commented that the coffee was not bad; nothing to write home about but not bad either.

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English Breakfast Tea is served in a very cute iron tea pot and with a timer. I find that sometimes the staff will tell you how long to brew your tea, and at other times they will just leave you to your own devices. I really appreciate the timer, but I wish that they would give you somewhere to put the leaves so that it doesn’t oversteep after the perfect first cup.

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No visit to Hash is complete without ordering their famous Hot Chocolate. Drinking this is a whole lot of fun. The fluffy cloud of fairy floss is quickly dissolved into the warm chocolate. The hot chocolate isn’t actually all that sweet, with most of the sweetness coming from the fairy floss. It is very chocolatey and rich, but not particularly creamy.

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Chorizo and Scallops. The Chorizo was smokey and slightly spicy whereas the scallops were soft sweet and tender. The herbed bread that sat underneath everything was a real surprise. It was soft but toothsome enough to hold the flavour of the egg and chorizo. This is the sort of bread I would buy loaves of, diet be damned. That said, although the individual components were great nothing in this really came together to form a cohesive dish.

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The Spiced Pumpkin Salad was a veritable mound of pumpkin, greens, pearl barley and pepitas. The sesame dressing really completed the whole dish, complimenting everything from the barley to the cherry tomatoes. It was a bit too early in the morning so I didn’t finish everything, but I’m sure that this would make for a very satisfying lunch.

Back when Hash first opened I actually had one of their first iterations of this salad. It was just large wedges grilled of pumpkin with little else of interest. The salad that I had on my latest visit really shows just how far they have come. The menu and dishes are a far cry from those early days.while the famous drinks have stayed largely the same.

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If I was the sort of person who was looking to learn lessons from my dining experiences, it would be tempting to conclude that I shouldn’t knock people or places back to a few bad first impressions. Even if the first few visits to a new cafe are a bit off, with some time, they may well have ironed out the kinks and been polished into a gem. Seeing as I seem to be rather resistant to life lessons, I’m just happy to conclude that Hash is another place that I would be more than happy to brunch at again.

https://www.facebook.com/hashcoffeeroasters/
Hash Specialty Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mina no ie

With a name like Mina no ie (meaning everyone’s home) this unassuming venue seems to have lofty aspirations. Although mina no ie isn’t exactly what my ideal home would look or feel like, the large windows, wide tables and open space invite relaxation and lingering. You would be forgiven for thinking that Mina no ie is far away from the inner city crowds, but this quiet, contemplative space is merely a short stroll away from the main Smith Street drag.

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Before I get into what we ordered, I’ll just say that I was completely smitten with almost all of the cutlery and tableware used. If I had my own place and all the money in the world, I would probably buy a set of everything. Just as well I don’t, because there’s also an adjoining store that sells some of their wares. If you’re a little bit more cashed up than me I recommend that you get a little bit of everything, or at the very least a set of knives, spoons and cups.

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The scent of Genmai Cha always reminds me of walking down Kawagoe and passing by tea stores roasting brown rice for this tea. The genmai cha at mina no ie had a pleasant roasted flavour that didn’t overpower the more delicate green tea. It also had the bonus of being presented in this charming teapot and cup set.

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I was feeling a little under the weather so the House made lemon ginger tea seemed like an obvious choice. It was everything I wanted: sweet, comforting, warming and full of good things.

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Soba with onsen egg and kake tsuyu was Ryan’s choice. The tsuyu was strongly flavoured. When accompanied with the buckwheat noodles, it was a real umami hit. The onsen egg also managed to make me wonderfully nostalgic for my student days in japan, and the onsen eggs that I would crack atop of almost everything.

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The Monthly lunch plate lets you pick a chicken, red meat or vegetable main to have alongside two side dishes and rice. I reasoned that more vegetables would help me fight off my cold, so I went with the vegetable option which was a grilled eggplant. Although the eggplant was soft and delicious the real highlight was the nutty sesame dressing on the broccoli. There were actually candied nuts which added a crunch and sweetness to the side dish that I never would have thought could work! Perhaps the dish would be better completed with a meat option or I was just feeling envy over Ryan’s egg but I felt that this could have done with a little bit more, something, to complete it.

After a morning of gorging ourselves on pastries, this light lunch was just what we needed. The servings aren’t very large, but it felt good to walk away from a restaurant satiated rather than completely stuffed for once. Mina no ie may not be anyone’s home, but it certainly is a homely place to visit.

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http://www.minanoie.com/
Mina-no-ie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

P.S apologies for reposting. I had some issues when I first uploaded this post.