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.

padre latte

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.

By Josephine tea

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.

By Josephine sweets

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.

By Josephine display

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

Tina’s Noodle Kitchen

Although it’s still Autumn in Melbourne it feels like we’ve suddenly been plunged into Winter. It’s such a shock to the system to go from an unbearably warm March to the biting cold in April. I must confess it has got me a little down in the dumps and also a little bit sick.

When it’s sick and cold there’s nothing better than a warming bowl of soup. Even better if there are noodles in the soup as well. It seemed like a few other people had the exact same idea as me, as there was a small line outside Tina’s Noodle Kitchen when I arrived. Not one to wait out in the cold I went window shopping in Myer for a while before coming back and being seated instantly.

Ordering and payment are done the same time at the counter. If you look Asian the staff will probably also speak Chinese to you.

Tinas noodles fish and mustard

Fish Slices with Pickles was exactly what I needed. Tender slippery pieces of fish and mustard greens were a great bite. Hidden in the soup were crunchy pieces of black fungus and soft beancurd. The rice noodles are very soft and consequently easy to slurp up.

Tinas noodle kitchen

Spicy Beef Noodles with added mushrooms are really very spicy. The layer of oil helps seal in the heat and makes for a flaming hot mouthful, heat and spice wise.

After a few mouthfuls of soup noodle, you will notice that both of the broths are very salty. They serve more as noodle flavouring than as a soup that you should drink up. I think this reflects the fact that heavy seasoning a la salt, pepper, pickles and probably a bit of MSG are used as opposed to the laborious process of stewing bones and vegetables for a particularly complex broth. Despite this, Tina’s Noodle Kitchen fills a gap in the city for Chinese style soup noodles. If you’re craving something warming on a cold night, it will probably hit the spot.

Tina's Noodle Kitchen 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.

Middletown cafe

What is your preference when you go out to brunch? Are you the sort of person who is into a good rendition of the simple things or someone who is out there chasing the most innovative and trending brunch fare?

Middletown cafe bills itself on being royal but still close to the people. In a way that is what brunch has become: increasingly fine dining yet still accessible to most. The decor at Middletown certainly looks the part. Large windows, bright marble tables and fresh flowers made the whole space feel light and airy. The bench tops seemed like a place where a solo diner would be welcome, not only to enjoy the food but also take many photos of the oh so instagrammable interior and dishes.

On this occasion I was brunching with my parents. My mum found the coffee a little lacklustre for the price, but I think that it may be because she isn’t all that fond of beans from code black coffee.

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I didn’t feel like having anything meaty that day so the grilled broccolini seemed like the perfect choice. The vegetables were crisp and had a lovely char grilled flavour that helped add interest. The compressed pear was actually the stand out element as it added some freshness. I was left wondering how they had compressed a pear!

middletown cafe fish

I snuck in a bite of the pickled mackerel that my dad ordered. Little known fact, mackerel is actually one of my all time favourite fish. In particular, I love the unique fishy taste of mackerel sashimi. Following that logic, I was pretty taken with the bits that I tried. Dad thought that the dish was probably a bit too complicated. That is some of the elements, such as the cheese could have been paired back or done away with altogether to create something less confusing.

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The confit duck sat atop one of the largest hash brown? potato fritter? that I had ever seen. The duck itself was perfectly cooked. The crispy outer skin complimented the juicy savoury duck meat incredibly well. The slaw helped lighten everything up a little and was just a very pretty bright green colour.

My parents weren’t particularly impressed with the brunch offerings, feeling that they were too fancy when something a bit more paired back would have sufficed. That said, I rather enjoyed myself and the inventive dishes.

P.s This visit took place a few months ago so the menu has since changed! My backlog is really just that bad.

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

IMBUE Summer Edition

While it was still in the midst of Summer I attended a tea and food pairing event hosted by IMBUE. This post is going to be more of a photo essay, to better get across the flow of the event. For a more in depth write up check out my previous blog post on IMBUE brunch edition.

The weather was an erratic mix of sunshine, rain and hail so we were seated inside.

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Summer Fizz (Carbonated jasmine tea and blueberries)

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Mushroom Bruschetta with White puerh bud tea

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Nigiri Trio and Himalayan Snow Bud Tea

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Pork Belly sandwich with Formosa Oriental beauty tea. Both of my friends commented that this was the stand out dish of the day.

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Oolong Icecream. This was my favourite because it was everything that I loved: oolong, osmanthus, ice cream and waffle cones. I would happily eat this  every day if I had the option.

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Chocolate Brownie with Da Hong Pao tea. I loved this tea so much. It had an intensity and smooth mellow depth of flavour that I adored and haven’t really encountered before.

This was another fantastic event from IMBUE. Every from the pairings to the flow of conversation ebbed along the afternoon. Before we knew it hours had passed and we left full of good food, tea and memories.

 

Krimper

There’s something about Melbourne lane ways. Tourists love taking photos with all the street art. Every guide book on the city will probably mention them more than once. Melbournians can’t help but wax lyrical about their quirky little lanes when asked. Sure, shopping centres are getting bigger and shinier but as a local, I’m glad that lane way culture is still very much alive. With good reason too considering that these little side streets also house a plethora of delicious food venues. Every time I walk down the street into Krimper it always feels like I’m discovering one of the hidden gems that lane way culture is all about.

The interior of Krimper reflects a brunch scene that was still in the throes of a cross between industrialised chic and interesting bric a brac. This just means that the furniture is a bit more haphazard and the venue isn’t as brightly lit as it could be. However, there’s still lots of charm in the exposed walls and the open shipping container with a table in the middle of it in the space.

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Even though it’s Autumn, Melbourne is still sweltering away with 30 degree days almost everyday. This meant forsaking my usual tea for a cold brew instead. The baristas were so kind as to let us sample the two different kinds of cold brew they had that day. One of the brews was fruitier and had a more intense flavour.I favoured the other brew which was lighter in colour and taste, making it incredibly easy to knock back.

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I’m actually on a bit of a health kick; so the chickpea tabouli seemed like the obvious choice. The serving looked to be on the smaller side for a salad dish, but this made sense after I tucked into it. Unlike other salad bowls which need a good bit of mixing before there’s much flavour, every mouthful was already well seasoned. The charred asparagus, salty fried kale, and crisp snap peas added even more interest to an already flavour packed dish.

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My friend ordered the mac and cheese from the specials board. The little pan that this was served in was incredibly cute. I had a cheeky bite. It was cheesy and rich without being too heavy. I can see this doing double service as a heavy brunch option or just a regular lunch!

Every time I have been to Krimper there’s always a pleasant buzz. It’s never too full and the staff don’t mind you lingering and chatting away.When the crowds in Hardware street and all the shopping centres get too much this is the perfect place to sit back and relax over some food and coffee.

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