Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie, Chadstone by Bureaucrat

A cake that's worth eating is one that is multi-layered, multi-textured and has an "ooh" factor about it - and cake at Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie ticks all these boxes.  It was the knowledge that I'd get to indulge in such utter refined goodness that made the inevitable road rage that comes with trying to park at Chadstone Shopping Centre worthwhile. 

With a trusty buy-one-get-one-free dining offer from the 2017-18 Entertainment Book (which we're promoting to fundraise for SecondBite - buy your book here) the Lawyer and I kicked back in the Parisian salon surrounds to enjoy some cake and hot drinks.

Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie, Chadstone, berry rhubarb cake
I'm a sucker for anything that's red in a cake.  So I got this gorgeous berry mousse cake that hid an inner sanctum of gooey rhubarb puree.  This was light and fruity.  While this was nice it wasn't as good as the strawberry shaped cake that you get at Brunetti's.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crema Sutra, Mount Waverley by Bureaucrat

Loyal readers of the blog would know that I've been loving the new cafes that have been sprouting up in the Mount Waverley village.  Both Son of Tucci and Curator 23 have impressed me in terms of food, service and for adding more modern cafe dining options in the village.  Crema Sutra is another cafe in the village.  I took Ms H there hoping to show her that the 'burbs can put on brunch as good as one you'd find in an inner-city suburb. Sadly, Crema Sutra didn't deliver the goods - brunch was disappointing and we both didn't feel like finishing our dishes.

Crema Sutra, Mount Waverley, berry pancakes
My berry pancakes were a bit of mess - visually and tastewise.  The pancakes itself and the berry compote were overly sweet.  And while I do love the Connoisseur brand caramel and honey macadamia ice cream, when it is paired with the already sweet pancakes it made the whole dish rather sickly sweet... it almost gave the impression that a child had come up with the combinations of flavours.  The soft chewiness of the coconut shavings didn't add as much texture to the dish as I'd hoped - the soft pancakes, soft fruits, soft ice cream and the soft and chewy coconut just did not work.  The only thing that was good about the dish was the fresh fruit garnish.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Peddler Cafe, Nunawading by Bureaucrat

The Peddler Cafe is a favourite among locals and we were keen to find out if it lived up to the reviews of serving great cafe food despite the absence of hipsters and an inner-city location. I came across the Peddler Cafe from perusing the 2017-18 Entertainment Book (which we're promoting to help fundraise for SecondBite).

The Peddler Cafe had already a 'plus' going for it even before we had turned up.  Namely, it takes bookings - even on weekends.  This is a boon for us as now that the Lawyer and I go a-lunching with Boy Chick.  Knowing that we can have a table reserved alleviates the stress and logistics of dining while we're out and about with our baby.

Peddler Cafe, Nunawading, pork belly banh mi
The Lawyer chose one of the specials.  This was fab-u-lous!  Pork belly banh mi... need I say more?  Well, in the interests of impressing upon you how delicious it was, I do!  A lot of places serve pork belly but I find it's often not quite as good as I had hoped it to be.  But this was sublime.  A nice fat-to-meat ratio, the fat was utterly melt-in-your-mouth while the meat itself was fall-apart tender.  The marinade was a perfect salty-sweet balance.  And as you can see, they weren't skimpy with the pork - there were a good number of porky chunks in the bun.  The finely shredded cabbage was sharp and tart - a great foil to the richness of the pork.  The bun itself was toasted which added a great crunch to the dish.  Utterly.  Moreish.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Modu, Clayton by Bureaucrat

We've all heard of Mod Oz but have you heard of Modern Shanghainese?  The Lawyer and I, along with Boy Chick, were introduced to the very tasty and very cosmopolitan cuisine that is modern Shanghainese.  Situated right in the middle of bustling Clayton Road, Modu (which is a colloquial name for Shanghai, meaning 'magical city') offers a perfectly balanced range of dishes in a contemporary Melbourne cafe surrounds.

The menu is at Modu is commendable in that it hits the right price point for all budgets and dining preferences.  There are dumplings and small plates for around a tenner (e.g., fish and seafood dumplings, steamed scallops); a good range of mid-range rice and noodle dishes (e.g., Shanghai chilli noodles, soup noodles with tomato and oxtail - great if you're the type to order one main dish per person); and for those wanting to eat 'family style' or indulge in a tapas-style graze, then there are larger plates and and a couple luxe dishes that are suited for sharing (e.g., Bi Feng Tang style meat crab, ginger and shredded pork wrap platter).

Modu, Clayton, king prawn
We were guided by the recommendations of general manager Julian Zhu when it came to deciding what to order for our Sunday lunch.  This finger-licking dish was the crispy king prawn.  A meaty, succulent prawn that was smothered in that oh-so-delicious Singaporean mud-crab chilli-tomato sauce.  The prawn had a lovely pan-seared smokiness and it had plentiful amounts of that love-it-or-hate-it 'head goo' (I'm in the former camp).  It was served with garlic bread, which the Lawyer used to mop up the juices. A very delectable start to our meal.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Support SecondBite by purchasing the 2017-18 Entertainment Book

The Eat and Be Merry Crew are fundraising for SecondBite - an not-for-profit organisation that redistributes surplus fresh food to community food programs around Australia.  The food is donated by farmers, wholesalers, markets, supermarkets, caterers and events. This high-quality surplus food is redistributed to community food programs that support people who are homeless, women and families in crisis, youth at risk, indigenous communities, asylum seekers and new arrivals.

SecondBite
Image: SecondBite.org

As part of this, we're encouraging our Aussie readers to purchase a membership to the 2017-18 Entertainment Book. By buying a membership, you can provide 30 healthy meals for people in need.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Araroa Tearooms, Auckland (NZ) by Benny

Ever felt like taking a break from the responsibilities of adulthood to experience again the wonder and excitement of childhood? On a day when miserable weather made me abandon the Auckland Coast to Coast walk, I found myself in the rather grandly named Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). This is the type of place you take your children when you have exhausted all your school holiday ideas before the holidays have ended. And when you get there, you realise that it should have been at the top of your list, not at the bottom. There are lots of interactive displays and rides that engage both the young and the young at heart; and it’s not all history: many exhibits focus on the future – one even gives you hands-on fun with one of those new-fangled 3D printers.

Araroa Tearooms, Auckland, burger
Beef burger and chips

And when eventually the kids’ attention turns to food, there is the MOTAT cafĂ©, also known as the Araroa Tearooms. Fortunately, it is open until 4pm, for those times when lunch is late because the kids won’t leave the exhibits.