Monday, July 23, 2018

Little River Hotel, Little River by Foghorn Leghorn

Little River is a speck on the map between Melbourne and Geelong, but it has a couple of claims to fame. It gave its name to the Little River Band, and it was a filming location for the first Mad Max movie.

Little River Hotel, Little River, lamb shanks
Lamb shanks

Mrs Shiraz and I occasionally go for a stroll in the You Yangs, and the closest place to eat afterwards is the Little River Hotel. It’s a country-style pub, similar to what you’ll find in small towns much further from Melbourne.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Chef Lagenda, Hawthorn by Rockstar

Winter in Melbourne leaves me craving a particular type of food - I want comfort and warmth. Chef Lagenda Malaysian Kitchen was recommended by my friend as a place we could catch up for noodles on a Saturday night. Luckily she booked as even at 6:30 pm it was pleasantly busy. 

Chef Lagenda, Hawthorn
Vegetarian laksa

Our first offered table was up front near the door which I wasn’t keen on, so another table was found out the back. The overhead outdoor heaters created a decent amount of heat though I still needed to use my jumper as a knee rug to warm up my bottom half, as the back is really an outdoor covered set up. I imagine it would work well on a pleasant summer night.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Charlotte's Corner Cafe, Blackburn South by Bureaucrat

Boy Chick is a winter baby and finding a suitable place to celebrate his birthday required a bit of consideration.  Ideally, some outdoor space that's sheltered and reasonably close to home were the main things I was looking for.  A bit of Googling led me to Charlotte's Corner Cafe in Blackburn South.  Alliteration aside (ha!), the charm of the murals, a heated and covered outdoor space (which included a kids' play area), the ability to make a booking (even on the weekend) and reasonable reviews of the food meant that Charlotte's Corner Cafe was a go-er for us.

Charlotte's Corner Cafe, Blackburn South, big breakfast
Big breakfast

First impressions are important and the beaming smiles and friendly hellos from all the staff including the kitchen staff made us all feel very welcome indeed.  Our reserved table was in the courtyard.  While we were there, a few more families with little ones and fur babies also had the same idea of taking a leisurely brunch in the covered and heated outdoor space. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Valencia Cafe Kitchen, Doncaster East by Big Fil

I know we see fusion styles of food around town all the time but a nasi lemak burger? Who’d of thunk it? Nasi lemak is one of my all-time favourite breakfast/lunch/dinner options and I was intrigued when Ms Counting her Calories suggested a nasi lemak burger lunch with the family at Valencia Cafe Kitchen.

First the practicalities. Valencia Cafe Kitchen offers up a mix of typical Melbourne café style options, a small but interesting range of burgers and some Malaysian classics that rotate through the week. I particularly noted the Hainan Chicken Rice Balls, which I understand is a mainly Malaccan thing. While we were too full to try any they also offer a selection of Malaysian style kueh (cakes), something that is hard to find around town.

Valencia Cafe Kitchen, Doncaster East, nasi lemak burger
Nasi lemak burger

The café is fairly small and basic and if you are planning to visit for a Sunday lunch like we were booking ahead is probably a good idea. While not rude service was a little brusque, although it should be said we weren’t the most organised when deciding what to order.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Dream Dumplings, Box Hill by Bureaucrat

I tend to avoid Box Hill.  I know there's a lot of good cheap food options in Box Hill but the density of the crowds and shops mean that I rarely step foot into this boxed hill.  However, dining out with Boy Chick these days means that one needs to be flexible.  Mother Hen suggested that we get a mid-week dumpling lunch inside the food court - since the renovation to the shopping centre, the food court is spacious with plenty of seating (especially if you get there before peak lunch hour) and there's even a play space for the littlies.

My last foray into the Box Hill food court found me at Grain Express (six years ago!).  The food was alright but it didn't wow me.  Grain Express is still there but Dream Dumplings has set up shop.  Mother Hen has eaten here are a few times and says the dumplings are pretty good.  She ordered for us two dishes to share.

Dream Dumplings, Box Hill, juicy pork buns
The first was the pan fried juicy pork buns.  Six good-sized buns with a reasonably fluffy bun.  The filling was piping hot and full of lovely porky soup (much like a xiao long bao but on a bigger scale).  In fact, we both had to change our tops when we got home because we got sprayed by the soup as we took the first bite into each bun.  The bottom on each bun had a nice golden crust to it.  Definitely worth ordering next time.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bonne Maman Caramel Cheesecake Recipe

Ah, Bonne Maman!  Who doesn't love the iconic French jams in the country-chic red and white jars?  I love their jams and feel ever so French when I have a jar in the pantry - it just invokes memories of my carefree Parisian jaunts back in the day when I had yet to become a mother (I had so much spare time back then... lol!).  Bonne Maman is launching a new product very soon, which will be available nationwide from mid-July.  This decadent Bonne Maman Caramel spread is unctuous, gooey and has a lovely deep caramelly flavour.  You may have already tried the caramel spread as there are a few select bakeries and cafes who use the Bonne Maman Caramel in their pastries (including Noisette's caramel doughnuts).

Bonne Maman Caramel, caramel cheesecake
Bonne Maman Caramel spread and cheesecake

The Eat and Be Merry Crew were offered to try out a jar or two Bonne Maman's Caramel spread. I was impressed that the caramel was made with all-natural ingredients and no colourings or preservatives (which meant I could share this with Boy Chick).