Monday, 2 May 2011

Auction rooms

Been MIA again because all 3 of us are busy with work. (yes, MM is employed least until next week, after which 1.5months of holidays/travelling follows...can't wait!)
Well, not deviating from our previous theme...I chose to share with you today - Auction Rooms, a popular brunch spot in North Melbourne. I've been there a few times myself...probably a couple of times for brunch, and even once for dinner. The pictures in this post were taken when I was there with San for brunch, on a rather cloudy day, as one can tell.

love the sign

waiting for a table and just enjoying our surroundings

my fancy sandwich & San's sweet treat

Honestly, it's been that long that I don't remember how the sandwich tasted like...but I always enjoyed their menu filled with interesting picks (not just the usual brunch fare). I do remember it was yummy (and the yellow sauce dripped onto my new pale-pink leather bag (ouch)...I was my usual slob self).

I guess this is not much of a review eh? *sheepish*

But a quick summary - love the deco (pretty much like many of the cafes in melbourne ~ vintage-y, mismatched tables & chairs), large airy space (unlike many other cafes), friendly service each time I've been there, interesting menu...the downside, it does get pretty busy so expect to wait for a little bit for a table.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Snow Pony

Greetings, y'all! Yes, we are back on the blogging block, and I certainly hope we are here to stay for a while longer. Lots has been happening since we last updated, but as MM had said, we never stopped eating (obviously) and am still always on the lookout for good food!

Brunchy times has become sort of a staple for girly get-togethers and catch-ups for us (as we have graduated from student girls to working girls (mostly), brunches are especially awesome for weekends), and lately I find our food adventures centering around the eggs, hams, bacons and COFFEE (as any self-respecting Melbournian, I am a complete addict).

Brunchy Pony Times!
MM has ventured to Snow Pony a couple of times with her uni-mates, and when we found out that it was one of the very few cafes opened on Easter Monday, we decided to swing by and hang out there. Snow Pony is a popular brunch spot that doesn't take reservations (because they clearly don't need to - hopping busy all the time), we had to wait about 20 minutes before snagging a table out in their little covered courtyard. It was a GORGEOUS day so the spot we had was really awesomesauce.

Snow Pony classic: Giddy Up, with scrambled eggs on the top and fried eggs on the bottom
MM and San opted for one of the menu favourites: Giddy Up (isn't the name just nauseatingly cute) with bacon, slow-roasted tomatoes, smashed avocado and thyme-buttered mushrooms. Sis opted for scrambled eggs and San opted for fried eggs. Sis loves the food (hence we are back there on her recommendation) and was overall very happy with her brunch plate. She especially heart the thyme mushrooms, which is a special for Snow Pony and its sister cafe in Hawthorn.

San's comments, specifically, were "full and happy" - so I guess we can make a deduction that she is one satisfied diner! :P But if I remember her comments as we were eating, she thought the roasted tomato was yums to the max. She also liked the avocado - in which I stole some off Sis' plate since she wasn't a fan of the veg in general. I like their avocado as it was salted and peppered quite perfectly with a hint of fresh herbs smashed (pardon the pun) in them!

Le Mouse choice: Fabulous herb + cheesy toast with bacon
Looking at the menu, my choice was the obvious choice for me, obviously (see nickname). But oh wow, the Snow Pony people didn't name this dish wrongly. It was FABULOUSSSSS. The MELTED CHEESE! It was hot, stringy, gooey and OH SO CHEESILY YUMMY - with a satisfying cheesy kick! I realised I'm sounding like some cheese-obsessed retard (trust me, I'm not...I think) but this is honestly one of the best cheesy toasts I've ever had. Added the fresh herbs melted into the cheese, and crusty seeded bread AND crispy bacon...nom nom nom. Very very happy. Very very satisfied. I should add that the bacon was made just the I like it - crisped and done just right without being fatty/burnt. Thumbs up!

Another house special: Lemonade scones
We knew these scones are massively popular, so we very cleverly asked to reserve some scones upon arrival - and snagged the last two they have left (yippee). They were served with blackberry (yay Blackberry!) and chantilly cream. The scones were crumbly and very tasty in the melt-in-your-mouth way, especially with a dollop of cream and a smear of jam. We were all especially taken with the cream, all of us found it to be very good and a fantastic accompaniment for the scones!

Price wise: all of our food, plus the usual coffees that goes with every single brunch came to just slightly below AUD$80. I'm pretty happy with the service as well - the staff is cheerful and friendly.

Overall, definitely a breakfast/brunch spot that goes into the recs/for keeps list. It probably is a good idea to go a little earlier especially during weekends, and be prepared to wait.

Snow Pony
95 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn VIC 3103
(03)9816 8911

- Mouse

P.S. a little trivia - do you peeps know why it's called Snow Pony? It's a clever word play on its location - Whitehorse Road. :P

Snow Pony on Urbanspoon

MART 130 (reprise)

Was sorting through old photos and found more pictures from my very visit to MART 130. The post is just to share the drool-worthy photos. It appears my friends and I had variations of the 4 types of 'mart eggs'. Perhaps for completion's sake, I should have included the mushroom & chives eggs (which already appeared in the previous post).

I'm hungry!!


Saturday, 30 April 2011

MART 130

Brunching is one of our favourite things to do (so expect to see a few posts about brunch spots)...and MART130 is personally one of MY favourite spots. I've heard/read a lot about MART 130 it's a play on the word 'tram' spelled backwards, and how it's located at stop 130. It always sounded really interesting but it wasn't until my first visit (late last year) that I fell in love with the place.

a seat overlooking albert park on a warm, sunny day...perfect :)
the food : mart eggs (top L), corn fritters (top R), chai latte (bottom L), french toast (bottom R)
I've eaten all the above after 3 visits to MART 130. They were all yummy and the portions were incredibly generous (in my opinion). The mart eggs included eggs with chives, mushrooms and truffle oil - I love every ingredient separately, I love them together :) The corn fritters layered with crispy bacon, went really well with the salsa. Finally, french toast made from brioche with maple syrup topped with bacon...slurp! I have a rule with food - never mix sweet and salty together (e.g. no sweet drinks in the middle of my meal)...bacon with maple syrup is the only exception :)

strolling in Albert park and squealing over doggies :)
And after a hearty brunch, one can walk off some calories in the park...and if one is as fortunate as we were, one may run into a friendly dog-walker walking more than half a dozen of beautiful beautiful doggies!! So happy :)

The food is certainly of standard, the staff friendly...the location, I would give it 101% if I could. Not sure if I would still feel the same on a cold winter day...but you can be sure I will think of brunch at MART130 when the sun is out!

MART 130
107 Canterbury Rd
Middle Park, 3206
(03)9690 8831


Mart 130 on Urbanspoon

Cutler & Co.

Previous attempts to dine at Cutler & Co. were foiled by too huge a party (the restaurant requires a party of 8 people and more to go for the degustation menu and with various dietary requirements, we were not keen to do so). This time round, with a smaller party, we finally managed to reserve a table for four on thursday night (after forgoing friday night as it was fully booked). The occasion - celebration of mouse's special day.

I had been waiting for this! Being a fan of Cumulus Inc. - its more casual sister restaurant on flinders lane :)

The restaurant is bigger than I anticipated...spacious, which is not all that common for a fine dining restaurant (or any restaurants in melbourne for that matter). It was quite quiet when myself, mouse, sister & mum walked in at 7pm, but gradually filled up.

This is embarrassing...despite lugging along a SLR, the photos did not turn out so well. I better start learning to use that thing properly :(

Anyway...the food!!

very pretty lamps, and 2 types of bread - sourdough (L), rye (R)
I always look forward to the bread + accompaniments. A couple I sometimes day dream about - maze's (crown metropol) branch like bread with seaweed butter, yummy sweet potato dip at Number8 (crown).

Back to this post...the sourdough was yummy (crunchy on the outside, soft of the inside - the way I like it), but I unfortunately chose the latter which was too sour-y for my taste. I like their unusual butter knife :)

entrees : cured kingfish (top), poached chicken (L), oysters (R)
Fresh oysters, one of my weaknesses. 5 varieties were on offer hence we ordered one each to share among 3 of us. Can't go wrong :)

The cured kingfish  with octopus, avocado & pickled cucumber(a favourite for many) was a hit with mum and sisters. For me, it was certainly a very pretty dish which tasted nice...but somehow reminded me of sushi with the fish and avocado...hence not too exciting. The octopus was the best bit. I would like the cucumber more pickled. Maybe it's just me :P

The poached chicken (with foie gras parfait, quinoa & prune) was my favourite dish of the night even though it did not look as pretty with a huge pile of green covering most of the plate. The chicken was tasty, foie gras is always good, and there were crunchy bits which added a nice texture (sister thought they could be fried onion). Prune is not one of my favourite things but the combination worked.

mains : duck (top), wild barramundi (mid), john dory (bottom)

Mine was the slow roasted duck breast with confit of duck leg - duck breast was a little bit on the rare side for me, but the confit of leg was definitely yummy (sister ate a chunk of it).

Sister had the john dory which was cooked just right (from the small piece I tasted). 

Mouse and mum both had the wild barramundi with mushrooms, potato, fat hen & salsify. They both loved it, especially the super crunchy skin.

desserts : black sesame & apricot sorbet (top), chocolate ice cream sandwich (L), & petit fours (R)
Our desserts to share were plated separately for us, which was really nice of them. 

Mum and mouse shared the black sesame, apricot sorbet, yoghurt, thyme butter cream. I of course sneaked a taste and it was definitely my kind of dessert - the sorbet was refreshing (what I look for in a dessert after a huge meal), black sesame crisp was so fragrant, & I really like the thyme butter cream too! 

I opted to share the chocolate ice cream sandwich, vanilla parfait, salted caramel with sister because I've read some really good things about it. It did fall below expectations for me. Don't get me wrong, it's a great dessert but I guess it was not 'wow!!'...and as I said, chocolate is not what I would usually pick. 

Over coffee, we were served very dense chocolate (I want to say...truffle?) topped with black salt. I did like it, but we were all too stuffed and left with one of them still on the table. 

My verdict - lived up to all the hype for sure :) Great ambience, attentive staff, yummy food. Would I go back? In a heartbeat (but I do need to earn some moolah first *sob*).

Cutler & Co.
55-57 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9419 4888


Cutler & Co on Urbanspoon