The Kettle Black – Just for the Ricotta hotcake

The Kettle Black

50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia

IMG_9441The interesting and somehow most economical way to get around Melbourne is really to Uber your way around as it will be about the same price as a tram ticket as long as you are travelling in a pair or an even bigger group. A day filled with cafes and restaurants, we could really only do the signatures as we munch our tummy through the day. Kettle Black, with a beautiful and clean facade, felt a little confusing initially as it seems to own both the porch to the right and the main cafe space on the left. Indeed, it is that spacious as I guess land isn’t a scarcity in vast Aussie.

IMG_9435Took the al fresco area as it was a cooling yet not exactly chilly afternoon without the gusts and we each got a hot chocolate for a comfortable outdoor seat (yeah I know, the fact that we could actually get an outdoor seat and sip on that cup of hot chocolate actually felt quite indulging to us as this is almost impossible back in our sunny island). $4. Thick chocolate flavour with the beautiful latte art,  we managed to get two different arty prints for both our orders!

IMG_9437Everything on the menu seems to have been made instagrammable; even the simple raw kale salad as a side dish is embellished meticulously with strong vibrant flowers that would definitely whet the appetite. Not knowing why but a small amount of sugar seemed to have been added to the salad. $7.

IMG_9440What else could we have ordered over at the Kettle Black other than their famous Hotcake with Ricotta – Blueberries, pure maple, double cream, seeds and nuts. Widely said to be definitely too much for one, or even 2 people, this is usually shared among a group but both of us managed to polish it clean. Very thick pillowy hotcake there that is made even more wholesome with the pure maple syrup and creamy ricotta while the nuts, strawberries and blueberries managed to add a contrasting yet complementing fruity flavour to it. $20.

IMG_9439Our afternoon tea that is!

IMG_7720Feeling all warm and comfy in my cardigan and hot choc!

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.8/5.

Manchester Press – The Bagel Cafe

Manchester Press

8 Rankins Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Manchester pressAnd finally, the first cafe post for cafe heaven Melbourne. Got to this part of Australia with really high hopes for their cafes, but left feeling that Singapore isn’t doing too bad after all. And actually restaurants are still my favourite over here. Having some time in the day before our first road trip out to the Philips Island, we had a quick brekkie at the Manchester Press at a quirky side street in the city centre first.

IMG_9404Flat white.

IMG_9406Not a coffee drinker at all, it was quite a no brainer when the Matcha latte was spotted on the drinks menu. Surprisingly good with the intense matcha flavour coming through strongly.

IMG_9408Specialising in bagels and only bagels, the menu is divided simply into the open and closed bagels. Chose the closed one and the 14 hour bbq pulled pork was ordered – Texas style bbq pulled pork, soaked in BBQ sauce, topped with house made slaw and pickles. The pulled pork was on point, beautifully shredded and drenched deliciously in the heavy tasting bbq sauce while the bagel was crusty enough on the outside but somehow lacks in the fluffiness and moist that would have otherwise make a really good bagel. And I dare say, Sacha and Sons in Singapore could beat this hands down with its super crusty bagel that is filled with the right fluffiness within and sesame fragrance on the outside. In addition, I wasn’t too impressed with the pretzels and gherkin added randomly as a side. $16.

IMG_9410MP Club sandwich – Thick cut turkey, grilled bacon, cheese, sliced tomato and mixed greens. Topped with a cranberry and chilli plum relish. Not exactly my favourite mains over here as the cold, drier ingredients make this less wholesome and hearty I felt. $15.

IMG_9405It was a pretty OK meal, service was good but I guess this first cafe actually helped to calibrate my expectations for most cafes both in Sg and Melbourne.

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.3/5.

IMG_7643En route to the Philips Island, we stopped at the Moonlit Sanctuary and this cutie Wallaby was too cute to refuse it from its feed.

IMG_7635IMG_7626Really love playing with them don’t I!

 

8bit – Luscious brioche burgers they serve

8bit

231 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

IMG_9396Yes, one of the burger joints that remains so popular throughout the week in Melbourne, that you never see it really empty before, even on a weekday when the streets are pretty quiet. 8bit, is one of the burger places that should be visited in Melbourne when you crave for a rotund, fluffy, comforting burger.

IMG_9398The buddy and I know how high these junkies are in their calories, that we got one side and strawberry cheesecake shake ($7.50) for sharing instead of two complete meals.

IMG_9399Chilli Cheese fries – Beer battered fries, Chilli beef, Cheese Sauce, Jalapenos, Spring onions. Surprisingly quite spicy, this hearty plate of unhealthy fries was made even more heavy tasting and fragrant by the creamy cheesy sauce and chilli minced beef. The taste could be imagined, and yes it has that wholesome sinful flavour throughout. $8.50.

IMG_94008bit with cheese – Beef patty, tomato, lettuce, red onion, pickles, mustard, cheese, ketchup, 8bit sauce. Nothing exactly special and without any twist to the ingredients or taste, 8bit just knows how to keep its customers by perfecting the most familiar burger taste. What went really right for them was the moist brioche, that gave it a fluffier edge. Simply delish! $9.50.

IMG_9401So crowded apparently. I almost gave up when I saw the queue initially but luckily didn’t have to wait for long before I managed to get two counter seats while the buddy queued to order. IMG_7572

IMG_7541A pretty enjoyable and cooling walk at the Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens we had before the delectable dinner at 8bit!

Nobu – Hoping for an exciting lunch!

Nobu

8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia

IMG_9395If you have tried booking the more upmarket restaurants in Melbourne, you would easily realise that the $$$$$ ones are usually located in the Crowne Hotel, where the casino resides in; pretty similar to how our MBS functions, as the more upmarket restaurants are located in the casino’s premises. Nobu, awarded with a michelin star, in London, was quite a hopeful restaurant initially for me. I left finding it good, but not exactly a scintillating afternoon spent there as the fusion techniques undertaken here do not really appeal to me; with some oriental elements evident in them, that makes it in a way less Japanese.

IMG_9388First time here, and we went for the cheapest Nobu Bento Box that costs $50. Take note that the above picture consists of 2 sets.

IMG_9389Sashimi salad with Matsuhisa Dressing. Very heavily dressed with ponzu, the sour tang is punctuated nicely by the savoury, fragrant shallots, that made the cold sashimi salad savoury yet very refreshing.

IMG_9390Baby Tiger Prawns with Creamy Spicy. One of the more oriental sides that afternoon we had as these prawns are first fried to yield a crispy batter before being coated with that spicy cream. It was pretty delicious.

IMG_9391Assorted sushi that made this set really filling!

IMG_9392Sauteed Seasonal Vegetables with Truffle Light Garlic Sauce. Slightly greasy but the umami-ness from the truffle garlic sauce turned it into addictive bowl of rice that is funnily further made aromatic by the strong wok hei fragrance.

We ended the lunch bento feeling full and pretty satisfied. While the buddy finds it a pretty good set, I felt that it has lost the Japanese spirit a little as much oriental influences are introduced into the dishes.

IMG_9393IMG_9394Nobu’s Signature Hote Chocolate Fondant with Matcha Ice cream. This was in my opinion two very wonderful desserts on their own. Very thick, bitter, intense and creamy matcha ice cream there while the thick, decadent chocolate fondant did impress us. But, when taken together, the less heavy tasting matcha has no other choices but to give way to the overpowering chocolate fondant, making us more conscientious in our sequence when tackling this dessert. Matcha first followed by fondant it is! $18.

Nobu is good I say, but not exactly electrifying.

Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.8/5.

 

 

 

Pho Bo Ga Mekong – where Bill Clinton had 2 bowls!

Pho Bo Ga Mekong

241 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

IMG_7441Most of my foodie friends gave me the incredulous and what-a-waste-of-money-and-time look when I shared with the them the restaurants that I have visited in Melbourne as I have never believed that Melbourne is just a place for cafes and only cafes. Just as how skeptical I was about cafes, indeed not all in Melbourne are perfect (attested by the foodie friend there) and being a land full of immigrants, there is really much to Melbourne than just cafe food. So here we landed ourselves at Pho Ba Ga Mekong that is situated perpendicular to Chinatown as we have heard about the wonderful Pho restaurants in Melbourne. And if you want a really good range of Vietnamese choices, head over to the Richmond area as that seems to be the legitimate Little Vietnam in Melbourne.

IMG_9369We landed ourselves in this eatery at 3.30pm in the afternoon, when it is already way pass lunch hour. Even though there was no queue with a few free tables, the whole place was full even at such an hour. I could imagine the queue during meal times!

IMG_9372Beef Special – Beef, Beef Brisket, beef balls, tendon, tripe, sausage, bone marrow. What a beefy bowl over here, generously filled with ingredients. Special mention has to go to that intense broth the springy noodles are soaked in as it has been evidently boiled for very long hours just so that the fragrant meaty flavour could be assimilated into the broth, making it into an addictive bowl. That explains why Clinton had two bowls. $11.50.

IMG_9370Rice Paper Rolls – Prawn & Chicken breast fillet; Chargrilled Chicken. Packed so tightly with vermicelli and huge prawns, these are best eaten with the savoury nutty dip at the side. My favourite would be the chargrilled chicken as it has been given a sweet savoury coat before wrapping with the vermicelli, that gives it the extra edge. $5.50 for 2 rolls.

IMG_9371What a lovely meal to start off with really!IMG_7444And there I am, really contented with the food over here!

First stop in Melbourne, and both buddy and I are very impressed by the Pho!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.0/5.