Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder, Richmond

9 Jul

Highlight - Consistently great food

Lowlight - No bookings policy

Sweetcorn corn fritters, grilled haloumi, avocado, tomato & chilli relish, sheep’s milk yoghurt dressing, chargrilled sweetcorn salsa & baby thyme

Sweetcorn corn fritters, grilled haloumi, avocado, tomato & chilli relish, sheep’s milk yoghurt dressing, chargrilled sweetcorn salsa & baby thyme

Potato & chive rosti - smoked salmon, two poached eggs, pistou sauce, Cantelet cheese fondue & grain mustard

Potato & chive rosti – smoked salmon, two poached eggs, pistou sauce, Cantelet cheese fondue & grain mustard

FOOD?

Each time I visit Bridge Road I stop by Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder for a bite to eat. Their food offerings are consistently a high quality. My favourite dish is the sweet corn fritters topped with grilled haloumi, corn kernels and baby thyme. It comes immersed in avocado, tomato and chilli relish, as well as sheep’s milk yoghurt dressing. When first placed in front of you, the colours are vibrant and welcoming. The combination of all the elements in a mouth full is divine.

The potato and chive rosti is another popular choice. It comes with two perfectly poached eggs and smoked salmon on pistou sauce, drizzled with cheese fondue and grain mustard. The rosti was crispy and not too oily and the amount of fondue is quite generous.

I am still yet to try Richmond Hill’s famous cheesy toast. I always think of ordering one but then it seems so sinful for the first meal of the day!

SERVICE?

Staff are friendly and deal well with the constant busyness of the cafe. Food and drinks arrived relatively quickly after ordering.

AMBIENCE?

The cafe is always busy with couples of all ages as well as young families. Noise levels are high as everyone is trying to talk over each other. It doesn’t help that tables are situated so close together as you can hear the other patrons’ conversations.

VALUE?

Breakfast prices vary anywhere from $5.50 for a simple sourdough toast to $24 for chorizo baked eggs. Most items are in the high teens. For lunch you’re looking at around the high 30s.

BOOKINGS?

As bookings are not accepted, be ready to wait a while for a table if you’re visiting on a weekend. Last weekend we only waited around 10-15 minutes when they told us it would be around a 20 minute wait. Just add your name to the list, go for a little wander and they’ll buzz you when a table is available.

9

out of 10!

Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder
50 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC 3121
03 9421 2808 

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Richmond Hill Café and Larder on Urbanspoon

Ramen Ya, Melbourne

27 Jun

Highlight - Decent prices for the CBD

Lowlight - Noodles were quite average

Charshu Ramen

Charshu Ramen

Chicken Katsu

Chicken Katsu

FOOD?

After an intense half a day of shopping we decided to take a break for lunch at Melbourne’s GPO. By this point we were starving as we didn’t eat much for breakfast. I opted for the popular house special, Charshu Tonkotsu Ramen. The charshu slices were very thin and tender but too bad there was so little of it. Noodles reminded me of Maggi noodles but I was super hungry so managed to finish it all. The broth was tasty and helped keep me warm from the chilly winds outside.

As my fiancé usually orders the ramen he decided to try the Chicken Katsu Bento Box for a change. The batter of the chicken was well seasoned and there was a generous amount of katsu sauce and kewpie mayo. The rest of the dish was filled with standard bento box items, gyoza dumplings, salad and rice.

SERVICE?

Orders are made at the counter and customers are free to sit wherever they please with their table number. Meals were delivered relatively quickly after ordering although there was a slight mix up in our orders where they delivered two bento boxes to us instead of one.

AMBIENCE?

Not much ambience, customers are mainly there to eat and go. There are a handful of communal tables outside and some indoor seating if you’re lucky.

VALUE?

Well priced for a restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD with most items around the $10 mark. Regulars can obtain a loyalty card where if you buy nine ramen meals you receive the tenth one free.

BOOKINGS?

At the GPO restaurant, bookings are only accepted for dinner. It can get quite busy during lunchtime on weekdays. The Bourke Street chain allows bookings for both lunch and dinner.

7

out of 10!

Ramen Ya
Shop 25G, Melbourne’s GPO, 350 Bourke  Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9654 5838 

Shop 9, The Paramount, 108 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9662 1001 

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

The Hardware Sociéte, Melbourne

13 Jun

Highlight - Delectable CBD brunch spot

Lowlight - No bookings policy

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

Baked eggs with chorizo, tomatoes, spinach

Baked eggs with chorizo, tomatoes, spinach

FOOD?

To start off our day in the city we decided to grab some brekky before our full day of shopping. At first we attempted to visit Mr Tulk but unfortunately due to it being a Sunday it was closed. Hardware Societe was somewhat close so we decided to give that a go.

When we first approached I was weary about the patrons waiting outside but decided to put our name on the list anyway. The waitress informed us the wait would be around 10-15 minutes so we decided to wait it out since it was too cold to walk elsewhere. I ordered a coffee to keep me warm and by the time it arrived our table was ready.

I’m a fan of the Croque Monsier and Madame trend at cafes. My dining companion mentioned she had not tried one before so I encouraged her to give it a go. The toast was warm and crunchy filled with salmon and melted gruyere cheese topped with a glossy sunny-side up fried egg.

I tried the hearty baked eggs with lots of chorizo, tomatoes and spinach. It was the perfect hot meal for the first week of Winter. Just a few comments though, I know it adds to the taste but I would have preferred my bread without the drenching in olive oil. And there was probably a bit too much cooked egg yoke for my liking, it would have been nice if it were runnier to add to the dipping sauce.

SERVICE?

We were seated at the bar stools facing the small kitchen area and were surprised to see only two cooks churning out the meals. They were both very systematic in their processes and delivered the food efficiently.

AMBIENCE?

Cute bustling cafe that’s constantly full of people indulging in delicious food and deep conversation. Seats are situated quite close together so there is little space between tables allowing for sneaky eavesdropping. There’s also a large share table at the back of the room.

VALUE?

Very affordable and good value for money considering the city location.

BOOKINGS?

Bookings and credit cards are not accepted here. We waited around 10-15 minutes for our table on Sunday for brunch which I felt was quite reasonable.

8

out of 10!

The Hardware Societe
118-120 Hardware Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9078 5992

The Hardware Sociéte on Urbanspoon

Trippy Taco, Collingwood

31 May

Highlight - Trippy fries!

Lowlight - Beans and more beans

Tofu asada burrito - Flour tortilla wrap filled with spicy chargrilled tofu, mozzarella, goats cheese, salad, salsa, avocado, fresh lime

Tofu asada burrito – flour tortilla wrap filled with spicy chargrilled tofu, mozzarella, goats cheese, salad, salsa, avocado, fresh lime

Quesadilla with black beans

Quesadilla with black beans

FOOD?

We were shopping along Smith Street on Saturday and just before lunch I had a browse on Urbanspoon and came across Trippy Taco on Gertrude.

We chose a dish each, shared a bowl of french fries and ginger beer. I highly recommend the Trippy fries with paprika seasoning and freshly squeezed lime juice. It has a strong resemblance to the El Maco shaker fries from McDonald’s.

Trippy fries - french fries with Trippy's yummy seasoning

Trippy fries – french fries with Trippy’s yummy seasoning

The food came out quickly, fresh and hot on the plate. To be honest both the quesadilla and the burrito had very similar fillings. The former was just more mushy, not in a bad way though. Lots of mozzarella, some veggies, avocado, salsa, and beans, beans, beans! I would have preferred more tomato salsa to cut through all the starch but the fries helped to break up the flavour of the meal.

My fiancé  is very much a meat-eater and it was much to our surprise that a vegetarian meal could fill him up. I don’t think he’s ever NOT finished his meal until this time. Although he attributes this to the never-ending amount of beans.

I am keen to try the nachos and tacos upon my next visit. Too bad it’s not closer to home for me as we don’t have many decent Mexican restaurants in our area.

SERVICE?

Staff were super friendly and helped when we made our menu choices. Customers order at the counter and collect utensils themselves. There is also a variety of additional sauces available.

AMBIENCE?

Relaxed atmosphere with the restaurant less than half full during lunchtime on a Saturday. Even though the venue was small it did not feel cramped. Bar stools are placed along the windows facing outwards allowing for ‘people watching’ whilst enjoying your meal.

VALUE?

Really great value for money with most items on the menu around the $10 mark. My partner recently visited Mamasita and was scarred by the miniscule portion sizes. When we visited Trippy Taco he asked the waitress if one burrito was enough and even though she said it would be plenty he was reluctant to believe her!

BOOKINGS?

Unfortunately they do not take bookings but takeaway is available and quite popular with locals

7

out of 10!

Trippy Taco
234 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
03 9415 7711 

Trippy Taco on Urbanspoon

Innocent Bystander, Giant Steps, Healesville

15 May

Highlight - Delicious food

Lowlight - High noise levels due to the packed venue

Sashimi, grape, beetroot and avocado salad

Sashimi, grape, beetroot and avocado salad

Duck and mushroom pie with carrot mash

Duck and mushroom pie with carrot mash

Calabrese salami, san marzano tomato, oregano & buffalo mozzarella

Calabrese salami, san marzano tomato, oregano & buffalo mozzarella

FOOD?

We had a late morning appointment in the Yarra Valley so we decided to book lunch afterwards at Innocent Bystander since we would be close by. There was a large variety of dishes to decide on, including tapas, pizzas, “non-pizzas”, breads and cheeses, plus an extensive wine list.

When the dishes arrived they looked amazing, the colours were vibrant and further accentuated by the sunlight. To start we chose the fresh sashimi salad combined with beetroot, grapes and avocado. It was perfect to get our taste buds going.

For mains we chose the duck and mushroom pie and the calabrese pizza. When the pie was first sliced open it was moist and full of flavour. There was a decent amount of duck which was complimented with the carrot mash.

As my eyes are bigger than my tummy I decided to order the calabrese salami pizza all to myself. I did not come close to finishing it! Their pizza bases are 100% organic sourdough and are cooked in a wood fire oven to obtain a crisp base. Even though the ingredients were simple they were of a high quality to make the juicy topping. It was slightly on the oily side although that may have been due to the salami.

Next time I’ll have to try the truffle and parmesan frites as I’ve heard rave reviews. Plus I love anything to do with potatoes!

SERVICE?

I thought the service was fine, a bit slow but probably because the place is constantly so busy.

AMBIENCE?

It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to sit outside on the benches for lunch. Inside the restaurant it is mega busy and buzzing with people. We were lucky with the weather and got to sit away from the noisy crowd.

VALUE?

A little on the pricey side but since I don’t visit Healesville very often it was worth it. I would recommend visiting if you haven’t already been.

BOOKINGS?

Bookings are accepted and recommended as the venue can get extremely busy. When we arrived for our booking there was a long line of customers waiting to be seated. I overheard some people being told they would have to wait for a while as the restaurant was at capacity. I’d definitely come back here next time I’m in the area.

8

out of 10!

Innocent Bystander / Giant Steps
336 Maroondah Highway, Healesville VIC 3777
03 5962 6111 

Giant Steps / Innocent Bystander Winery on Urbanspoon

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