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Station Street Cafe, Nunawading

4 Apr

Highlight – Awesome café find in Nunawading

Lowlight – Service was a tad slow

Station Street Benedict - ham off the bone, poached eggs, hollandaise, ciabatta

Station Street Benedict - ham off the bone, poached eggs, hollandaise, ciabatta

Spanish Inquisition - french toast, chorizo, mushrooms, red onion, napoli and Persian feta

Spanish Inquisition - french toast, chorizo, mushrooms, red onion, Napoli and Persian feta

FOOD?

After perusing the A4 page menu, I opted for the Spanish Inquisition. When it arrived at the table I quickly realised there was no way I was going to finish my meal. I was presented with a large piece of french toast topped with a massive amount of spicy chorizo, onions, a couple of mushrooms, Napoli and Persian feta. The dish overall was full of flavour but too oily for my liking, especially for the first meal of the day.

My other half tried the Station Street Benedict. One egg was perfectly poached and the other was slightly overdone. Hollandaise sauce was slightly separated but generously poured over the top. Both meals were presented well and of a decent size.

SERVICE?

Staff were polite and friendly. As the cafe was at capacity when we arrived, they offered us a seat on the couch while we waited for a table. Once seated we ordered coffees and they arrived in a timely manner. However, the food took a while to arrive. I managed to finish the Domain section of the newspaper and our food was still not ready.

AMBIENCE?

We visited last Saturday morning for an impromptu brunch after an early appointment and were surprised by the popularity of the cafe. There were plenty of locals and families with kids so the venue got quite loud at times. There is a cheerful and easy going atmosphere at the cafe driven by the friendliness of the staff.

VALUE?

Prices are quite average, with the Big Breakfast being the priciest item on the breakfast menu at $20.

BOOKINGS?

I saw on their signboard and on their website that they are open for tapas style dinners on Friday nights, bookings are welcome.

6

out of 10!

Station Street Cafe
26 Station Street, Nunawading VIC 3131
03 9878 9383
 Station Street Café on Urbanspoon

Salix Restaurant and Bistro, Willow Creek Winery, Merricks North

20 Mar

Highlight – Assiette of desserts

Lowlight – Tiny servings

FOOD?

Due to the popularity of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Salix restaurant was fully booked on Sunday for lunch so we decided to dine at the bistro instead.

My best friend and I overestimated the travel time and we ended up arriving half an hour early to the winery. As such we decided to enjoy some wine tasting while we waited for the other guests to arrive. For $5 we sampled six different wines from the Willow Creek Vineyard. My favourite was the 2006 Willow Creek Vineyard Brut, made of equal parts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

We chose the 2 course ‘Express Lunch’ which gave us two options for both entrée and main.

To start I ordered the beetroot cured ocean trout which reminded me of the salmon I had at Livingroom in Malvern. I was hoping it would be similar but unfortunately the beetroot flavour didn’t really come through in the trout, maybe because the portion was so small I couldn’t really taste it. The highlight of the dish for me was the rillette with a squeeze of lemon juice, which had just the right amount of each ingredient to balance out the flavours.

For mains, the slow cooked lamb shoulder was super tender and I just wanted to have more but there were only two mouth fulls on the plate. I wasn’t fond of the polenta, it was quite bland and I would have much preferred a simple mash instead. My dining companions were pleased with the four pieces of delicate gnocchi pillows but again, could have had a handful more.

Ocean trout, beetroot cured & rillette, ruby grapefruit, almond & artichoke salad

Ocean trout, beetroot cured & rillette, ruby grapefruit, almond & artichoke salad

Pan fried potato gnocchi, Swiss browns, meat balls, porcini crumbs

Pan fried potato gnocchi, Swiss browns, meat balls, porcini crumbs

Slow cooked pressed lamb shoulder, truffled white polenta, cherry tomato jus

Slow cooked pressed lamb shoulder, truffled white polenta, cherry tomato jus

I was still a little hungry after mains so was super keen for dessert. We ordered one platter of desserts and one pavlova to share between us six girls. I’m not a huge fan of pavlova but I enjoyed this, it was both light and fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. This was topped with a musk flavoured fairy floss and a pear and apple compote.

When the assiette of desserts came to the table it looked divine and I couldn’t wait to dig in! I loved the rich chocolate ice cream with bursts of honey cubes, the vanilla crème brulee with coffee poached pear, and the honeycomb bavarois with peach and plum compote. I’m very much a sweet tooth so it was all yummy to me!

Pavlova with pear & apple compote

Pavlova with pear & apple compote

Assiette of desserts

Assiette of desserts

SERVICE?

We had no complaints with the service, the staff were pleasant and friendly. However, timing between courses was a bit slow and we didn’t get our tea and coffees til a while after our dessert. It would have been nice to enjoy them together.

AMBIENCE?

With floor to ceiling windows, the dining areas looked out towards the vineyards. The sun was out so we were fortunate to enjoy the amazing views.

VALUE?

Our choice of the 2 Course Express Lunch was superb value. For $35 each we received a choice between two dishes per course plus a glass of wine and tea or coffee to finish. For an additional $10, we had the choice of ordering the pavlova (note that there was only one option for dessert). On top of this we were able to use our Entertainment Card to receive 25% off the lot! Considering this, the serving sizes were forgivable.

BOOKINGS?

Best to make a booking as the restaurant and bistro can get quite busy on the weekends. Also if you’re travelling over an hour from Melbourne to eat then you wouldn’t want to take the risk in not getting a table!

6

out of 10!

Salix Restaurant & Bistro
Willow Creek Winery
166 Balnarring Road, Merricks North Vic 3926
03 5989 7640 
 

Entertainment Book

25% up to $40

Salix Restaurant at Willow Creek Winery on Urbanspoon

Mezzo Bar and Grill, Melbourne

23 Oct

Highlight – Contemporary ambience

Lowlight – No ‘wow’ factor

Arancini filled with spinach, caciocavallo cheese, chilli

Arancini filled with spinach, caciocavallo cheese, chilli

Oysters natural with lemon and red wine shallot dressing / baked with sopressa, chilli and white balsamic

Oysters natural with lemon and red wine shallot dressing / baked with sopressa, chilli and white balsamic

Twice cooked otway pork belly, spiced baby apples, cavolo rosso, leatherwood honey

Twice cooked otway pork belly, spiced baby apples, cavolo rosso, leatherwood honey

FOOD?

We chose Mezzo Bar and Grill for our pre-girls night out dinner and were allocated a high table close to the window. We weren’t overly impressed with the standard of food as it was quite average. First up were the arancini balls filled with caciocavallo cheese, spinach and chilli. I would say that I enjoyed this more so than my main. The texture was moist and there was just enough cheese to cover each bite. Our other entrees included a dozen oysters and a charcuterie plate which were both okay yet unmemorable.

For mains I choose the twice cooked otway pork belly with the cutest mini spiced apples on the side and red cabbage. The portion of the pork belly was massive and too much for me to finish. It could have used a couple more apples to balance out the flavour as the pork belly by itself got a bit boring.

Our table came to the mutual decision that the meal was satisfying yet there was no ‘wow’ factor. As such we decided against dessert and instead went out for some drinks instead.

Baked cannelloni with pork and veal ragu, white cheese sauce

Baked cannelloni with pork and veal ragu, white cheese sauce

Eye fillet ‘braciole’, beef rotolo, caponata siciliana, potato crisps, herb salmoriglio

Eye fillet ‘braciole’, beef rotolo, caponata siciliana, potato crisps, herb salmoriglio

SERVICE?

Our waiter was polite but a tad aloof. When he delivered our bread he only gave us enough for the table minus one. It took forever to wave him down again and when we finally did, he didn’t return for a long time after.

The waiter that took our orders appeared to have more experience. Overall service was a bit inconsistent but we weren’t in a rush so it wasn’t a huge deal that we had to wait for service during the night.

AMBIENCE?

Decor is modern with mood lighting suited to the restaurant style. Tall tables are situated along the outer areas and adds a point of difference in terms of interior layout. The bar area is central and quite large and would suit as a venue for after work drinks.

VALUE?

With the Entertainment Book you can receive 25% off the total bill up to $45 value. Although, it is quite expensive for mediocre food and I probably wouldn’t be returning anytime soon.

BOOKINGS?

Yes bookings are available and recommended especially on weekends.

6

out of 10!

Mezzo Bar & Grill
35 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9650 0988 

Mezzo Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Entertainment Book

25% off up to $45 value

Axil Coffee Roasters, Hawthorn

18 Sep

Highlight – Contemporary interior design

Lowlight – Food lacked flavour

French toast with mushrooms, spinach and taleggio cheese

French toast with mushrooms, spinach and taleggio cheese

Smashed avocado with meredith feta and poached egg on toast

Smashed avocado with meredith feta and poached egg on toast

FOOD?

We ordered two chai lattes with honey to start and these were delivered within minutes of being seated however, we were disappointed in the taste. They did not come with honey as requested and it was like drinking lukewarm milk.

After helping ourselves to the menu we took a while to decide as there was quite a large variety to choose from. Food was presented well with fresh ingredients but lacked substantial flavour. My french toast with mushies, spinach and cheese was a tad on the bland side and needed something else to give it that oomph so that each bite keeps you wanting more. The smashed avocado with poached egg was simply cooked and similar to the offerings at Porgie + Mr Jones and Liar Liar nearby (although I would rather have their version of this than Axil’s).

Upon my next return I would be interested to try the corn fritters as they have obtained positive reviews and I think I’ll just stick to a standard skinny latte.

SERVICE?

I came here with a friend for our catch up Sunday brunch. Although there was a busy crowd and the venue looked at capacity we did not have to wait long as a table happened to clear up upon our arrival. I did notice that a line began to form shortly afterwards and this was at about 11am.

Staff are kept busily on their feet here and since we were sitting next to the menu and cutlery area and were too hungry to wait for service, we collected the menus ourselves. Drinks and food were delivered surprisingly quickly given the amount of people in the cafe.

AMBIENCE?

Upon first entering the refurbished warehouse I was taken aback. The interior design is modern, quirky and comparable to the trend of popular weekend brunch spots. Loved the pot plants hanging along the divide between the restaurant and the kitchen staff. There are lots of conversations going on and a mixture of small to big groups.

VALUE?

Average value for money and consistent with the other cafes in the area.

BOOKINGS?

Bookings are not available here so either rock up early or late to avoid the rush. Otherwise leave your name with the front of staff and have a stroll along Glenferrie Road whilst you wait.

6

out of 10!

Axil Coffee Roasters
322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122
03 9819 0091 

 Axil Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Red Rhumba, Malvern East

23 Aug

Highlight – Relaxed dining atmosphere

Lowlight – Portion sizes are small

Breakfast bruschetta - toasted ciabatta with avocado, tomatoes and goats cheese

Breakfast bruschetta - toasted ciabatta with avocado, tomatoes and goats cheese

FOOD?

I had not heard of Red Rhumba until stumbling across it in last year’s Entertainment Book, however it looks like they’ve taken themselves out of the book this year. They provide light breakfast meals that don’t particularly stand out from the crowd. There is nothing too fancy about this cafe but it seems to be popular amongst locals who are after a quiet breakfast whilst reading the morning paper.

I guess I’m used to cafes serving significantly larger sized meals for breakfast so Red Rhumba’s breakfast menu is a tad on the small side for me. I can’t say I would be rushing to return here anytime soon but would drop by if I was in the area.

SERVICE?

Service is average. They are happy to leave you alone whilst you read the paper and will check up on you when you’re ready to order.

AMBIENCE?

The venue is an open space with a casual dining area and didn’t seem to get too crowded when I was there. Being close to the corner of Burke and Waverley Roads they would be sure to attract some passersby.

VALUE?

Prices are reasonable and you can get light breakfast meals for under $10 and then some more substantial meals for a few more dollars.

BOOKINGS?

You probably don’t need to book as it doesn’t get overly busy here and there are quite a few tables available.

6

out of 10!

Red Rhumba
98 Waverley Road, Malvern East VIC 3145
03 9572 0600

Red Rhumba on Urbanspoon

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