Stovetop cafe, Melbourne.

We stumbled upon Stovetop after trying to get into a cafe nearby which had a wait time of an hour, which is a common problem on a Saturday morning in Melbourne. Stovetop had no lines, and the friendly staff sat us down in a light filled/instagram ready cafe with lots of greenery and light-wood furniture.

After perusing the delicious sounding menu, which had lots of vegan and veggie options, we decided on the below.

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An amazingly indulgent and yummy Golden Gaytime milkshake, which we would order again in a heartbeat! Sweet, cold and creamy – a proper old school milkshake with a twist!

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The NEW ZEALAND KING SALMON which included: dry brined & smoked king salmon, potato latke, goats cheese creme, pastrami cure, salmon pearls, poached egg, dill herb salad. We loved this dish – it was deceptively hearty and the potato, goats cheese and salmon went together like a dream.

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The ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA FRITTERS which also included crushed avocado, persian fetta, dukkah crumbed egg, chilli and rye toast. I was told that the dukkah crumbed egg was awesome, and that it was pretty cool that it was included in the dish without having to pay extra for it, which seems to be a sad trend in Melbourne cafes this days. In fact, this dish included smashed avo, a poached egg and fritters, and it was only $16.50! Great value!

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Lastly, we ordered : CHIA PUDDING, which was vegan and included toasted coconut, granola, dragon fruit, lychee, fresh berries, agave. Seriously, this dish looked beautiful and was probably the prettiest out of all of them. So fresh and healthy, but still filling with all that granola, chia and fruit.  This dish was also great value at only $10.50

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We were so happy that we found Stovetop – the food was delicious, the staff lovely, atmosphere buzzing, and the place was filled with light and perfect for food photography. Also, the food was such great value – we left feeling like we had a gorgeous brunch at a reasonable price, which isn’t something that happens often in Melbourne.

Highly recommended!

Stovetop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Charisma Workshop

I discovered Charisma Workshop through the EatClub app. EatClub has introduced us to some of our new favourite restaurants, at up to 50 % off! Highly recommend downloading it and seeing what is around you.

Charisma Workshop is a cafe, hidden down an alleyway which is currently surrounded by construction. It is a bit dark, but there are definately some treasures to be found there!

Their staff are friendly, and so passionate about what they do – they make beautiful cakes, pastries and gourmet chocolates. Plus they have a menu filled with brunch and lunch dishes with creative twists.

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Delicious and dreamy hot chocolate

Their hot chocolates are made with couveture chocolate and are creamy, smooth, rich and delicious. They also have a great selection of teas and lattes which I’m definately heading back to try.

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I was craving a creamy porridge, and so I ordered their Cinamon Oat Porridge with red wine poached pear, seasonal fruit, Japanese black sugar syrup and citrus crumble. It was a generous serving. I loved the red wine pear – it was not too sweet, filled with flavour and helped to balance out the sweetness from the rest of the dish. The crumble added a delicious crunch. The syrup was so cool – such a trendy flavour in bubble tea at the moment, you see people lining up to try it, but it was very sweet. I think it would have been even better had the actual porridge been a bit less sweet to help the flavour of the syrup stand out a bit more. Really loved this dish though, and as you can see, the presentation was on point.

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My wife ordered the Thai style tempura fish and chips. Clearly we have very different tastebuds. I’m more of a sweet-tooth! I did steal quite a few of her chips though, they were crispy and fabulous. Her comments on this dish were that it was a massive serving, the fish was crispy but did not taste freshly battered, as it had definitely been frozen. I tried it and really liked the turmeric spice they used in the batter.

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These are some of the gorgeous handmade cakes on offer – they seriously look amazing. I will have to head back to try some – I was way too full at the time!

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Plus the handmade gourmet chocolates – we tried the yuzu buckwheat and the ruby caramel. We enjoyed them both, especially the ruby caramel. The yuzu was yummy, but could have used a bit more yuzu!

We really loved Charisma workshop  and look forward to going back and trying other things on the menu. Our only criticism: we think that they might have too much on offer (they even do cocktails!)- they might need to focus and refine on a couple of things, rather than trying to dip their toes in everything. However, they are a new cafe, so they may be still trying to find their perfect niche through experiemention. : D

Charisma Workshop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ferdinand, Northcote.

Ferdinand is a modern and cosy Italian restaurant, opposite the Westgarth cinema  in Northcote. The atmosphere strikes the perfect balance between neighborhood restaurant and romantic date night destination.

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Newly opened courtyard for balmy summer nights.

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The menu focuses on wood fired thin crust pizzas, but also includes a classic selection of pasta, starters and dessert. It also has a vegan section, and does gluten free pizza bases, so there is something for everyone.

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Owner Sandor, serving customers with warmth.

The staff are mega friendly, and the owner is lovely – clearly passionate about his work, and very welcoming. He helped us choose some dishes to try…

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The ”Ferdinand’ – san marzano tomato, mozzarella, seasoned cherry tomatoes, prosciutto di parma, mozzarella di bufala finished with fresh basil

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‘Porcini’ – mozzarella, gorgonzola, porcini, wood fire roasted button mushrooms, truffle oil and parsley

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The pizza was perfectly crispy, with addictive crust. Toppings weren’t too heavy or light, and were balanced – for example, not too much truffle oil as to overpower the flavour of the mushrooms and parsley on the Porcini pizza, and the right amount of basil to lift the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes to ultimate deliciousness. We are really picky when it comes to pizza – so the fact that Ferdinand was able to impress us, was awesome.

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‘Mushroom gnocci’ –  potato gnocchi with porcini mushrooms parsley and a touch of cream

This gnocchi was soft with a bite and the porcini mushrooms mixed with cream gave it an umami-rich flavour. So yum!

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Vanilla panna cotta served with a mixed berry coulis and almond biscotti (biscotti not pictured here, because I’m allergic to almonds. 🙂 )

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We were also lucky enough to get some dessert and loved the vanilla panacotta – it was creamy, but also light – a great ending to an indulgent meal.

We want to thank Ferdinand for inviting us to try their menu, and for the fantastic time that we had while we were there.  We now have a new cosy Italian favourite for pizza before we head to the movies.

Check out Ferdinand’s menu, or make a booking here. 

Ferdinand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chin Chin, CBD.

Hey so, you know what never happens?

If you said getting into Chin Chin without having to wait at least half an hour, then yes, you are right.

Though, we did get a table for lunch the other day with no wait.

So, miracles do happen.

At least crazy delicious ones do.

Chin Chin is a light-filled space, which echoes with conversation and is electric with excited eaters. Every now and then an exclamation reaches out above the steady buzz,  a “OMG, this is SO GOOD” or  an “Oooh.” Safe to say, the wait for your food to be cooked is  suspenseful and envy-stricken – that waiter carrying that dish you ordered is heading in a beeline towards you, BUT suddenly makes a sharp turn and you stare at the adjacent table, nudge your partner and observe nonchalantly – “that looks good.”

Such light, such quirk.

Check out the iconic bunny light fixture!

Now, I know that you are probably just a eager as I was to get onto the food.

This Kingfish sashimi is  A MUST ORDER. It is easily my favourite dish at Chin Chin, and one of my faves of all time. It is one of those dishes that you have to have at least once in your life. It is spicy, addictive and refreshing.


Chin Chin has some amazing curries and stir-fries, and really you can’t go wrong choosing a few of them to share.  We tried so many that I can’t even remember the names of the dishes.
Anything with pork belly is a must – they do spicy/sweet perfectly.
+ something that packs some heat – something with the word “Jungle” in it, is a sure bet!


Next time I head there I’m going to try their FEED ME option where 69 dollars gets you a selection off the menu of their choosing. I know it is all good and it might get me to try something I wouldn’t naturally go for!

So yes, believe the Hype. People wait in lines outside venues for good reasons sometimes. :p

xoxxo

Karma

Chin Chin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Altove, Paris. 

When in France, eat …Italian. No seriously, do it. Also, try Lebanese and Japanese food too. Just like how sushi is made differently in Australia to Japan, and the same idea applies to Italian food in France. There is a different twist on your traditional dishes, a fusion of ideas and flavours, and it is delicious.

Altrove is a tiny little Italian restaurant in Saint-Germain-des-Pres. You couldn’t fit 20 people in it. However, what it lacks in space, it makes up for in character, flavour and friendliness.

It has such a quirky front, with fresh ingredients on display, and a warm cosy french-y feel.

The waitress was so friendly and accommodating – plus she put up with my crappy French!

We ordered an antipasto platter, which is still the freshest and tastiest antipasto I have ever had. They were generous with the fresh bread, and there was such amazing flavour in the good quality olive oil used in the antipasto, plus the herbs really stood out. Fantastic stuff.

We also tried a simple tomato based baked pasta , which was stunning and simple. Comfort food at its finest. Not pictured is a zucchini and speck pasta which was also yummy, and a bit of a twist on your usual pasta.

A close up – look at that cheesy goodness!

We finished with a lemon granita – sweet, light and refreshing. A perfect way to end a meal.

The meal was completely affordable too – this place is a real gem in Paris. If you are in the area, definitely make a booking (it gets popular!) and try it. It is such a warm restaurant – beautiful in it’s simplicity, and the perfect mix of French and Italian!

 

Street Organics, Malvern.

Hello again!

I’ve been going to gym a lot more, and have been on a bit of a health kick recently, so when Zomato gave me a voucher to check out Street Organics, a store/cafe for the health conscious, I was super excited.


We simply had to try the Tumeric and Ginger Latte – it sounded so interesting and good for you! It was bright yellow, and had a strong flavour, which was pleasant, but definitely tasted healthy.  I felt like I was giving my body a health boost for sure. : )

I ordered the big breakfast, which came with beans, organic ham, two poached eggs, housemade sauerkraut and delicious sourdough, plus a hot drink and a juice: all for 20 dollars. Amazing value. It was yummy too. I enjoyed the ham, and I love that it was chemical free and organic. The eggs were poached nicely and the bread was thickly sliced, which I love.

Here is a close up : yum.

My brunch partner ordered the Bircher muesli, which looked amazing – so pretty, and such a large serving too. She loved it – full of flavour and not too sweet. I was jealous!

We also tried some raw desserts, the caramel slice was epic – super rich and wow, good for you. We gobbled it down quickly and didn’t grab a photo but it looked like your normal caramel slice, just with less of the guilt.

Street Organics is a great healthy brunch option for locals.

xoxo Karma

 

Street Organics Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: I received a voucher from Zomato to try out Street Organics.

 

Two Birds Cafe – #Zomatomeetup

I’m not a summer person, and currently I’m staying inside on a 37 degrees Celsius day, with the air con on, surrounded by iced drinks.

However, I love summer food. I love the refreshing, sweet, lightness of it all. Mango sorbet, cucumber salad, smoothie bowls…. all of it is delicious.

A fantastic example of a beautiful summer menu, is one I experienced at Two Birds Cafe during a #Zomatomeetup.

Two Birds Cafe, in Collingwood is a gorgeous space, with light wood and exposed brick and the sun shining through walls of windows.




It has a simple interior, mainly neutral, with spots of colour throughout, all brought together with a colourful chandelier hanging over a large communal table.

Doesn’t this dish look summery? It is matcha (Matcha Maiden) buttermilk pancakes with acai mascarpone, mango, passsionfruit, raspberries, dehydrated fruit and edible flowers.

Here  is a close up for you (on a white plate, it was my neighbours, as I couldn’t decide which plate I liked best. : p ) Stunning, right?  It was spectacular to eat too, the only thing I would have wanted more of is the matcha flavour – I’m a big fan of that sweet/bitter green tea kick.

These cauliflower fritters with roast pumpkin puree, baby spinach and smoked salmon felt so good for me and healthy, but didn’t taste “healthy.” The cauliflower was spiced beautifully,  and the pumpkin was moreish. I think I would have wanted the fitters to be a bit moist, however, it was a lovely light dish, with substance.

It also had pretty colours – mmm, look at that pumpkin!

These cute ‘Summer Berry’ smoothies usually come in bowls, but since we had so much delicious food to eat (and my stomach isn’t Mary Poppins’ bag) so I was glad to have it in a glass!  There were chia seeds, cacao nibs, berries, kiwi and it was so refreshing!

Two Birds Cafe has also recently started selling Bistro Morgan’s sweets. Morgan is a young man in high school, who makes all these delicious sweets and delivers them (with the help of his mother) to several trendy cafes through out Melbourne. It is amazing that someone so young has such skill, creativity and ambition.

Have a look at these amazing doughnuts – with the filling in syringes,  and topped with rose petals and pistachio or white chocolate and raspberry – such creative flavours!

Or, my favourite- chocolate brownie cookies filled with fillings such as peppermint crisp (SO GOOD), salted caramel and jaffa orange!

Seriously check his creations out, a list of the cafes which stock his wonderful cakes are here.

I want to say a big thank you to Zomato, for inviting me to this epic meetup, and another thank you to Two Birds Cafe, for inviting us and making such awesome food. Plus, a massive applause and thank you to Bistro Morgan, for providing such delicious sweets.

Have a look at Two Birds Cafe on Zomato here:

Two Birds Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

xoxo Karma

Disclaimer: I was invited by Zomato and Two Birds Cafe to taste their menu. My meal was paid for by Zomato and Two Birds Cafe.