Eat here: Naked Espresso Bar, Melbourne

Naked Espresso Bar
390 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
http://www.nakedespressoco.com.au/

Another Friday, another week down (almost). Come Friday, I feel like I’ve really earnt my lunch time break, and love heading down Little Bourke Street or Hardware Lane for a pot of tea and some reading and writing and people watching. Sometimes, if I’ve got a bit of extra cash (because eating in Melbourne costs a bloody fortune), I might even treat myself to lunch, like I did on this visit to Naked Espresso.

They’re one of my favourite go-to places to a good lunch time pot of tea, mostly because they’re lovely and friendly, play great tunes, and give me a chocolate dipped Tiny Teddy with my tea. How can you not love a place that does that?!  Thanks, guys, you make long work weeks so much better  : )

Food is also top notch, particularly the toastie menu for which they’re so well known. Is there anything better than a really well made ham, cheese and tomato toastie? Really? Good bread, well filled (not stingy on the ham, yay) and  a nice little pot of tomato relish on the side. Also, at $8.00, it’s a pretty good Friday lunch option if you don’t want to spend a small fortune and save your cash for after work drinks.

While I’m not a coffee drinker, I do know that they make a damn fine brew; one can only assume as much when you see the absurd amount of Naked Espresso take away coffee cups walking up and down Little Bourke Street first thing in the morning/at lunch time, as well as the constant line at the front door for them. And Melbournians are pretty fussy about their coffee, so if they’re happy to wait in line for a cup, it must be good! And one of my favourite mid week time out spots in the city  : )

Eat here: Kitty Burns, Melbourne

Kitty Burns
24 Acacia Pl, Abbotsford
http://kittyburns.com.au/

OMG it’s Thursday. I’ve been hanging out for today for almost 2 months. I desperately need a break from everything, so I’m finally getting some hard earned days off in lieu and heading to Warburton (AKA my special happy place) for the next few days… YAY! I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to today, but last weekend I had the pleasure of brunching with the loveliest bunch of ladies, and that pumped me up to get through another few work days 🙂

Let me be frank and honest here (because, let’s face it, when am I not?); I love hanging out with these girls. They make me feel like I’m part of a T-Swift girl squad. They’re all intelligent, fun, funny, talented women. And at a time where it seems a lot of women sadly want to compete with and one-up each other (and the blogging world can be surprisingly “mean” and competitive), I cannot tell you how refreshing it is that I’ve fallen into friendships with these ladies where it’s all fun and giggles and absolutely NO competition or egotism whatsoever.

We try to catch up semi-regularly (or as regularly as six busy women can manage), and chose newbie Kitty Burns for our latest brunch. Tucked into a cute little nook off the main road opposite Ikea, Acacia Place is beautiful. Lots of open space and big trees, fresh air and bright sunshine, it’s the ultimate spot for a brunchery. And the menu is every bit as incredible as the setting; there was a LOT of indecision before we finally just dove it, surprisingly all ordering something different…

Sheena (Chasing a Plate) went with Meet Mr Burns, the meat platter from the heavens… That slab of bacon looked amazing!

Terri (Little Wanderings) had the awfully pretty french toast…

Tian (Eat More) had the spiced Togarashi avocado with toast and a mac & cheese croquette (actually, I think we all either ordered or tried the croquette – it was creamy, cheesy, fried happiness)…

Mon (Mon’s Adventure)  went with the Omelette “Arnold Bennett” with slow poached smoked rockling, which she kindly let me taste (delicious and creamy) and a very cute little bottle of coffee…

Cass (Hungry Cookie) picked the Eton Mess with coconut yoghurt and strawberry textures and spiced meringue – also kindly gave me a taste test and, again, amazing! The flavour of the strawberries and cherries were pure Aussie summer to me 🙂

And I couldn’t go past the coconut chia pudding. With mango. And strawberry bits. And aerated coconut. And activated buckwheat clusters. And magic. I dunno how they get theirs to taste that perfect, I need help with this at home! It was rich and thick and creamy, the coconut yoghurt was probably the best I’ve ever tasted, and the crunchy buckwheat clusters were the perfect addition – need these to add to my oats at home!

brunch

I was a bit apprehensive before visiting, as I am with all places that blow up with attention on opening, but the praise is well deserved. The cafe itself is stunning, with high ceilings, enormous windows to flood it with natural light, and surrounded by trees. The company was obviously top notch, with conversation ranging from new jobs to travel adventures to the many uses for the humble potato to ballerinas at weddings and I think literally everything in between. And the food was fantastic. It was just the kind of menu I fall in love with and want to sample everything from. I just wish it was a little closer to home so it could be my regular!!

Kitty Burns Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Good Ovening, Melbourne

Good Ovening
200 Queen St, Melbourne CBD
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009533791754&fref=ts

IMG_8573

I started a new job a few weeks ago; with a new job, naturally, comes new territory. I found myself based in a different pocket of Melbourne’s CBD for this new role, and as a creature of habit, set out quickly to find somewhere to spend my lunch breaks with a pot of tea and a book or notepad and pen. I found Good Ovening.

This adorable little cafe is tucked into a nook on the corner of Queen and Little Bourke Streets, with an adorable astro turf and pastel lawn furniture set up outside, and a gorgeous, homely wooden table and 70’s pleather seat situation inside. I’m a regular visitor now, enjoying several pots of tea (which are served with delicious, complimentary little scone/biscuit hybrids), but the other day curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to have lunch here, too.

IMG_8576
The specialty is their Korean style chicken fillet steak – chicken thigh fillets baked with a bit of golden crispness on the outside and super juicy on the inside. I went with the Pizza Yola ($13.50), which saw my chicken topped with a tomato and onion sauce, salami, olives & mozzarella, with sides of mashed potato, salad & slaw. Unreal! The chicken was incredible, very tender and juicy… I really hate this word for some reason, but I guess “succulent” would be the right word for it. The sides were all delicious, too, and it was a pretty filling meal for the price!
IMG_8575
Good Ovening is the perfect urban paradise; the food is great, but the place has some soul to it, too. The service has never been anything less than 5 star, with everyone who comes in being greeted with a smile and “hello” from one of the staff who always walk over to meet them. The exposed brick walls, vintage suitcase in the corner holding a flower pot and the old books on the shelf are all out of the home of my dreams, and the mellow music is always playing; this place is just begging you to come on in, pull up a seat and relax for a while! It might not be on top of the hipsters’ top places to eat list (yet), but trust me, its well worth a visit if you feel the need to treat yo self to lunch or tea this work week – I might see you there!
IMG_8574

Good Ovening on Urbanspoon

Eat here: Red Door Corner Store, Melbourne

Red Door Corner Store, Northcote, Melbourne
http://www.reddoorcornerstore.com.au/

IMG_3221.JPG

Well if this isn’t the cutest little place in the northern suburbs, then I just don’t know… I think I’ve found another favourite cafe to add to my list! Self-described as a cafe/milk bar/corner store type neighbourhood set up, they’re doing the breakfast/brunch/lunch/coffee thing, and doing it bloody well. They have a few little tables set up out front, a beautiful indoor area, and a gorgeous little courtyard out the back; you really feel like you’re dropping in to an old friend’s place for a cuppa, which is a really good feeling to have particularly when you’re visiting an establishment for the first time!

IMG_3227.JPG

I absolutely fell in love with the decor inside – the beautiful, vintage baking utensils and equipment framed on the perfect white walls put a huge smile on my face and made me feel right at home (also made me wonder how I’d be able to make that look work in my own home… I’ll work on it).

Anyway, food. A friend (a fellow foodie) and I were overdue for a catch up last weekend, and thought it’d be a good opportunity to try somewhere we’d never been before, which is how we came to eat here. We both wanted a bit of everything, so we decided to order a few things and split them all, to maximise tasting ability and stomach space – great option! Here’s what we made our way through:

Cold-pressed fresh orange juice ($5.50) – yeah it was pretty pricey for OJ, but honestly it’s probably the best cafe OJ I can remember having. Worth it.

IMG_3235-0.JPG

We grabbed a potato rosti each ($4.50 each), because who can resist crispy potato? They were delicious, would highly recommend them and think they’d be a great accompaniment to your bacon and egg breakfast dish!

IMG_3237-0.JPG

Next up was the pulled pork roll with red cabbage and chipotle aioli ($10.00). This was a huge winner – the pork as incredible, super soft and very tasty, I really liked the aioli, and the bread from Dench was right on point. Would definitely order this one again!

IMG_3236-0.JPG

Lastly was a serve of the crumpets ($9.50). How could you not?! I think this is one of their signature dishes – the crumpets were clearly baked fresh, soft and fluffy and soooo good! The Myrtleford butter was incredible, so creamy. The honey was a big hit with my friend, and I loved the jam – one of the best I’ve tried! You can actually buy the jams to take home, which I think I’ll have to do next time. I’m also going to have to learn to bake crumpets!

IMG_3223.JPG

It sucked that we were so full from breakfast that dessert wasn’t a very intelligent option, because the dessert cabinet was absolutely magnificent… I’ll be back for cake. Multiple cakes, actually.

IMG_3229.JPG

So, if you live in the area, don’t make any excuses. Cancel plans if need be and make a breakfast or lunch or brunch date ASAP. If you don’t live in the area, it’s a beautiful little suburb, so get out there and eat some beautiful food. Also, the staff were so lovely – they were really friendly, were all smiling, and were very accommodating. It just added to that comfortable feeling and happy vibe of the place, and one of the things that’ll bring me back again 🙂

 

Red Door Corner Store on Urbanspoon

Eat here: D.O.C. Pizza & Mozzarella Bar, Melbourne

D.O.C. Pizza & Mozzarella Bar, Melbourne
www.docgroup.net

I’m Italian, and proud of it. Yet, as you may have noticed, I rarely frequent Italian restaurants. Why? Because I find it really hard to find good, I mean really, authentically good Italian food. I know there are some beautiful Italian restaurants out there, but I’ve also grown up eating my family’s home cooking, both here and in Italy, so I know what it should taste like. And very rarely does anything live up to those standards. Good Italian food is simple. It’s very high quality ingredients, put together in a very simple way. It’s avoiding fancy cooking techniques and extra embellishments, so as not to take away from the amazing ingredients being used. So, when mum vouched for D.O.C., I knew it’d be worth a visit.

We finally got there for lunch last weekend, and in complete honesty, it was the best Italian meal I’ve had since actually being in Italy last year. Visiting their website, you immediately see D.O.C.s mission statement:

D.O.C. is real Italian eating and age old simplicity refreshed with contemporary flair. A celebration of heritage. A joy in sharing. Authentic, exuberant and outrageously Italian.

And that is exactly what we got. You can read a lot more about what they’re all about on their website, so I won’t waste your time regurgitating it all for you. I’ll let the pictures of our food do the talking.

First up, like the proper wog I am, was the salumi board with fior di latte cheese drizzled with a little olive oil ($24.90). I’ve had some pretty amazing cured meats, thanks to my grandparents who do a lot of it themselves, but this would have to have been one of the best meat boards I’ve ever had. The cheese was even better. Oh my goodness. Husband (now an honorary Italian) was half way through and already asking if we were free next weekend to come back.

20140622-140003-50403641.jpg

 

Next up was the pizza – resplendent with San Daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes, with the typical Italian drizzle of oil ($23.50). We both agreed, best pizza we’ve had outside of Italy. But seriously, would we have time to visit again before I flew off to Vietnam next weekend?? For food this good, you make time.

20140622-140003-50403958.jpg

We spent the meal talking about how much fun we’d had in Italy, Rome and Florence in particular the previous year. Being the insatiable wanderluster I am, I’ve already planned trips up to 2019 (I’m not kidding, I have a problem), with the next big one being back to Europe. I asked how he’d feel about hiring a car and driving around Tuscany for a week. Absolutely! How about moving to Rome for 6 months? It was up for debate before we started eating; we were ready to pack up the house that afternoon by the end of the meal. We felt like we were back in Italy for a while, over that meal. And it was amazing. There really aren’t many restaurants that can so effortlessly transport you around the world like that. If you’re in Melbourne and like me in that you want something real and authentic to eat, you’re going to love D.O.C. I really can’t praise it highly enough, and I really can’t wait to get back again.

20140622-161930-58770437.jpg

 

DOC Pizza on Urbanspoon