Eat here: The Glass Den, Melbourne (cafe)

The Glass Den
15 Urquhart St, Coburg
http://www.theglassden.com.au/

We’re officially well and truly into party season now, which means lazy last minute weekend brunches are going to be few and far between until, like, February now. So when I realised I actually had time for a lady date yesterday morning with my bestie, I jumped at it. And even better, I finally got the change to visit The Glass Den, a cafe that  had been on my radar and to-visit list since May.

The Glass Den is a beautiful, naturally lit space tucked into the grounds of old Pentridge Prison (built in 1850, opened for “guests” a year later, and closed for business in 1997), at the old D-division gatehouse. The menu is built around ethical and sustainable practices, with a heavy focus on vegetarian, vegan and organic options; super special-diet friendly! They do breakfast, lunch, fresh juices, St Ali coffee and cocktails (happy hour is a thing there!), but we met on Saturday morning for breaky.

It was the coconut hotcakes for my girl, with coconut mousse, toasted almond clusters, grilled banana and maple syrup, and it was just pretty as a picture…

And, thankfully, the hotcakes were every bit as delicious as they look! For me, it was the maple toasted muesli with natural yoghurt, berry compote and your choice of milk (soy for me), sans banana, because I hate that stuff. That’s a damn good bowl of muesli; lightly spiced, nice and crunchy, lots of juicy sultanas, and the berries and yoghurt were perfect with it. Deceptively big bowl, too.

The menu was incredible and inventive, and I wish there was more stomach space available to try more – the breakfast soba and the coconut ice cream with caramel popcorn both caught my attention. On top of the great menu, the service was friendly and quick, the cafe itself is gorgeous, plenty of parking available, and definitely somewhere I’ll be visiting again. And the best part is that they’re open daily, so if you manage to get a quiet morning between now and Christmas, they’re gonna be there for you whenever you need! Have a great week, kids 🙂
The Glass Den Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Eat here: Sun Moth Canteen, Melbourne (cafe)

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar
28 Niagara Lane, Melbourne CBD
http://www.sunmoth.com.au/

I’m lucky enough to not only have a job I quite enjoy, but to also work with the loveliest group of people 🙂 Among my new team (I still feel kinda new to the job even though it’s been just over 6 months since I’ve been here!) is an old colleague who I used to work with in my travel agent days, who was determined to organise a little something for my birthday at work – she decided that she and the other lady in our team would be taking me out for breakfast. That’s my favourite meal of the day (and way less stressful than lunch for me), so I was pretty excited to be able to choose a venue. I wanted something close to the office so we wouldn’t have to rush back, and remembered a friend telling me about Sun Moth Canteen a while ago. It’s pretty close to work, and it’s a strange hybrid of breaky café and drinking hole.

The fit out is gorgeous, just my style, with a perfect mix of floorboards and wooden fittings and industrial lighting – a very open and welcoming space, with plenty of natural light coming in on those sunny Melbourne mornings.

The menu is pretty simple and ever evolving, with a few oat based options (muesli, bircher and porridge) and a few other standard options like smashed avo toast and omelettes, but brought up to a much nicer level with the addition of things like smoked ham hock and walnut thyme butter…

The girls went with the omelettes with three cheese and sides of ham hock and mushrooms. Amazing. A big, fluffy, grated pecorino pile of egg on top of some house brick-sized crunchy toast, it smelt incredible. The girls polished them off so I’m guessing they tasted pretty good, too!

For me it had to be the bircher – I love it! A delicious classic bircher topped with stewed rhubarb, fresh apple slices and a golden crumble, it was the ultimate hot weather comfort food breaky. Rich and creamy, filling without being heavy or sickening, and the crumble was amazing – perfect crunchy touch with the creamy bircher.

Seeing the nice little bar set up also got me interested in popping back in after work one night for a drink, too… Another awesome addition to Melbourne’s laneways – and they’re open from 7.30am weekdays, so consider a pre-work breakfast date! Also open tomorrow should you want  a late brunch with booze… have a great weekend everyone 🙂

 

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cook this: Crunchy toasted cacao & coconut muesli (gluten free, low FODMAPs)

Consider this my new favourite breakfast, afternoon tea, pre-bed snack, and binge food. Seriously, I’ve been just eating it straight out of the container. With my fingers, if I can’t be bothered with a spoon. I don’t know what it is about this muesli, but I am utterly and completely addicted. My only consolation is that I keep telling myself there are worse foods out there that I could be stuffing my face with… right?!

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When I make muesli, I prefer to make a large batch – it keeps surprisingly well in an air-tight plastic tub, and the recipe below should last around 2 weeks (I half half cup serves for breaky, and yes, just grab handfuls to snack on when the craving hits. Don’t judge. It’s delicious!).

The other great thing about this, and a fact that seems to be quite little known, is that oats actually are gluten free by nature, if they’re pure and processed on specialised equipment! Low FODMAPs diets call for wheat free though, but you can buy specifically wheat free oats too, so shouldn’t be an issue. Oats are also a great source of fibre and protein, and have also been shown to help lower cholesterol, heart disease, assist in weight management (by keeping you fuller for longer) and helps stabilise blood sugar and energy levels. They’re the ultimate super food, and my breakfast of choice, every morning!

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 7 cups rolled oats (use wheat free if you need to keep it low FODMAPs)
– juice of 1 large orange
– ½ cup maple syrup
– ½ cup mixed seeds (I like sunflower and pepita seeds)
– ½ cup cacao nibs
– ½ cup shredded coconut

Easiest muesli recipe ever…
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Make it an extra large piece that hangs over the edges a little – it makes life easier later, trust me!
2. Pour 5 cups of the oats in a large bowl.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine the orange juice and maple syrup – microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then mix into the oats until they’re well coated.
4. I’m a bit pedantic about not having burnt bits in my muesli, so here’s what I do next:
– Put the oats in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
– Add the seeds, mix around to combine, and place back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
– Finally, mix through the cacao nibs and shredded coconut, and bake for a final 10 minutes.

Then, just let it all cool completely on the tray, mix through the remaining 2 cups of untoasted oats, and pop it all into an air-tight container for storage. That simple!

The recipe is also pretty basic, so feel free to add whatever you like to your muesli. Other combinations I love are macadamia, coconut and dried cranberry, dried fig and pistachio, and cashews and sultanas. Anything goes, really! Just keep an eye on the muesli as it toasts – if your oven is super strong, you may want to check every 5 minutes to mix it around so it toasts a bit more evenly.

Eat here: Lady Bower Kitchen, Melbourne (cafe)

Lady Bower Kitchen, Reservoir,  Melbourne
www.facebook.com/ladybower

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Sunday mornings are the best. We seem to have falling into a routine now which I really love. It goes something like this:
– Wake up around 7.30 (we’re early risers by nature)
– Walk 5 or 6km
– Find a cafe to eat breaky, relax, discuss future travel plans
– Walk 5 or 6km back home or to where ever we’ve left the car
– Get on with the rest of the day

One of my favourite breakfast nooks is the Breakfast Club (see more of them here and here), but this time, given that it was a surprisingly beautiful, sunny winter morning, I decided on a different spot, where I knew we’d be able to get a seat outdoor in the sunshine, and therefore bring the furry child along as well, who is always keen for both a walk and breakfast.

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Welcome to Lady Bower Kitchen! It’s a bit cute, a bit kitsch, a bit hipster, and as yet, probably a bit underrated. It’s in a quiet area that you wouldn’t be able to easily stumble upon if you don’t actually live in the area, so you really need to know what you’re looking for. If you’re not from the northern suburbs, it’s well worth the trip. I’m quite surprised to see some reviews that reflect some customers’ disappointment in the limited menu (personally, I’d rather a limited menu that’s done well than a million options that are all mediocre) and the “poor, inattentive service” (we’ve been here numerous times and have always had very friendly and attentive service, regardless of the day or time we’ve turned up).

Someone (though it wasn’t me or Marley) was still recovering from a big Saturday night out so he went with the seeded toast and spreads & a fruit punch (in the jar you can see in the very top photo). Luckily for me, someone wasn’t particularly hungry so I got some bread to try the spreads with. Feijoa jam, quince jelly and lemon curd. All amazing. Marley also shared the toast, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, being his mother’s furry son; carbs with fat and sugar are always appreciated.

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I went with the apple, rhubarb & raspberry bircher muesli. Oh my goodness, that’s a seriously delicious bowl of breakfast goodness. The rhubarb and raspberry compote was incredible, just sweet and tart enough all at the same time, and the muesli itself was really creamy. The apples were super crisp – it all just worked perfectly. I rarely order this sort of stuff for breaky because I can do a pretty solid porridge or overnight oats myself. I’m not sure what made me order this, but I’m glad I did, and I’ll absolutely be back for another serve again soon!

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It was a pity I wasn’t super hungry, because there was the most magnificent display of cakes and biscuits sitting on the front counter just begging me to try them all, so it might be a pot of tea and cake for breakfast next time! I know when most of us Melbournites think of great breakfast spots, we usually migrate to Brunswick, Fitzroy, those parts. But with great food and seriously amazing service, it’s worth the trip out to Reservoir to visit Lady Bower for your breakfast or brunch next weekend!

 

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