Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Patch Cafe

Address: 1/32 Bendigo Street, Richmond, Vic 3121
Phone: (03) 9029 0328
Facebook: Patch Cafe

I'm always curious about trying different types of foods, particularly healthy foods, so I was excited to try out Patch Cafe when they extended a dining invitation to me. Patch offers a menu with lots of healthy and colourful Paleo dishes. What is Paleo food, you might ask? It's a diet based on eating the wholesome and nutritious foods that our hunter gatherer ancestors ate during the Paleolithic era. 

While I'd heard about Paleo diets from friends and other bloggers before, I'd never tried any specific Paleo dishes in the I really wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived. However, the staff at Patch Cafe were very friendly and helpful, and I was soon offered a number of drinks. We sampled some vegetable juices, which had strong veggie flavours before trying an almond milk chai latte. Frothy and warm, with some nice cinnamon latte art, it was the perfect way to start a meal. 

It took awhile for me and my good friend, and dining companion, Nhu, to decide on what we wanted to eat. I think it's hard when you're a foodie because everything sounds good and you only have one stomach! Nhu ended up settling for a Hash Stack, while I opted for a Spanner Crab Omelette. Yes...another crab dish. I guess I can't really go past crab when it's on the menu! We also decided to share a French Toast, made with Patch's special Paleo bread. 

Nhu's Hash Stack looked amazing. To dissect the dish, it was two poached eggs with dukkah, sitting on a bed of rocket and two sweet potato hash patties with bacon on the side. Sounds like the perfect combination right? I have to admit I had a bit of food envy when I tried the dish because the eggs were perfectly poached with lots of dukkah flavouring, the sweet potato patties were soft and sweet and the beetroot chutney was refreshing. The patties could have been crispier on the outside, but they provided a tasty staple to go with the bacon and greens. Nhu also said that this was the first time she'd actually enjoyed beetroot, so I'd say that the beetroot chutney is pretty winning at Patch Cafe!

My dish was also delicious. Spanner crab and coconut wrapped in a giant omelette served with Asian herbs and chilli jam. It was exotic. I really liked the plump chunks of tender Spanner crab meat that would fall out from the omelette as I cut away. So fresh and satisfying. The omelette was tasty and filling and made more exciting by the sweet and spicy chilli jam, coconut and Asian herbs it was served with. It felt like something I would have tried in Thailand. I'd really recommend this omelette! But make sure you order a latte with it because that chilli jam can be a bit too exciting if you accidentally get too much on your fork.

We finished the meal with Paleo French Toast, which was Paleo bread dipped in egg and served with bacon, honey, strawberries and banana. The Paleo bread had an interesting texture. It was thick, spongy, dense and a little dry. It wasn't the type of bread I was accustomed to, but I think it would excite those who follow a Paleo diet because it's freshly baked by the crew at Patch and the loaves look and smell wonderful on the counter top!

We had finished our meal and were chatting casually about the things that had happened that morning when the staff kindly brought out a platter of  house-made raw desserts - a caramel slice, a rum ball and a slice of cheesecake. I was excited because I have a sweet tooth and I've always wanted to try healthy desserts made from nuts and fruit (and dark chocolate). My favourite was the raw caramel slice. It surprised me how much it tasted like an ordinary caramel slice. The dark chocolate and fruit 'caramel' combination was decadent and rich, but didn't leave me feeling guilty or giddy. I also liked the nutty, coconut base. The rum ball was quite sweet with lots of dried fruit, but I enjoyed the raw cheesecake with its smooth and nutty filling.

In terms of the restaurant, Patch has a lovely dining area and they also play some great tunes, with artists such as Beach House and Neon Indian on the playlist when I was there.

In terms of design, the cafe is set in an industrial space, with high ceilings and long corridors, and is decked with wooden furnishings and plants. And although I didn't capture it in my photos, there's also a lot of room for outdoor dining, with a row of tables set up just outside the cafe.

All in all, I had a good time dining at Patch and enjoyed being introduced to a new healthy way of eating. It may not be a diet I follow personally on a day-to-day basis, but I believe you don't have to be specifically following a Paleo diet to enjoy eating healthy and wholesome meals. 

There are a lot of dishes that sound fantastic on the menu that I didn't try such as the Grass Fed Steak and the Pork Belly, so those would be worth asking the staff about. If you're interested in trying Paleo food, or just eating a healthy meal for breakfast or lunch, Patch Cafe has something to offer you.

Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of Patch Cafe. This post reflects my honest experiences and opinions at the time of my visit. Please note, I'm a blogger who enjoys food and photography, not a professional critic for any particular media organisation or company.


Service: 9/10
Ambience: 8/10
Food: 15/20

Worth Visiting? If you're looking for a healthy, wholemeal or Paleo food, this is for you!
Price: $$ (You're looking at about $10-$25)

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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Event: The Flour Market

I woke up Sunday Morning at 6:00am, bright and early, to make my way to The Flour Market, an event that gathers the best bakeries, cafes, patisseries and pastry chefs in Melbourne. I'd missed out last year, so I was determined not to miss out this year. But when I reached the venue, Collingwood Town Hall, I was deeply regreting my reluctance to get up an hour earlier because the queue was going around the block! Luckily, it moved fairly quickly and I was able to get in and buy some of the pretty baked goods on offer. There were heaps and heaps of bakers that I wanted to try the pastries from...But I ended up buying from 5 stores: Nora, Pop Up Scroll, Candied Bakery, All Day Donuts and Linh Dang.

From Nora, I bought a Rice Pudding, Charcoal Tart with tropical fruit. The shell was deliciously crunchy, while the centre was smooth and creamy with the aroma of shredded coconut and sweet exotic fruits. A balance of delicate flavours and beautiful colours. I will definately try Nora's other charcoal tarts, as well as their artistic breakfasts.

Click to add a blog post for Nora on Zomato

From Pop Up Scroll, I had the pleasure of trying a Nutella and Salted Caramel Scroll as well as a Coconut and Cherry Scroll. I really loved the Nutella and Salted Caramel combination. Delightfully decadent, the saltiness brought out the rich hazelnut flavour of the Nutella as well as the sweetness of the thick caramel hidden under that glossy chocolate topping. I wish there was more cherry in the other scroll, but I enjoyed it otherwise too.

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From Candied Bakery, I sampled a Chocolate Cream Pie. The pie filling was dense, like chocolate fudge, while the dollop of cream on top was light and fluffy, like a chocolate mousse. Together, they created the most amazing chocolate experience and made me realise how underrated the chocolate pie was in Australian culture. A must try for every chocolate lover out there. My dessert-tasting assistants, also known as my brother and sister, both named this their favourite dessert item from my Flour Market loot.

Click to add a blog post for Candied Bakery on Zomato

From All Day Donuts, I selected a Strawberry Cheesecake donut. This was incredible. The donut was soft and doughy with a thin layer of sweet, strawberry icing on the outside, dusted with long, white sugary spinkles. From the first bite you could taste a thick, creamy cheesecake flavoured custard flowing out from the inside. All Day Donuts did not kid around with the custard either - there was a fair amount of creamy custard inside that donut shell. This was one of the most craving-inducing donuts I'd tried in awhile and I'd love to go back to All Days Donuts to try some of the other flavours.

Click to add a blog post for All Day Donuts on Zomato

Finally, from Linh Dang Patisserie, I tried a Bubble gum and Popping Candy cream puff, as well as a Popcorn and Gold Flake Chocolate Caramel Tart. I think both of these desserts were my favourite. The cream puff was delicately constructed, with layers of sweet peach cream, bubble-gum flavoured meringue kisses and white chocolate coated with popping candy, all sitting on a crumbling pastry cup. It was such a fun combination. So light and airy, so sweet and creamy. Everything you'd want in a cream puff, with the added crackling of popping candy. The tart was also amazing. The crunchy caramel coated popcorn and milk chocolate topping was paired perfectly with the rich, flowing caramel and biscuity shell. Linh Dang also set out a beautiful display at the market too, which you can see on my instagram page.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Jinda Thai

Address: 1-7 Ferguson Street, Abbotsford, Vic 3067
Phone: (03) 9419 5899
Facebook: Jinda Thai

My sister and I checked out Jinda Thai the other week and we were sorry that we hadn't come earlier! The food was pretty amazing. The one good thing about being a 'late' visitor was that it was no longer as busy as it had been when it first openned. That, and it was 2 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon, so we'd probably missed the lunch hour rush. Anyway, my sister is a huge fan of Tom Yum Soup, so we ordered one of those. I have to admit, I've never loved Tom Yum and I've always preferred to go for the less spicy Thai options....But at Jinda Thai, I actually thoroughly enjoyed the dish for the first time in my life. 

Thick and rich in flavour, this Tom Yum soup was the perfect combination of lemongrass and spices. It was just really fragrant and sweet. I also really liked the Moo Ping Pork Skewers. Sticky, candided pork skewers, sticky rice (in another seperate little box) and nam jim sauce...what more could you ask for? They also served their skewers on a lovely platter with beautiful blue and white patterns. Very eye-catching for photos.

We couldn't forgo crab once we spotted on the menu, so we ordered the soft shell crab with the apple salad. The little crabs were crispy on the outside, but tender and fresh on the inside. The apple salad gave the dish a real flavour punch with the sliced apples and onions drenched in sweet and spicy fish sauce. When I say spicy, I mean that it was ultra spicy and pretty much set my tongue on fire!

And of course, Thai food just doesn't feel complete until you have the old favourite - Pad Thai. I felt that the serving was a bit on the small side and didn't have all the ingredients that I was use to. But it was hearty and filling, so it hit the spot all the same. 

By this time, my sister and I were pretty full. But Jinda Thai is so well-known for it's mille crepe cakes that we just had get a slice. The flavour on offer was Matcha Green Tea. Silky green tea crepes layered with cream and topped with green tea custard and red beans. I have a tase aversion to red beans, so my poor sister had to pick them off. But the green tea custard was beautiful and thick, adding the perfect amount of sweetness to the cake. I would love to go back to try all the other exotic flavours including Thai Milk Tea and Pandan.

Overall, the food was lovely. A little pricer than regular Thai, but it was every bit worth it. Service was a little slow, but pleasant enough and all the orders came out in a timely way. The restaurant space itself was also pleasant. Very peaceful, spacious and airy with lots of elegant Thai decor. Will I revisit? Hopefully yes! I definately plan to go back to try out the other crepe cakes. If you like Thai food, or cake, Jinda Thai is the perfect place for you.


Service: 7/10
Ambience: 8/10
Food: 20/20

Worth visiting? Yes! Prepare for an exotic food adventure.
Price: $$ (The average dish is around $13-15...But you'll definately want to try more than one dish!)

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Pour Kids

Address: 1E Winter Street, Malvern, Vic 3000
Phone: (03) 9077 3847
Facebook: The Pour Kids

Ada and I caught up again the other day for breakfast near her place at The Pour Kids. I'd been drooling at pictures over this cafe for ages, and Ada was a regular at here, so I was happy to meet her at The Pour Kids. And I'm glad I did because I liked almost everything about this place. Let's start with the food....I ordered a Stacks On.

One of the fun and quirky things about The Pour Kids is the names of the dishes. They all have fun names that sound like titles of Children's story books, or cheeky little rhymes. The Stacks On dish was very much a piling up of house-made potato hashes, chorizo sausages, guacamole and roasted corn relish with a dab of sour cream to the side. I really loved the crispy hash with it's warm, shreds of potato. The corn relish really sweetened the flavours and the guac and sour cream gave it a smooth, creamy element. A warning though: Those chorizo sausages are very spicy! They were a tad bit too crispy for me, but everything else was wonderful about this dish!

Ada ordered the Duck for Cover, which comprised of prok sausages, burnt-butter gnoochi, fried egg and swiss chaud. As a regular, Ada knew exactly what she wanted...I developed serious food envy from the pillowy gnocchi on her plate which was wafting with the scent of butter. I also ordered a House-Brewed Chai, which was really frothy and spicy with Chai flavouring, though not too sweet.

My food envy was so serious that I decided to visit The Pour Kids with the intention of getting the Duck for Cover when I was close to the suburb later in the week. However, the weather was too hot for a filling meal, so I went with a lighter dish - Seeds the Day! The dish felt quite healthy and refreshing. It was pretty much a chia seed pudding topped with crunchy, toasted seeds, slices of strawberry and kiwi, raspberry compote and goji berries. It had the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness....I was so happy to have ordered this dish!

Here is the Chai I mentioned before. To quench my thirst on my second visit, I also ordered an iced latte. All very refreshing. 

Another thing I really liked about The Pour Kids was the fun interior design of the space. The walls were filled with black and white art reminiscent of Banksy's graffti style. In fact, the logo looked remarkably like a Banksy piece I'd seen somewhere on a wall in London! There were wooden chairs in pretty primary colours, unusual bouquets of flowers and lights in basket orbs that cast interesting shadows on the walls. 

Both the front and the back of the space were pretty, with the black table featuring a bunch of wooden rainbow stools to complement the rainbow chairs. The walls were all black and white with a beautiful patterned tile wall for the front counter. It really stood out from other cafes I had visited with its matching theme!

Did I love The Pour Kids? Yes, I did. The food was good, the space was beautiful and the waiter was really nice. I was a little unsure about how I felt about the waitress we had on my first visit because she was a bit blase about serving us. But it was pretty packed the first time I came. The second time I visited, it was quiet and the waiter was lovely. I will definately be back to visit again...I'm determined to try the rest of the dishes here, especially Ada's dish!


Service: 7/10
Ambience: 10/10
Food: 19/20

Worth Visiting? Excellent food, pretty space! A lot of love going out to The Pour Kids
Price: $$ (You're looking at an average of about $15 per dish - the cheapest dish is around $7.50)

The Pour Kids on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 5 February 2015


Address: Shop 4/19-37 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000
Phone: (03) 9654 7887
Facebook: Wonderbao

We've been lucky enough to have Wonderbao with us for a couple of years now. I've been visiting whenever I have a bao craving. Some of you may ask, what is a 'bao'? It's the Chinese word for bun and it refers to the white steamed buns you find in restaurants and street vendors in China, Hong Kong and many other parts of Asia. These buns can be plain or filled with some delicious sweet or savoury filling. They can also come flat, like taco shells, to be served with slices of meat and vegetables. These are known as Gua Baos and are quite popular in Taiwan as street food. 

Since opening in 2012, Wonderbao has made the Gua Bao popular in Melbourne, serving three regular combinations, as well as some unique versions for events as such as the Night Noodle Market. With a craving for some baos the other day, I ventured in for a late lunch and ordered one of each of the different flavours.

In general, my favourite is the Roast Pork Belly Gua Bao. The bun is very soft and sweet plum sauce and pickled carrots are used to flavour the slice of pork belly, providing a zest that offsets the richness of the meat. The pork belly is soft and tender with a good balance of fat and meat. 

This goes for the pork in the Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao as well. The Braised Pork is the traditional flavour that you'd find if you were to visit a Taiwanese night market. I'd say that Wonderbao has been pretty faithful to the street snack, serving it with the exact same pickles and crushed peanuts. I'm not a fan of pickles in general but the coriander and peanuts make the bun agreeable.

The Fried Silky Tofu Gua Bao has a thick slice of fried tofu, which I like a lot. But the pickles are quite strong, so I have to pick them out whenever I buy this one.

On my last visit, I also ordered a warm soy milk so I could stay to read my book as it was too sunny to read outside. When I finished hanging around, I ordered another, more traditional bun as a dessert - a Nai Wong Bao, or in English, an egg custard bun. Wonderbao make really nice egg custard buns. The custard is thick and slightly more creamier than the other egg custards you get when you buy Nai Wong Baos. The buns are also fluffy and not at all dry like the ones you have to defrost yourself. 

I think I mentioned ordering a soy milk before? That's right, you can get warm or cold soy milk at Wonderbao. The warm soy milk comes in a cute Wonderbao cup. Or, if you're not a fan of Asian soy milk, they also have a bunch of other drinks (from Asian Grocery stores) on sale. I had to laugh when I saw that they'd called them F.O.B drinks! 

Wonderbao a nice space to sit and eat lunch or to grab take away from. I've had various degrees of friendliness from smiling and conversational staff to nonchalent-hipster types serving me...but the service is always quick and efficient. The store itself is pretty cute and a good place for a quick catch-up with friends. But it's very busy with university students around lunch time due to its affordable prices and convenient location...I'd wait till after 2 o'clock if you want to hang around in the space. But do I recommend Wonderbao? Hells yeah.


Service: 7/10
Ambience: 7/10
Food: 17/20

Worth Visiting? Cheap, quick, tasty, filling...What's not to like?
Price: $ (You're looking at $2-$5 per bun. Depending on which buns you order, you may just fill up on 1 or 2!)

Wonderbao on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Event: Royal Croquet Club 2015

Have you been to the Royal Croquet Club yet? The event is coming to its last few days, ending on the 1st of February, so if you're a fan of food and croquet, make sure you catch it before its gone!

I, myself, have been on a number of little adventures to The Royal Croquet Club and checked out many of the stalls there including: Mr Claws, Meatmother, D.O.C, Miss Chu, Gelato Messina and St. Ali. I liked the options available, but some of my friends were left feeling not so impressed - there were few vegetarian options and no value-meal options. I could understand the cost factor for those who don't love the idea of dining out. But as a foodie, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

I had dinner there on my first visit. Of course after seeing the lobster rolls by Mr Claws I had to get my hands on some. I tried the Buttermilk Lobster Roll and the Spicy Lobster Roll.It was pretty much big chunks of Lobster meat with a creamy sauce in a toasted sweet and buttery brioche roll. Mmm. Although I liked the Buttermilk Roll a lot, I couldn't really tell the difference between that and the Spicy Roll. The Spicy Roll was not Spicy at all. Only the chives on top differentiated the two. I'd only recommend the Buttermilk roll. At $12 a roll, they aren't cheap especially as they're very small in size. But if you love your seafood, as I certainly do, it's worth a go.

Mr Claws on Urbanspoon

I also tried some of the Vegetarian Net Spring Rolls by Miss Chu's, which were the most affordable of all the snacks, with 4 rolls for $6. The Spring roll skins were crispy, flakey and delicious, though I'm probably biased because I definately prefer 'netting' on my spring rolls. Miss Chu's also got the filling right with tasty vegetables and vermicelli. I've had so many terrible spring rolls in my life, especially vegetarian ones that I was pretty impressed. Despite being to Miss Chu's many times before, both in Melbourne and Sydney, I'd never tried their vegetarian dishes before. But I'll probably try them all now, the next time I visit.

Miss Chu on Urbanspoon

An interruption to the food photos to show you the pretty flags all over the place...

To wash down dinner...Pimm's! Quite non-alcoholic here, watered down with ginger beer, lemonade, fruits and mint...but it was sweet and refreshing. I like my drinks, but I also enjoy it when my drinks are fruitier in the Summer....

Of course, we had to try dessert before heading off. So at sunset, we went to try Gelato Messina's ice-cream sundaes in soup tins. I love the creativity of this dessert house. They're always getting up to some quirky or cheeky idea that appeals to the Melbourne scene. So I visited on two nights and tried two different sundaes, as well as one other flavour which I bought for my sister. My favourite would be The American Chow-Down. I think it won for the best flavour because it was a creamy Peanut Butter gelato with a decadent Cream Cheese mousse and Oreo Custard. A heavenly death right there. 

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

The Faux Pho was a strange combination that I was at first reluctant to try, but it turned out to be quite fun and exotic (Also, having been stood up by a friend who cancelled last minute on me, I was feeling adventurous. But luckily I ran into some work friends and it turned out to be muchos fun. But I digress.) It was a lot of coconut with a whiff of lychee cream and crunchy chilli cashew nuts. Almost like the peanuts in the American Chow Down. The Zuppa Duppa had a thick layer of crumbled biscuits and pistachios. But once I'd dug under that, there was a rich hazelnut gelato that reminded me at once of Ferrero Roche and Nutella together. So good.

My advice for the event? Come prepared with cash - the ATMs there are costly and run on good old dial-up technology! Slop on the sunscreen too because the weather has been warm...but high in UV rays. And prepare to enjoy the atmosphere and dine on summer snacks!

Also come before 5:00pm to ensure you don't have to pay a $5 entry fee...though if you stay until it gets dark your bound to see the place light up brilliantly.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tea Elegance and Aromatic Company

Address: Stud Park Shopping Centre, Stud Park and Fulhm Road, Melbourne, Vic 3178
Phone: 0430 348 384

I've been meaning to visit the Tea Elegance and Aromatic Company (or T.E.A Company) for a looong time. I'd always walked past it when running errands and admired the beautiful teapots lining the windows of the store. So on my day off, I decided I'd visit the little teahouse with my sister. I like tea a lot, which was my main motive for visiting but I was also charmed by the little cupcakes in the display cabinet. Between the two of us, we ended up trying 3: Red velvet, Orange velvet and Lemon Squeeze.

The cupcakes certainly looked pretty with a lot of edible glitter and decorations. Such nice colours, particularly the Orange velvet one. In fact, I'm pretty sure I picked that one solely on the pretty decorations on it...

But I can't say that it was the best cupcake experience I'd had. I'll start with the green one, Lemon squeeze. The cupcake didn't taste much like lemon. Only the buttercream icing was slightly lemony. Also, I suspect that the cupcake given to me had been around since the end of December, as I noticed that it had a Christmas Tree decoration on it (The ones in the window had fondant heart decorations, which was kind of what I was expecting to get.) So the cupcake was kind of dense and hard. Don't get me wrong, it was edible and not stale or just wasn't very soft either.

My sister said the same thing about the Red velvet one. It didn't taste much like the traditional mixture and the cake was not very soft. We shared the Orange velvet one, which turned out to be much more pleasant with cream cheese frosting. It didn't taste very much like orange either, but the cake was more moist than the others. As pretty and as unique as the cupcakes were, they were not to my personal taste. I think my sister and I are a fan of softer, fluffier cupcakes. 

There are many other food items at T.E.A. The rest of the cabinet was stocked full of pies, quiches, tarts and cakes. A family next to us were trying the English High Tea, which looked alright. But my sister had just had lunch so we didn't try it ourselves. But I did go for some tea and really enjoyed it.

Tea is pretty much my lifeblood. I probably drink tea the way other people in Melbourne drink coffee. I also happen to like floral Asian teas, so I was pretty stoked to discover that they had the kind of tea that blooms in your teapot. 

I selected the Green Tea and Peach flavour, which was nice and fragrant and tasted a little fruity. The weather was warm, so we took to the outside to enjoy their shaded seating. After we'd finished with our tea time, we had a look at the shop component of the cafe. There were lots of pretty Chinese trinkets, house decorations and tea-related presents for purchase.

Before we left, I stopped to admire the window housing the collection of teapots. Such a colourful window! 

Overall, the space was pretty, the tea was enjoyable, but I was not sold on the sweets, which were a bit dry for my liking. Was it a nice place to visit? By all means, the service was pleasant enough and they were happy to refill my teapot, so I'd recommend the T.E.A company as a place to bring a book and enjoy a peaceful afternoon tea. 


Service: 7/10
Ambience: 8/10
Food: 12/20

Worth Visiting? Enjoy an afternoon tea, but maybe lay off the cupcakes, kids.
Price: $ (You're look at around $2-$10 for tea and cakes. They also do Chinese tea with some Yum Cha foods and English High Tea which may cost more.)

Tea, Elegance and Aromatic Company on Urbanspoon