Tag Archive for food

Brunching in Balaclava

Sunday mornings call for a spot of brunch and a good cup of coffee. Which is exactly what my Sunday morning consisted of.image

Aftet extensive research into good Melbourne brunch spots and a vigorous scroll through Instagram, we finally, finally decided on a local St Kilda place called Lava in Balaclava.

Firstly we ordered coffee which arrived almost instantly and we casually eyed the menu, as we enjoyed our caffeine hit. There was a lot of menu choice – from muesli and yoghurt to pancakes with fresh berries to bacon and eggs. And that was just the breakfast options…

Lava in Balaclava, as well as offering all day breakfast, also offer a huge number of lunch and dinner options and even fresh smoothies and juices. Situated on Carlisle Street in St Kilda, this is a great local place and only a short five minute walk away from where I live. The staff were all attentive and food service was surprisingly quick despite the busy-ness of the place. They even do a delivery service which is potentially dangerous news for two people who enjoying eating food as much as me and my flatmate.Lava in Balaclava

Since leaving the UK, I have lived without bacon and eggs. It’s been tough living without but today at Lava in Balaclava, I finally got the opportunity to indulge in my favourite fatty friends. Bacon and fried eggs with croissant French toast and a small dish of maple syrup. If I’m having brunch, I’m going to go all out.

The food arrived quickly and it really was delicious. My brunch buddy ordered the Eggs Benedict with salmon and I hear that that too, was also rather tasty. We greedily scoffed our food – the sweet maple syrup against the salty bacon and fried eggs really was something else and mopping it up with the French toast just added to the taste sensation.

Pushing our plates away, we agreed that brunch at Lava in Balaclava was definitely a good Sunday treat and definitely worth spending money on. Even though we are not supposed to be spending money. And I’m supposed to be eating healthily. But who can say no to brunch? Sod the diet. I want my bacon and eggs dammit.image

But anyway, Sunday calories don’t count right?


Rococo, Acland Street

Rococo restaurant St KildaI may have mentioned that Melbourne is jam-packed full of delicious looking food. It’s everywhere. There’s literally no escape. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I should probably say bad because I seem to be eating it all but at the same time, come on, who am I to say no?

As I’ve said, I have decided to settle in St Kilda for a few months before I can even think about being able to afford to travel up the East Coast. I say that like I will be able to afford it after a few months but with the amount of money I’m spending on rent paired with my inability to say “no” to food, it looks like I’ll be heading home poor and slightly on the chubbier side. I’m choosing to think positively that maybe I’ll start to get sick of all the cakes and the donuts and the brownies and the burgers and the paella and the noodles. Doesn’t seem likely though.

Anyway, I am going greatly off topic……….

Whilst settling down for a few months has given me a chance to relax and unpack my bags, it also means there’s not much travelling for me to write about on this so called “travel blog.” Therefore today will be a post on a delicious meal out at a local St Kilda restaurant that I’m still dreaming about.

My fellow travel buddies parents were in town and they decided to treat us on a meal out in St Kilda. Having walked past on many an occasion and commenting on how nice it looked, we made a bee-line for Rococo, an Italian restaurant on my favourite street of them all, Cakeland Street. Ahem, I mean Acland Street.

St Kilda Rococo

Inside it was lively and busy with windows opened onto the people-clogged streets outside. Despite the business of the restaurant, the atmosphere was great. Lots of people – friends, family, co-workers, couples – talking animatedly and enjoying their meals as tasty smells wafted from the kitchens.

It took some time to decide what we all wanted to eat. There was seriously a lot of choice and making a decision on what to eat is always a tough one for me. It’s up there with deciding what University to attend and what I should be doing with the rest of my life. Don’t want to make a wrong decision and then be jealous of everyone else’s meal. Don’t lie, you do it too. We decided on a starter of mixed dips with fresh bread which was divine and definitely warmed our stomachs up for the big event: main course. Washing our starters down with fresh, crisp white wine, we all (finally) decided what we wanted to indulge in next.St KIlda Rococo 2

I went for the pumpkin and caramelised onion risotto. And my God, I don’t mean to brag, but it really was one of my best decisions. I’m fascinated with Australia’s love for pumpkins. It’s everywhere here. Unless I’ve just been completely oblivious to it in the UK, the only dish I know of that has pumpkins in is pumpkin pie. But here, it’s all over the place – I see it advertised in literally every place I walk past. Where are all these pumpkins coming from? Are they even in season? Is the vegetable of Australia..the pumpkin? I should do some research on the matter.

Anyway, this pumpkin risotto was literally perfection. It was flavorsome and gooey and all kinds of yummy. I tried to take my time and savour every mouthful but it was hard to do that when the food is as good at this pumpkin risotto.

Too full for puddings, we regrettably finished our wine and pushed our cleared plates away from us, each of us repeatedly claiming how delicious our dishes were.

Rococo is a lovely little place for a nice dinner with family and friends. The staff are so friendly and know a lot about their wines – I was tempted to apply for a job there but thought I wouldn’t get very far into the process due to my only knowledge on the subject of wine is where to get the cheapest ones. (Aldi – $5. Bloody delicious. You’re welcome).

So with a lively ambience, gentle chatter filling the room, helpful and friendly staff and great company, this restaurant is one that I will definitely be attending again. There were some pretty good pastas I was eyeing up….and those puddings….

Till next time Rococo.

A special thanks to Christine and Nigel for wining and dining us two lowly travellers. Very much appreciated!

Get Me To The Greek

It was Sunday night and a catch up with the best friend was very much overdue. With the obvious choice of catching up over a bottle of wine or two being off the cards due to it being a school night, we decided to indulge in our second favourite thing: food.

We headed to The Hellenic Eatery – a small Greek Restaurant on Crwys Road, Cathays. From the outside, it looks like a nothing special restaurant but don’t let that deter you. It’s definitely worth a gander. A diamond among the rough if you will.

We ordered a lot of food – pitta bread and tzatziki, pitta bread and halloumi, pork skewers, chicken skewers….extra chips. Even the waitress raised an eyebrow at that one – “more chips?” she said “there are some already in the souvalki?” 

“yes” we said “we know.” NOW GIVE US CHIPS.

We love our carbs and ain’t afraid to admit it.

So as we inhaled our food, we began to regret our carb overload. Not enough to not demolish it all though. It was pretty impressive really.

So, The Hellenic Eatery: a perfect little restaurant if you want deliciously authentic Greek food, if you want huge amounts at really good prices and if you want friendly, happy to help staff. Who don’t judge you when you order every carb under the sun.

So head on down to one of Cardiff’s best kept secrets, you really won’t regret it.

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100 Crwys Road, Cardiff, CF24 4NQ


Pottering at The Pot Cafe

Oh, how I only just discovered The Pot Cafe, I’ll never know. Honestly, I thought I ate a lot – but I actually ate so much food here, I worked myself into a food coma and had to lay down on the floor for a good fifteen minutes before I could even contemplate going on with my day. Boy was it worth it though.

I had never heard of The Pot before but upon recommendation, me and a friend decided to head on over and see what all the fuss was about. A small place, brimming and bustling with people, The Pot offers everything from American style breakfast to steak frites. After a tauntingly difficult decision, I decided on having a good ol’ mug of the soup of the day for starters followed by pea and asparagus risotto. The soup was perfect – a mug of pure joy which warmed my insides and served with warm freshly made bread.

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Despite our full tums, the menu was still calling out to us, teasing and taunting us to order more food. And who were we to refuse? That would just be rude.

We opted to share (I know, share? Share? What is this strange phenomenon?) a peanut butter and chocolate slice which was served in all its glory – nice and big and full of all the tasty stuff. Of course, with my eyes bigger than my stomach, I thought it a great idea to wash it down with a real white hot chocolate with all the trimmings.

The Pot offers a range of delicious treats and is the perfect place to go if you want to head out of the main busy Cardiff city centre. Whether you want nibbles and drinks or to dine on a full course meal, the bistro type atmosphere means you can natter and catch up in comfortable style.

Oh, The Pot, you have defeated me. But you were totally worth the pain of rolling myself home. And the fifteen minutes spent laying on the floor wallowing in my own greed.

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Cardiff’s Street Food Circus

Nestled amongst Cardiff’s ever growing food and drink culture is pop up market, Street Food Circus. Open throughout May and June and in walking distance from the city centre, this is the place to be if you’re after some great food and lively atmosphere.

2015-05-16 09.30.30I headed there after a long week of work, eager to spend some down time with good food and good company. Walking into the market is almost like walking into another city. So separate from Cardiff’s usual hustle and bustle of urbanisation, this offers something different, something exciting. A big circus tent filled with tables, and most importantly, a bar (it had been a long week, okay?), makes up the middle of the grounds, surrounded by twinkling lights and food trucks offering all kinds of delicious street food from Greek to Indian, from fish to steak.

After settling our stomachs with (incredibly messy to eat, yet lip smackingly tasty) souvlaki (Meat and Greek) followed by Dirty Fried Chicken, we headed on over to the crème brûlée truck and tucked into a beautifully satisfying sticky toffee one topped with salted caramel. Of course, with our eyes bigger than out stomachs we did not stop there. With our naughty little fingers we grabbed at the chance of indulging in churros with chocolate sauce. And my, was it worth it. Sod the diet. I choose churros and chocolate over bikini body any day of the week.

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Street Food Circus, hiding under the bridge of the rail line is the perfect blend of lively chatter, sparkling lights and delicious foods. And with Summer fast approaching, this is the place to head if you’re a devoted foodie. It’s a literal foodie Heaven. Enjoy!

Madeleines with Madeleine

So in my first year of university, in the heat of exams, with stress level rocketing and study blues slowly settling in, I came across Manna Tea Rooms. I drank one of the most beautiful Malteser milkshakes I have ever experienced in my life and I have never looked back since.

I’ve tried introducing every person I meet to this beautiful Malteser milkshake and they don’t take me seriously, they don’t understand how truly amazing this milkshake is – I realise I may be coming across as slightly dramatic, but seriously, it’s an actual taste sensation.

Manna Tea Rooms is a lovely little cafe opposite Portsmouth cathedral, with friendly staff and great food. So two years later, with my sister Maddie (hence the extremely witty blog title. That was all her by the way) in Portsmouth for the day, I finally had a chance to take her to this cafe and force her to drink the delicious Malteser shake, and boy, was she excited. I watched tentatively as she took a sip of her milkshake, excited to see her reaction and yeah, she pretty much enjoyed it. Although it wasn’t quite the reaction I expected. I think I put too much pressure on her. My bad.

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But the fun doesn’t stop there. After eating some pretty good toasties – pulled pork (yum) with crisps and salad, we saw a notice advertising Spanish hot chocolate served with Madeleines to dunk. How could we refuse that? Would be rude not to really.

With no shame, we placed our order and waited expectantly, ignoring the chocolaty sicky feeling in our stomachs. And then they arrived. I practically fainted at how good they looked. Thick, gloopy chocolate filled to the rim with delicate little Madeleines on the side, designed to look like hearts, perfectly dunkable and perfectly delicious, or as Ross Geller describes them “lighter than air”. And they really were.

By this point, we were basically a human chocolate fountain,  so feeling a bit of a chocolate high, we ignored the enticing calls of the cakes and brownies on the counter and paid the bill ready to escape the safe haven of chocolate land and head into the freezing, rainy Portsmouth streets. Good job we had that hot chocolate to keep us warm, hey.

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I have just spent three days in Amsterdam and what an adventure it has been! I love Amsterdam – the beautiful canals snaking their way around the city, the elegant houses overlooking the streets, the thousands of bicycles owning the roads – and more often than not getting angry at you for walking on what you thought was a pavement but was in fact a cycle lane..
On arriving at the airport, we managed to (4 hours later and one journey in the opposite direction later) find our way to hostel and after checking in and freshening up, we headed out to explore the city. It being 10.00pm by now, we IMG_6615-2.JPGstraight away wanted to find somewhere to eat so after a good meal we were ready to discover the Amsterdam night life. And it is crazy. So many people milling around, bright lights and possibly what excited me the most, vending machines which allow you to buy burgers and snacks right there in the middle of the street. Food coming out of the wall! Whatever next.
We spent our first morning desperately seeking somewhere to eat some food. After a short ride on a boat, we stopped off at a cafe called Mashua which overlooked the canal. We enjoyed a glass of fresh orange juice and a delicious meal which I wanted to re-eat once I had finished. So good.
We then, after a few wrong turns, found our way to the Electric Lady museum. The only way to describe this place is as follows; a tiny basement room full of things which glow in the dark when under UV rays. Oh and you have to wear some strange slipper shoes which you know, are designed to make the experience that just more pleasurable. Not my cup of tea – seemed slightly pointless if you ask me, however I did enjoy the pretty colours.IMG_6654.JPG


Our few days in Amsterdam also included a visit to the Van Gogh museum, plenty of rides on the tram (whilst simultaneously marvelling at how many bikes there were), a sunny afternoon spent in Vondel Park where I proceeded to fall asleep for 2hours and subsequently get sunburnt, and of course a visit to the Anne Frank house. We got up “early” thinking we were being super smart and would miss the queues but no, after three hours (including half hour where NO ONE was let in due to an “important person” being in there), we finally made it to the front. Was an amazing exhibit where you could go around at your own pace, absorbing the history – and definitely worth the long 3 hour queue. (However it probably would have been best to actually be organised and buy tickets in advance but that’s neither here nor there….)

Next stop Berlin!