Sunday, 15 July 2012

North Side Brunching & Lunching

I could provide you with a myriad reasons explaining my absence over the last couple of months: hectic uni assignments, too many wild nights clubbing, abduction by extraterrestrial life forms, hand-raising an orphaned unicorn...but I'd be lying.

The honest truth is I'm friggin' lazy. No surprise to all of you who know me well.

But let's skim over my shortcomings and get to the food!

1. Beatrix, North Melbourne
I am a Beatrix zealot. I follow their Facebook page with more interest than is normal or healthy. Which explains why I ended up with this hunk o' deliciousness. The 'Wanda' ($13.5) - consisting of smoked salmon, creme fraiche potato salad, roast tomatoes, watercress and crispy onions - really hit the spot.

G, who was dragged along, opted for the wild mushroom option, the name of which I have forgotten. The cheese was unbelievable, of the rich, intense, gooey, conversation-stopping, eye-popping variety. Sadly, this photo doesn't really do it justice.

A gingerbread hula-hoop ($3) to finish!

And then, just when I thought I'd had my fill of Beatrix baked goods for the forseeable future (i.e. two weeks max.), the Elvis cupcake ($5.5) made an appearance. I duly came to pay my respect to the King: a banana buttercake base, topped with peanut buttercream and shards of crispy, smoked bacon praline. Lived up to the Melbourne food blogosphere hype.

2. Middle Fish, Carlton
Stopped by for a quick lunch to mentally and physically prep for a five-hour prac (gaaah). Caramelised pork belly with greens and a fried egg ($14.5) was a wise choice: morsels of salty, sweet, fatty goodness and a still slightly gooey egg yolk perched atop a perfect mound of rice, perfect for soaking up sauciness.

3. Gingerlee, Brunswick East
So A - my med friend, whose natural habitat appears to be KereKere - and I have been planning to go here for what seems like an age. But then inevitably, I get sick, or A is hungover and brunch dates are postponed. Until WE MADE IT HAPPEN (last week). We stuck to what are arguably Gingerlee's 'signature dishes': I opted for the Baked eggs with beans, stewed tomato, coriander and yoghurt, while A had the Syrian sandwich with rhubarb, pistachio and star anise yoghurt (around $17 each).

Servings are prettttty generous for the beans, and A praised the toast's ability to maintain integrity  despite assaults from various forms of deliciousness (thumbs up!). Coffee was solid.

4. Wide Open Road, Brunswick
This place is the cafe du jour, which I'm not 100% in agreement with. The food is solid, the coffee is great, the staff friendly, the fitout relaxed and spacious (thank goodness, because the exterior of this building has a facade only a mother could love)...but I just think it's missing that extra factor. R and E, being of the vegetarian persuasion, both opted for the Lightly scrambled eggs with multigrain toast, truffle oil and avocado, in place of the usual smoked salmon/free range bacon options ($14.5). I went for the Smashed peas, topped with pecorino cheese, goats cheese, crispy pancetta and lemon ($13); they certainly give you a shedload of peas, not that you'll hear me complaining.

5. Milkwood, Brunswick East
Coffee and cake with my history-lovin', vampire-adorin', Beatle-dotin' friend P was in order, so we met at our equidistant safehouse, Milkwood. The baked goods here are supersized and delicious. P nabbed the last slice of a luscious Banana cake, cloaked in cream cheese frosting ($5), and I opted for a massive Chocolate lamington ($5). Perfect accompaniments to great, and sometimes ludicrous, conversation.

Expert cross-sectional dissection to reveal raspberry jam innards.

The next two destinations are extreme north side brunching, by which I mean I was actually in Brisbane. Still counts.

6. Gunshop Cafe, West End
The food wasn't up to usual standards when I visited, but hopefully it's just a rare occurrence rather than the norm. Potato fetta hash cakes, spinach, tomato and herb sour cream ($16.5), and Berry French toast ($18.5) were selected as stomach satisfiers on this occasion.

7. Lady Marmalade Cafe, Stones Corner
When up in Brisbane, C treated me to a lovely lunch at Lady Marmalade, a cute and kitsch (in a good way) cafe. C had the 'Gringo' baked eggs with wagyu, chorizo and black bean ragu, herbs and fetta ($13.5), and I was seduced by 'B-HAL-T', a bacon, haloumi and tomato cousin of the BLT ($11). Both pretty amazing, judging by the halt in gossip when the food arrived. Also, note the epic peacock toothpick; as I suffer from hoarder tendencies, it's actually sitting right next to me as I type this.

Phew! Seems I'm a bit rusty at this bloggin' shiz. More posts to follow soon...

P.S.: Happy Bastille Day for yesterday! Hope you had some delicious French food; La Belle Miette's milk chocolate and passionfruit macarons certainly added some love to my day!

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