10 UNIQUE F&B OUTLETS IN MELBOURNE


Hey y’all!

I told myself to complete this write up before my next trip and here I am now compiling all the unique eating places which I’ve been to during my last trip in Aug this year (2016). There are definitely more hidden gems located in this beautiful city which I call my second home. Maybe I can unearth them up during my future trips there to visit my beloved God daughter and buddies.

For those going to Melbourne for the first time, this may not be a good guide for you because first timers usually go to the usual touristy and popular places. Follow a tour if you need to but if you like free and easy like me, maybe you might wanna check out my previous posts of the following:

https://eatwithroy.com/2015/01/27/cafes-and-eateries-in-melbourne-day-1/

https://eatwithroy.com/2015/01/29/cafes-and-eateries-in-melbourne-day-2/

https://eatwithroy.com/2015/02/01/cafes-eateries-in-melbourne-day-3/

https://eatwithroy.com/2015/02/06/cafes-eateries-in-melbourne-day-4/

https://eatwithroy.com/2015/02/14/cafes-eateries-in-melbourne-day-5/

https://eatwithroy.com/2015/03/09/cafes-eateries-in-melbourne-days-6-10/

Ok let’s start this unique eating journey now.

 

1. GLADSTONE VIEWS FISH & CHIPS (CAR BONNET EXPERIENCE)

If you’re renting your cars from APEX like I did, you may be hungry after all the documentation. I found this little takeaway store not too far away, just to try some local fish and chips. It was surprisingly good, so was the burger. Just don’t look at how they prepare the food though, hygiene is definitely questionable. But after deep frying, no worries mate! Afterall, how often you get to enjoy lovely weathers and savour your food off your car bonnet? 😉

Storefront
Storefront
Chinese guy cooking
Chinese guy cooking
Lay on your car bonnet and eat away!
Lay on your car bonnet and eat away!

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7fkKQd5uRF12

2. HELLO COFFEE (DOCKYARD EXPERIENCE)

Found this little gem when I was at Apollo Bay. Located amongst a dockyard area, Hello Coffee started less than a year ago. Very self-sufficient by roasting their own beans and getting supplies from the neighbouring farms. Totally envy them on the the freshness of these supplies! A very nice place to chill and would revisit if I have another chance.

Signage
Signage
Love the space and simplicity
Love the space and simplicity
Lovely fireplace which is a gem during winters
Lovely fireplace which is a gem during winters
Sourdough bun with bacon. Yums!
Sourdough bun with bacon. Yums!
Coffee by the fireplace is just so warm at heart
Coffee by the fireplace is just so warm at heart
Little roaster is good enough!
Little roaster is good enough!
Me and the bosses
Me and the bosses

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/z1kRSjfsiHC2

3. FOCUS COFFEE (RARE COFFEE BEANS EXPERIENCE)

Little do many know that this coffee joint imports their beans from the world renowned Ninety Plus Coffee whose coffees are largely sort after. Coming here you will definitely satisfy your caffeine cravings. You may wanna check out their daily specials as well if you’re feeling peckish, they change their menu frequently.

Cafe front
Cafe front
Love the decor, spot the Slayer!
Love the decor, spot the Slayer!
Lovely cuppa
Lovely cuppa
Me and coffee guru owner Ken
Me and coffee guru owner Ken

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/eEb9hZDzU9S2

 

4. LONGRAIN RESTAURANT (HIDDEN GEM EXPERIENCE)

Tucked at the end of Little Burke Street, this restaurant is always crowded with locals mainly and little do they know that the chef there used to work in Michelin starred restaurants. It was recommended by a manager at a whiskey distillery down at Apollo Bay area. The Thai-influenced fusion food was amazing all the way from appetisers to desserts and the wine selection was pretty good as well.

Entering the place was a little dark
Entering the place was a little dark
As you can see, loads of customers
As you can see, loads of customers
Fresh Oysters
Fresh Oysters
This tuna salad is really good. Gotta eat with the crackers.
This tuna salad is really good. Gotta eat with the crackers.
This grilled squid was very well done and the dipping sauce it came with was the bomb.
This grilled squid was very well done and the dipping sauce it came with was the bomb.
Can't remember the name of this egg net thing but it's a big portion. Best for sharing.
Can’t remember the name of this egg net thing but it’s a big portion. Best for sharing.
Caramelised figs, aerated white choc, and Thai Milk Tea ice cream... What a way to end the dinner.
Caramelised figs, aerated white choc, and Thai Milk Tea ice cream… What a way to end the dinner.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/BtEmZaTm7Tw

5. THE VERTUE OF THE COFFEE DRINK (BEHIND PETROL KIOSK EXPERIENCE)

This one’s a winner. Finding this place is half the fun! I circled around a few rounds just to find this place. What’s even better is, they have awesome beans which are roasted in-house and the food is just to die for! Service wise is just excellent. Definitely needs a revisit!

Yeah this is the entrance of the cafe!
Yeah this is the entrance of the cafe!
Double check, yeah it is!
Double check, yeah it is!
Shot from the stairway
Shot from the stairway
Their roaster
Their roaster
Crispy Pork Belly ($22), served with soft duck egg, spiced sweet potato puree, black pudding and quince gel. A damn awesome dish!
Crispy Pork Belly ($22), served with soft duck egg, spiced sweet potato puree, black pudding and quince gel. A damn awesome dish!
Love the crackling skin!
Love the crackling skin!
Their signature blend, Sabertooth. Love it!
Their signature blend, Sabertooth. Love it!

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Y4mStF9jQXS2

6. AUNTY PEG’S (NO MILK EXPERIENCE)

Aunty Peg’s is a spring off of the famous coffee roaster/cafe Proud Mary. This premise not just roast for their own branches but supplies to other cafes as well. so what’s so unique about this place? They only serve black coffee… meaning, they do not have milk at all. So if you love coffee as it is, you can order your filtered coffees and espressos here like I did. Nightmare to milk base coffee drinkers. Heh heh…

Cafe front
Cafe front
Love their interiors!
Love their interiors!
Spin some music?
Spin some music?
The bar. If only I can buy these good machines. Sigh...
The bar. If only I can buy these good machines. Sigh…
Roasters
Roasters
Tried all 3 Ethiopians!
Tried all 3 Ethiopians!

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Lg1taTM87zy

 

7. IZAKAYA DEN (UNDERGROUND EXPERIENCE)

Like some of the places listed here, half the fun is finding them. I came across this place by chance and was indeed quite hard to find. Service is excellent, food is damn good. A little pricey though, but the quality is what you are paying for. Check out below how I found the place.

Not a very big signage so quite hard to spot
Not a very big signage so quite hard to spot
First flight of stairs downwards is a yoga studio
First flight of stairs downwards is a yoga studio
Second flight of stairs to the restaurant
Second flight of stairs to the restaurant
There it is! An elongated restaurant!
There it is! An elongated restaurant!
Love sitting at the counter!
Love sitting at the counter!
Tuna Tataki ($21). Very yummy!
Tuna Tataki ($21). Very yummy!
Kingfish Sashimi ($19) is yummy too!
Kingfish Sashimi ($19) is yummy too!
Den Fried Chicken ($14) is nice and juicy... prep and fried on the spot.
Den Fried Chicken ($14) is nice and juicy… prep and fried on the spot.
Kale Agebidashi ($11). Deep fried, not too bad.
Kale Agebidashi ($11). Deep fried, not too bad.
Grilled Cheek Barra ($17). Quite nice and fatty.
Grilled Cheek Barra ($17). Quite nice and fatty.
Fried Black Rice ($12). Quite a unique dish offered.
Fried Black Rice ($12). Quite a unique dish offered.
Pork Yakiniku ($19). Love the part meat part fats combi. Yums!
Pork Yakiniku ($19). Love the part meat part fats combi. Yums!

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EgTSuduZkEG2

 

8. BROTHER BABA BUDAN (CHAIRS OVERHEAD EXPERIENCE)

Ok this place is not exactly hidden but I have not written about it for my previous trips. But the unique thing about this place is that they hanged all the chairs up on the ceiling! But of course their coffee is good as well… Seven Seeds is a little hard to go wrong. 😉

Entrance
Entrance
Quaint but always busy shop!
Quaint but always busy shop!
Woohoo!
Woohoo!
Seven Seeds paper cup.
Seven Seeds paper cup.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xjs4JQ3P8LE2

 

9. MART 130 (TRAIN STATION EXPERIENCE)

This is another unique place which is introduced by a friend. Love this old train station converted into a cafe. The food here is actually pretty good! Coffee is ok. Best place for brunch but can get super crowded.

View from across
View from across
Train arrived!
Train arrived!
MART 130
MART 130
Inside is quaint and crowded
Inside is quaint and crowded
The other side is a park
The other side is a park
Brunch. Lovely eggs.
Brunch. Lovely eggs.
Latte to start the day
Latte to start the day

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/na5uw1rjXKt

 

10. EASEY’S (TRAIN CARRIAGE EXPERIENCE)

Easey’s is one of the most unique places I’ve been. From the above train station, to eating in a train carriage. Not a common place for tourists but definitely a great place to satisfy your burger cravings.

Train carriages on rooftop
Train carriages on rooftop
Entrance
Entrance
Top floor we go!
Top floor we go!
Front
Front
Back
Back
Outdoor seating.
Outdoor seating.
Real deal.
Real deal.
Love the graffiti!
Love the graffiti!
Melbourne Madness ($23). Really satisfying!
Melbourne Madness ($23). Really satisfying!
Beef patties done to perfection.
Beef patties done to perfection.
Chilli Chips ($10). A very yummy side.
Chilli Chips ($10). A very yummy side.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/aKHBsFnq47s

 

Alright that’s all for now, Melbourne never fails to amaze me with new stuffs with every visit. Feel free to ask me about Melbourne if you’re planning a trip there via eatwithroy@gmail.com. I’ll reply as soon as I can. Till my next post, Merry Christmas y’all!

Gastronomically yours,

Big Roy

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Cafes & Eateries In Melbourne Days 6-10


Days 6-10 in Melbourne were the days I sprained my right foot and was in serious hurt. Thank God one of our friends has painkillers which literally helped me tide through the entire 5 days. I have compiled what I have tried in not just the rest of the city but also in Phillip Island as well. Some are really crappy, so I hope you guys won’t experience the same crap as I did. Anyways, here goes the list of places I’ve visited for food and fun.

Sumo Salad
Sumo Salad
Yummy selection!
Yummy selection!
My salad choice! Love the pesto chicken!
My salad choice! Love the pesto chicken!

Sumo Salad

Experience: Needs no introduction but to be honest, my first time trying then. Sumo Salad is prolly in most food courts and this was at Westfield, Doncaster. Love the selection and they are really tasty in big portions!

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: Westfield Doncaster, 619 Doncaster Road, Doncaster VIC 3108. Opens daily.

U Pick Berries
U Pick Berries
You have to buy the containers and fill up till you're able to close them.
You have to buy the containers and fill up till you’re able to close them.
The place
The place
Some berries available for picking
Some berries available for picking
Samples of what was picked
Samples of what was picked
Me enjoying a nice vanilla ice cream with home made raspberry jam
Me enjoying a nice vanilla ice cream with home made raspberry jam
Address
Address

U Pick Berries

Experience: Travelled from city to this place for berries picking. More for the kids than anything else. Nothing much for us to pick anyways and the berries are pretty sour. I would say you can skip this one unless you want your kids to experience this.

Rating: 3/5.

Location: www.upickberries.com.au for more details and timings.

Penguin Parade
Penguin Parade
Fees
Fees
Some pastas
Some pastas
Some roast chix leg
Some roast chix leg
Fish and chips
Fish and chips
Path towards the parade
Path towards the parade
Sneak shot of where the parade area where the penguins will come in...
Sneak shot of where the parade area where the penguins will come in…

Penguin Parade

Experience: This place is a knock off. So expensive and yet there’s not many penguins to see coming in from the sea. The food at the cafeteria is average. Fish and chips was the best but also so so only. Most of the penguins are actually in their burrows instead along the pathways. You get to see them more there. Great for kids experience though.

Rating: 3/5.

Location: Philip Island Nature Park. 1019 Ventnor Road, Summerlands VIC 3922. http://www.penguins.org.au.

The Chocolate Factory
The Chocolate Factory

016 018 020 021 022 023 024 025 026

Philip Island Chocolate Factory

Experience: 

Skip this place. Tour is bad, food is bad.

Rating: 2/5.

Location: 930 Phillip Island Road, Newhaven VIC 3925.

034 033 032

Yummy Pork Chop Rice
Yummy Pork Chop Rice

Grand Taipei Bakery

Experience:

Awesome food and service. Cooks really fast. The bakery front reminds me of the traditional bakeries in our neighbourhoods. Go for their famous Pork Chop Rice. Highly recommended. Cantonese speaking too.

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 594 Station Street, Box Hill VIC 3128. Opens 9.30am to 9pm. www.facebook.com/grandtaipeibakery

Always got queue
Always got queue
Tick and choose
Tick and choose
Signature ramen
Signature ramen
Some Ramen champ
Some Ramen champ
Very energetic kitchen and waiting staff!
Very energetic kitchen and waiting staff!
Just add what you want!
Just add what you want!
Solo diners all have to face the walls!
Solo diners all have to face the walls!
Gyozas are juicy!
Gyozas are juicy!
Yummy bowl of awesomeness!
Yummy bowl of awesomeness!

Hakata Gensuke

Experience:

Love this place even though have to queue. Very squeezy inside but so lively cos of all the shouting of welcoming the customers, serving the food, thanking and saying goodbye to them, etc. Ramen wise, very good. Finished every drop of broth that was on my bowl. Highly recommended!

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 168 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000. http://www.gensuke.com.au.

Prawn and Pork Won Ton Noodles AUD$9,50
Prawn and Pork Won Ton Noodles AUD$9,50
Combination Seafood Fried Rice AUD$9.80
Combination Seafood Fried Rice AUD$9.80
Steamed Chicken
Steamed Chicken
Bak Choy
Bak Choy

Noodle Kingdom

Experience: 

Takeaway for one supper and was surprise the food was quite tasty. Price point is pretty reasonable for Aussie terms and portioning was as usual, large. Located just opposite Hakata Gensuke. Great for suppers!

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: 175 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.

012 015 014 016

Hudsons Coffee

Experience:

Using 2 x 2 groups Astoria Plus4U, it’s amazing the barista can pull such lousy espresso shots. The latte I ordered lacked body and typically cup of coffee-flavoured milk from a coffee chain. However, the almond croissant was pretty good. Wasted no good coffee to go along with it. Skip.

Rating: 3/5.

Location: Everywhere in Melbourne. This branch I went to is at Level 1 Qantas Departures, Melbourne Airport.

Cafes & Eateries In Melbourne Day 5


Began Day 5 in Melbourne by heading out early in the morning to return my rented car as I was heading to Philip Island with my friends the next day in a bigger car. Today was the day that I walked so much, that I injured my right foot. You see, Melbourne City is such a nice place by foot, you just keep going without realising how much you’ve walked! I reckon I did about 10-ish kilometers that day! Anyways, check out the pics below:

What a lovely day to walk!
What a lovely day to walk!
Lovely back alleys
Lovely back alleys
Can you spot the red signage?
Can you spot the red signage?
There you go! Krimper!
There you go! Krimper!
Love the rustic look!
Love the rustic look!
The original Guildford Street sign?
The original Guildford Street sign?
This used to be a factory/warehouse...
This used to be a factory/warehouse…
This sofa and the table cabinets are original Krimper furniture!
This sofa and the table cabinets are original Krimper furniture!
This is the original lift used for the warehouse. Now it's like a private suite for couples!
This is the original lift used for the warehouse. Now it’s like a private suite for couples!
Hi babe!
Hi babe!
Lovely green cups on a white La Marzocco.
Lovely green cups on a white La Marzocco.
My latte. Beans from Proud Mary, very nice and smooth.
My latte. Beans from Proud Mary, very nice and smooth.

Krimper Cafe

Experience: Krimper Café is located at a very small alley right smack in Melbourne city, in between La Trobe St and Londale St. I had to circle like 3 rounds to find the location and parking. Parking is along La Trobe St or Queen St, then you’ll have to walk in to locate Guildford Lane. Once you see a little red signage, that’s them. I totally love the ambience, the whole feel of the place is really great. Hispter-like, but then again they do respect the environment they are in and tried using back the furniture that were manufactured at this same location under the branding Krimper. Yes, this used to be a factory/warehouse for Krimper furniture. I was greeted by a lovely service staff who introduced me to the place and the things around the café. The house blend then was Honeysuckle from Proud Mary, and my latte was pretty good, suspected slightly higher dosage per serving. Very great experience, love it and will be back.

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: 20 Guildford Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000. 0700-1700hrs (Mon-Fri) 0800-1600hrs (Sat & Sun)

Love the architechture
Love the architechture
Famous market
Famous market
Market Espresso
Market Espresso
My latte
My latte
big piece of banana bread!
big piece of banana bread!
It was summer and afternoons were HOT!
It was summer and afternoons were HOT!

Market Espresso

Experience: This is permanent pop up located at the front of Queen Victoria Market. They do have some seats and long tables as well to share with others having a cuppa and brekkie there. No joke during summer, but nice during winter. Coffee used here is from Di Bella Roasters, which apparently originated from Sydney. The coffee I felt wasn’t extracted properly, the body didn’t turn out right for me. However, the banana bread is definitely value for money and the staff were super friendly!

Rating: 4/5.

Location: Queen Victoria Market. Daily.

Check out the sandwiches
Check out the sandwiches
Looks damn yummy
Looks damn yummy
Big portion as usual
Big portion as usual

Mercat Cross Hotel

Experience: Just below this budget hotel, there is an open air café located at the beginning of Therry St. I didn’t take down the details of this place as I was with a bunch of friends with kids so was quite chaotic. However that said, they have a good range of sandwiches and the servings are really big. Coffees are mediocre but go for the food is fine.

Rating: 4/5.

Location: Below Mercat Cross Hotel facing Queen Victoria Market.

Doughnuts!
Doughnuts!
Production line inside the  van!
Production line inside the van!

American Doughnuts

Experience: Another pop up stall in Queen Vic Market which seems to be a permanent fixture. This little ‘van’ stall churns out loads of doughnuts daily at only $5.50 for 5pcs! Each doughnut is stuffed with delicious strawberry jam and served piping hot!

Rating: 4/5.

Location: Queen Victoria Market.

Weekend crowd
Weekend crowd
Love these mangoes!
Love these mangoes!
Lovely colours!
Lovely colours!
The market inside
The market inside
I love breads!!!
I love breads!!!
My fav bratwurst shop!
My fav bratwurst shop!
Yummy sausages grilling!
Yummy sausages grilling!
I would recommend everything in!
I would recommend everything in!
Just to show you how big the bratwurst bun is!
Just to show you how big the bratwurst bun is!
Damn yummy and juicy!
Damn yummy and juicy!

Bratwurst Shop & Co.

Experience: This shop has been here for the longest time providing one of the best bratwurst you can find in Melbourne and perhaps even Australia. All their bratwurst are big and juicy, that you’ll never get sick of eating them! Served with a generous amount of sauerkraut, caramelized onions, cheese and mustard, I just wanna fly there now and indulge!

Rating: 5/5.

Location: Queen Victoria Market stall 99-100.

Boost Juice
Boost Juice

Boost Juice Bars

Experience: They are EVERYWHERE! Not too expensive and they have some really delicious fruity/veg recipes for all kinds of reasons/diets/purposes.

Rating: 5/5.

Location: EVERYWHERE…

Da Rin
Da Rin
Inside
Inside
Ginseng Chicken Soup
Ginseng Chicken Soup
Fried boneless chicken
Fried boneless chicken

Da Rin Korean Fried Chicken

Experience: Located just below my service apartment and always crowded, this restaurant is managed by native Koreans and even the staff are Koreans. The whole restaurant’s ventilation is not that good and reeks of oil. But food wise is not bad, I had the Ginseng Chicken Soup and boneless fried chicken. The Ginseng Chicken Soup is boiled till the bones can also be eaten and the soup was like thickening/jellifying. Really good but the price was a little steep at AUD$30. Rice not included.

Rating: 4/5.

Location: 169 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.

I’m gonna leave you with pics I took around town… I love everything about Melbourne; the culture, the street art, the traditional architecture, the sunsets, the weather, and obviously, the FOOD! Enjoy viewing them!

Horse rides available around the city
Horse rides available around the city

070 080 078 072

Curious litte bird
Curious litte bird

087 089 081 084 085 086 095

Found this back alley with loads of very good wall art!
Found this back alley with loads of very good wall art!

110 109 108 107

This is prolly a landmark wall art haha
This is prolly a landmark wall art haha
114
Tin Hou Temple! Wonder if any relations to the one in Hong Kong?
113
China town

112 115 116 117

Mass going on....
Mass going on….
120
1894… better believe it

119

Laksa?
Laksa Bar? Laksa shots? Laksa on the Rocks? Laksa Sling? Laksa Martini? (I think I can go on forever…)
China town!
China town!
Never knew how these work but if I did, I prolly won't hurt my foot!
Never knew how these work but if I did, I prolly won’t hurt my foot!
128
Lovely sun setting behind the cultural centre

129 130 131 133

30th November
30th November
135
Flinders Street Station

136

Animated display on the building! X'mas is so special here!
Animated display on the building! X’mas is so special here!

138 139

Cafes & Eateries In Melbourne Day 4


Began the day at a neighbourhood centre looking at the veg and fruit stalls and how excellent the produce is in Australia. Seriously in love with their mangoes and avocado. Cheap and good!

Bakers Delight
Bakers Delight
Check out the amount of breads on display
Check out the amount of breads on display
Bought this Vegemite Roll... yums!
Bought this Vegemite Roll… yums!
And also this Spinach Feta Twist..
And also this Spinach Feta Twist..

Bakers Delight

Experience: Was at Bakers Delight at the neighbourhood place and just in awed by their selection of breads and the massive portions of it. And they are like our BreadTalk and they are everywhere.

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: Everywhere in Melbourne.

Latte AUD$3.80
Latte AUD$3.80
Flat White AUD$3.80
Flat White AUD$3.80
Hey Bloke AUD$16.90
Hey Bloke AUD$16.90
Pancakes AUD$15.00
Pancakes AUD$15.00
Sweetcorn Fritters AUD$17.90
Sweetcorn Fritters AUD$17.90

Miss Marie Café              

Experience: Yes I’m back again at this place and this time for the brunch! Crowded as expected but we managed to get a table for 4. The food is really good and fresh. Reasonably priced as well. Latte was different ‘cos not prepared by the boss. Overall is a nice dining experience there!

Rating: 4/5.

Location: 45 Beetham Parade, Rosanna VIC 3084. 0730-1600hrs.

Everyday Coffee
Everyday Coffee
Simple is best.
Simple is best.
3 Groups... My dream machine... One of them at least... ;P
3 Groups… My dream machine… One of them at least… ;P
My Ice White
My Ice White

Everyday Coffee             

Experience: This coffee bar is exactly what I envisioned for a traditional coffee bar. Coffee is the main product while everything else is secondary. This is prolly the only place in Melbourne being so coffee-centric and definitely deserves my respect. Ordered the ice white, really lovely with the right body and taste. This is a place which I will revisit when I’m back there.

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 33 Johnston Street, Melbourne VIC 3066. 0700-1700hrs.

Pizzas are awesome
Pizzas are awesome
Doesn't look good but tasted good.
Doesn’t look good but tasted good.
Cabonaras are the best!
Cabonaras are the best!
Love this seafood mix
Love this seafood mix
Lovely salad!
Lovely salad!

Sofia Restaurant (Takeaway)     

Experience: I remember when I first stepped into Melbourne in 2002, Sofia has already established themselves as a damn awesome Italian joint in Camberwell since 1969. The servings are humongous as usual and the stacking of the gelato is just amazing how they can pile up the ice cream on one small bowl. Although faced with some food poisoning issues sometime in the last decade, Sofia is still standing strong with 6 outlets now in the whole of Melbourne. So buying takeaways here is not uncommon as the food is still damn good even after packed home. The food is still very good, with their home made pastas and halal certification, this place is a roaring success. They play a very big part in the community too in many charities which set a very good reminder for us in business to give back to society.

Rating: 5/5.

Location: Check out www.sofiacamberwell.com.au. Opens from 11am till late.

Barista Bros
Barista Bros

Barista Bros Double Strength Iced Coffee

Experience: This product is just launched by Coca-Cola in Australia and probably one of the better milk coffee drinks. This double strength one is a lot better than the normal one but the milk used seems to be powdered base. Nevertheless still a very good substitute when fresh brews are not available, especially at night when the urge for a fix sets in.

Rating: 4/5.

Location: Most supermarkets and convenience stores.

Started writing on Day 5 already… Day 5 is unfortunately a day where I sprained my right foot for walking too much around the beautiful city, but seriously, no regrets. I will be sharing some of the awesome views and pics here and you’ll know what I mean. Stay tuned folks!

Big Roy

Cafes & Eateries In Melbourne – Day 3


After a tiring Day 2, around Northern side of Melbourne, I started Day 3 with Southern side of Melbourne. Check out where I went below:

This is actually St. Ali... took me a while to find it...
This is actually St. Ali… took me a while to find it…
Inside
Inside
Hmmm quite messy
Hmmm quite messy
Their machines...
Their machines…
Isn't that Matt Perger?
Isn’t that Matt Perger?
Awesome Almond Caramel Tart!
Awesome Almond Caramel Tart!
Ordered a Caffe Latte, came a cappuccino and from the colour you know it's gonna be bland.
Ordered a Caffe Latte, came a cappuccino and from the colour you know it’s gonna be bland.
Roasting Facility
Roasting Facility

St. Ali Coffee Roasters

Experience: Another top few roasters and coffee distributor in Melbourne, it was difficult to locate this place as there are no signages outside. Finally using gut feel, I found the place by parking my car and search for it. From the outside it looks like a warehouse, and inside is also a little run down, which gives it a little indy feel. St. Ali is also the birth place for the World Barista Championship 1st runner up, Matt Perger. When I was there I was told Matt is in Singapore, consulting Oriole Roasters. But I thought I saw him sitting one corner briefing a bunch of peeps… (See pic above). Anyways, I asked for a café latte and tried one of their best-selling Almond Caramel Tart. The latte came with a bunch of foam of a cappuccino and tasted really bland. From the colour of the cuppa, it looked like our Teh Tarik… Sad. The tart however, was good. Sweet but very nicely done with the right flavor and crunch. Service was really good too, at least the waitress made me felt comfy and recommended the tart to me.

Rating: 3.5/5.

Location: 12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne VIC 3205. 0700-1800hrs.

 

From outside
From outside
Balcony seating
Balcony seating
Inside
Inside

Dead Man Espresso

Experience: After a not so ideal coffee, I went on to check out another joint in hope for better coffee around the corner. Dead Man is a coffee joint featuring 3 local roasters at anytime. Equipped with a 3 group La Marzocco and 3 Roburs, these guys are serious about their coffees. Didn’t try the food but wasn’t hungry after all the coffees and milk. This place packs with people working around the area and the 2 baristas behind the machine keeps churning out cups after cups. Coffee is much better and at least I am satisfied for now.

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: 35 Market Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205. 0700-1600hrs.

 

Entrance
Entrance
Very big space
Very big space
Damn awesome soft shell crab burger... whole crab inside!!!
Damn awesome soft shell crab burger… whole crab inside!!!

Top Paddock

Experience: Took a drive down towards Church Street to head for this great place for lunch. Managed to slip in late noon time and got a seat for one. Ordered the famous Soft Shell Crab Burger (AUD$21.00) and sank my teeth into juiciness! Really nice and it has a whole soft shell crab inside. Love it although a little pricey. Spotted the lovely white 3 group Synesso and a couple of top end grinders, I decided to try the latte as well. Beans are from Five Senses and tasted pretty good. But I heard that they might be roasting their own beans soon which to me makes financial sense as they obviously have the volume there. Must visit for their food!

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: 658 Church Street, Richmond VIC 3121. 0700-1600hrs.

 

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Me with Chef David Purchese
Me with Celebrity Chef David Purchese

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio

Experience: This is a twist from the regular eateries I would visit but I heard this is a great place to satisfy your sugar cravings. Met the celebrity chef David Purchese in person and his lovely wife who went through most of the products with me while I was there. Very passionate couple owners and you can see from their work! No doubt the products are a little on the pricey side, but it’s a lot of work on the presentation and the ingredients are of top quality. Still, B&P is doing very well and a birthday cake from there will definitely put a smile on the birthday boy/girl’s face. 😉

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141. 1000-1830hrs.

 

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Monk Bodhi Dharma

Experience: Seriously finding this place is half the fun. Located at the back alleys, Monk Bodhi Dharma has already a cult following for their coffees and food. If you’re a vegetarian or even a vegan, you’ll love this place. The good thing about this place is not just the interesting run down ambience, but also they roast their own beans. Although run down looking, they have a 3 group Synesso and 4 Mazzer grinders serving 4 single origins. Love the chat with the barista and their passion in doing good coffees. Definitely good education for me for setting up BLACK&INK.

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava VIC 3183. 0700-1700hrs.

 

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Guess who's the Melbourne Victory FC fan?
Guess who’s the Melbourne Victory FC fan?

AAMI Park

Experience: Haha you must be wondering why I’m writing about the stadium. Well… I was here for a soccer match and had fish & chips for dinner! It wasn’t that bad as per all stadium food, and it was served hot. Lovely weather, lovely food, lovely match. The atmosphere for soccer matches overseas is just different from what we have at home. ;P

Rating: 4/5.

Location: Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne VIC 3000.

 

Madness at 11pm...
Madness at 11pm…
Have to fight my way in....
Have to fight my way in….
Definitely not the best in presentation but who cares?
Definitely not the best in presentation but who cares?
My triple scoop AUD$7
My triple scoop AUD$7

Gelato Messina Fitzroy

Experience: I heard a lot about this place from my buddy and we decided to check out this place after the soccer match. Reached there almost at 11pm and we were greeted by a long queue… good thing they close at 2330hrs during weekends. So we waited for more than 20 minutes for our cones and you must really squeeze inside and fight for your space in front of the display counter in order to be served. For a triple scoop, it was only AUD$7, so we went for it. One of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted, wanted to go back for seconds but the queue put me off. Definitely a place to visit if you’re in town. It’s pretty near Proud Mary.

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 237 Smith Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065. 1200-2300hrs.

 

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Yums!
Yums!
Beetroot on top
Beetroot on top

Maccas

Experience: Maccas is the term used in Melbourne for MacDonald’s. I ordered their special Angus McOz which featured 100% Australian Angus Beef on a nice soft wholemeal hamburger bun, topped with loads of veg, cheese and beetroot! Awesome supper for AUD$6.60. Yums to the max!

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: Everywhere. 24 hours.

Struggling to complete Day 4… stay tuned guys!

 

Gastronomically yours,

Big Roy 😉

Cafes and Eateries In Melbourne – Day 2


Began my 2nd day by driving to the city and checking out some of the popular cafes and eateries.

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Breakfast Thieves

Experience: Started my 2nd morning by driving down to the city where I can find all my awesome cafes. First stop was Breakfast Thieves on Gore Street. This place has a lot of vegetarian and gluten free options. Although in town, Gore Street is actually quite quiet and loads of parking. The café is located at a very nice corner somewhere in the middle of the whole street. Ordered their hot seller Thieves On The Run and a latte. The ciabatta roll was alright, nice and warm, and café latte was pretty ok. Service was pretty ok too.

Rating: 4/5.

Location: 420 Gore Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065. 0730-1600hrs

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Proud Mary

Experience: This joint needs no introduction. No reservations so have to try your luck in getting a table. I was there just to takeaway one of their best-selling house blend Honeysuckle. The place is as expected filled when I arrived at 9am+ and parking is horrendous. I did an illegal parking to run in to buy my cuppa. First thing that greeted me was the infamous customized 6 group Synesso!!! I didn’t know about that in the first place hence it was a shocker! Coupled with so many EK43s! I can’t even afford one! Envy! Anyways, their coffee is one of the best I’ve tried, and they are probably one of the best around together with the later few which I’ll be writing on. This place is dope folks, if you didn’t visit Proud Mary, you didn’t go to Melbourne!

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 172 Oxford Street, Collingwood VIC 3066. 0700-1600hrs.

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Auction Rooms

Experience: Heard about this place from the lady at Optus at the airport. Not difficult to find this place and I managed to find a parking space at the side road a little ahead of this place. Love the ambience of this place, ordered a latte (AUD$4.00) as usual and a croissant (AUD$4.50). Croissant is not cheap but it was seriously very good with even pockets in between and served hot with kitchen-made butter. Yummy just thinking about it! The beans used are from the blend Candyman of Small Batch Roasters which apparently belongs to the same family as Auction Rooms. Latte was a smooth one with a very nice sweet finish. So nice, that I bought a pack of beans. ;P They are using a Synesso, a Mazzer Robur and an EK43 at the bar and another EK43 at the retail side obviously to grind for customers buying their beans.

Rating: 4/5.

Location: 103-107 Errol Street, North Melbourne VIC 3051. 0700-1700hrs

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7 Seeds Specialty Coffee

Experience: Seven Seeds is touted as one of the top roasters in Melbourne and possibly Australia. Very serious peeps in their coffees and visiting them was really an enjoyment. Here you will see their sensory lab, as well as roasting facility on the right side while the left side is where the restaurant and bar were. I ordered a single origin, Kenya Karatu on a V60 and took around 15mins to get to me. This SL28 and SL34 varietal is bursting with black current acidity with prune and cola undertones. Quite interesting. Didn’t get to eat as the place was crowding up and I was too full drinking so much coffee! Nevertheless, this is the place to visit too for coffee lovers.

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 106-114 Berkeley Street, Carlton VIC 3053. 0700-1700hrs.

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Grill’d

Experience: I frequent Westfield in Doncaster quite a bit while in Melbourne mainly because it was near my buddy’s place in Baldwyn. Westfield is prolly the biggest mall located in Doncaster and maybe even east of Melbourne. Always walked pass Grill’d which is situated at the foodcourt on level 2 so this time I manage to try the famous Mighty Melbourne burger (AUD$13.50) and man, I totally didn’t regret it. Apart from the awesome juicy beef patty, egg and melted cheese, there is also a chunky slice of beetroot which gives the burger a boost in taste! Love it and can’t wait to try the rest next time!

Rating: 5/5.

Location: 619 Doncaster Road, Doncaster VIC 3108. Mall opening hours.

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Brother Fox

Experience: Seriously if I’m a tourist I wouldn’t know this place at all. And also, seriously this is my last meal for Day 2. ;P Drove all the way to Glenferrie to meet up some friends over dinner at this restaurant. Brother Fox is a Vietnamese-owned restaurant but serves damn good fusion food. On top of that, service is tip top with the quick-witted owner-manager. To top it all off, they are using a La Marzocco espresso machine! However, the barista’s skills need to be fine-tuned. Nevertheless, if you’re around the area, stop by here for their awesome food and I heard their burgers are pretty darn good too! Parking may be a pain but for the sake of good food, be patient! 😉

Rating: 4.5/5.

Location: 648 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122. 0800-1500hrs, 1730-2100hrs. Closed on Mondays.

Now you guys know how tough it is to be a food blogger… 6 locations within the span of 10 hours. ;P Stay tune for Day 3!

Yours Gastronomically,

Big Roy

Cafes and Eateries In Melbourne – Day 1


As I embark on writing on the cafes and eateries in Melbourne during my spare time in my coffee bar, I would like to highlight that I am gonna write literally all the outlets I have visited in accordance to the days that I was there. Hence there will be some good and some bad. But it is all to my taste buds which differs from person to person. And due to my time constraint, I will be summarizing every outlet to just Experience, Rating and Location. I’ve skipped Price because most of the places, the prices are almost similar and you basically have to spend like AUD$20 to get something decent for a meal. So cut to the chase, let me begin in chronological order of my days over there.

Villa & Hut Kafe


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Very bad foams
Very bad foams

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Experience: Typical counters like the big chains, Villa & Hut Kafe is the first coffee joint you see when you get out of the customs of the International Airport. And looking at the queue and corporate identity, I thought it must be pretty good. Queued up like the rest and got a sandwich as well as I was famished. Seats were like wooden stools and there were many tourists with trolleys and luggages all over the place. I think you can imagine. I found a seat on a long bench with no tables at a corner and sat down to have my sandwich and café latte. Saw the way the baristas prepared the coffees, I sort of knew my coffee would not be good. True enough, the milk was over steamed, coffee was bland, almost wanted to go back to the counter and ask for a refund but didn’t ‘cos I’m such a nice guy right? ;P The sandwich was also very hot, the crust of the ciabatta was hard, I believe it wasn’t that fresh that’s why they heated up a little longer to make it ‘crunchy’ on the crust. Service was alright but I reckon they were busy.

Rating: 2/5.

Location: International Melbourne Airport Terminal 2 Arrivals

Writers Block Cafe


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Experience: Alright this place is a little unknown to many peeps but I tried their ‘Magic’ back in 2010 and it was very good then. This time round, I drove all the way from the airport to this place just to have lunch with a friend nearby but having a damn lousy cuppa at the previous location, I need another fix. The café is still at the corner of the library but the swanky Synesso espresso machine is obviously a big upgrade. Ordered a takeaway ‘Magic’ and was quite disappointed as the dosage wasn’t that powerful anymore and that the coffee lacks body. Beans from Five Senses shouldn’t be that bad… Could be due to various reasons, so I will not speculate further. Service however is still very good, as they know most of the peeps in the uni!

Rating: 3/5.

Location: La Trobe University, Bundoora.

Jade Kingdom Chinese & Malaysian Restaurant

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Huge serving of Fish Head Beehoon
Huge serving of Fish Head Beehoon
Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak
Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng

Experience: Another place that not known to many but to the locals mainly. Definitely underrated ‘cos I was told by some friends they are not that good. Opened by a native Malaysian lady from Kuala Lumpur, Jade Kingdom has been here for decades and has been whipping out awesome Malaysian dishes which us Singaporeans are also very familiar with. Ordered a Fish Head Beehoon as the lady boss told me that’s their specialty amongst others. So I ordered while my friends ordered Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice). Except for the Nasi Lemak, the portions for our orders were huge! So big that I couldn’t finish! But seriously, the broth was very well done and just loved the authentic taste. Very yummy! Service is pretty good too!

Rating: 4/5.

Location: 233 Waiora Road, Heidelberg Heights, VIC 3081

Miss Marie Café

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That's the boss at the bar
That’s the boss at the bar

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Damn yummy Carrot Cake
Damn yummy Carrot Cake

Experience: Yet another place unknown to many even to locals! Cos this place is usually serving the neighborhood of Rosanna, not that it’s the only café but this place serves pretty good brunches and mains as well. However that said, I didn’t have the chance of having my meals there… only had a couple of lattes and a carrot cake. The carrot cake is OMG… Damn good, love it. Will try to replicate it here in Singapore and sell in my coffee bar ok? ;P Again Synesso machine and they have 2 blends of which one of them is Dark Horse by Five Senses. The coffee quality again varies between baristas. If the male owner makes them, they are just awesome. Anyone else may not extract the shot the way it should be. Anyhow, service is awesome, they know most of their regulars including my buddies.

Rating: 4/5.

Location: 45 Beetham Parade, Rosanna VIC 3084. 0730-1600hrs.

Sip & Chat Vietnamese Noodles & Caféing rolls

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Spring rolls
Spring rolls
Viet Drip Coffee
Viet Drip Coffee
My Pork Chops Dry Pho
My Pork Chops Dry Pho
Beef Cubes Fried Rice
Beef Cubes Fried Rice
Beef Pho Soup
Beef Pho Soup

Experience: Another neighbourhood eatery that is known to the peeps living in Balwyn area only. Frequented by my buddy and family that’s why I know this place. So I had my dinner here with my god daughter and sister here as they love the fried spring rolls pretty much. The place is managed by Asians who spoke Cantonese so could be from Malaysia, Hong Kong or even Guangdong, China. Ordered the dried pho with pork chops and it came with loads of vegetables! Love it! The sauce could be a little more though. The Vietnamese coffee was a little not fresh and I doubt I will drink anything similar to those I had in Ho Chih Min City. Anyways the food here is comforting, nothing to wow about but just comforting.

Rating: 3.5/5.

Location: 226 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, VIC 3103

That’s all for Day 1. Stay tune for Day 2 soon! Nite y’all!

Gastronomically yours,

Big Roy