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

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Countries Where My Readers Come From


 

 

This post is to recognize and thank all my readers who are the driving force behind my continuous writing on good food places. I can’t identify who you are but YOU know who you are! Big thanks and shout out to all of ya!

Frankly, I haven’t heard of some of the country names before… I apologize for my ignorance! I promise I’ll read more about your countries and would be excellent if you can write to me at eatwithroy@gmail.com and introduce what kind of awesome local food there are in your countries! Maybe top 5 would be great! Who knows, I may be tempted to visit your country just to do a food tour some day!

In the meantime, eat on but eat wisely my friends! 😉

Gastronomically yours,

Big Roy

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Cape Lavender – Margaret River, Western Australia


Actually didn’t know this place existed but I wanted to check out the place after finding it on Google. Not very popular yet ‘cos lack of publicity. The lady owner Bev (If I can remember her name clearly)  is not very well verse with social media amd even her website is not up also. But she’s getting the hang of Facebook now, at least her page is up. 🙂

I don’t usually write about stores or shops but Bev is really very passionate about her products and she and her staff/friend loves making them almost every morning. She use to have a plot of land cultivating lavender but decided to focus in making the products instead. She now works with other farms where she gets her supplies from. Her products are all handmade using pure Lavender to make them. She has a whole range of products from cosmetics like facial cream, nail balm to edible stuffs like jams and honey (See there’s food!). While you’re there, don’t forget to sit down, chill out over a Lavender scone and coffee. Their Lavender ice cream is a hit too!

This Cape Lavender is not to be confused with another establishment with the same name located in Swan Valley. Located in Metricup of Margaret River region, this place is a little out of the town area, about 25km up north. Nevertheless, just take a straight drive up north on Bussell Hwy, turn left on Metricup Road, and then left again into Carter Road. If you prefer a more scenic drive like I do, go by Caves Road then turn right into Metricup Road. The roads in Western Australia are really easy, you won’t get lost!

Signage you see when you turn in Carter Road
Signage you see when you turn in Carter Road
A warehouse converted to a store front
A warehouse converted to a store front
Cosmetics stuff...
Cosmetics stuff…
More cosmetics... bought the face cream which is quite good and aromatic.
More cosmetics… bought the face cream which is quite good and aromatic.
Bought the big candle and eye pillow also which I'm currently using. The honey is behind, bought 2 bottles for my plain yoghurt... really awesome!
Bought the big candle and eye pillow also which I’m currently using. The honey is behind, bought 2 bottles for my plain yoghurt… really awesome!
Bev and me!
Bev and me!
Dave, the friendly old dog! Loves a pat on his head and will bark when you stop!
Dave, the friendly old dog! Loves a pat on his head and will bark when you stop!
Check out the Lavender Ice Cream
Check out the Lavender Ice Cream
Yums!
Yums!
Bev has Lavender wines also. Check with her if she has more supplies! :)
Bev has Lavender wines also. Check with her if she has more supplies! 🙂

Rating: 5/5.

Taste: Honey, jams and ice cream is awesome! Wine is alright ‘cos I don’t drink much. ;P

Portion: Average.

Service: Warm and friendly.

Ambience: Very quiet ambience with trees all around. Hope Bev can put more garden tables and chairs so more people can come chill out! 🙂

Price: A little pricey but all handmade and using pure ingredients. It’s worth it.

RTV (Return To Visit): Yes definitely when I’m in Perth next. I need more honey!!!

Location: http://goo.gl/maps/0LRSu. Or you can visit their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cape-Lavender/132582443486600

Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery – Margaret River, Western Australia


Spotted this place on Google maps and I can’t believe I have not tried this place before from all my previous visits to WA! This place is a little far out from Margaret River town area but the drive is definitely worth it! I was so surprise to see they have such awesome views of the vineyard, pond and greenery, just sets you in the mood for good food and drinks! Check out the many pictures I took.

This is the sign you'll see on Caves Road
This is the sign you’ll see on Caves Road
The resident dog of Cheeky Monkey will come and greet you when you park your car at the back. Very friendly dog and loves a pat! Forgot her name though...
The resident dog of Cheeky Monkey will come and greet you when you park your car at the back. Very friendly dog and loves a good pat! Forgot her name though… ;P Think it’s Louise?
Before you enter the restaurant
Before you enter the restaurant
Fireplace inside
Fireplace inside
Many awards
Many awards
The brewery side
The brewery side
Men at work!
Men at work!
Some ale and cider.
Some ale and cider.
Very nice Chilli Mussels for AUD$29.50! Comes with a 6 inch baguette.
Very nice Chilli Mussels for AUD$29.50! Comes with a 6 inch baguette.
Ok only Buffalo Style Spicy Wings for AUD$14.50. But really spicy, which I like! :)
Ok only Buffalo Style Spicy Wings for AUD$14.50. But really spicy, which I like! 🙂
Pretty good King Prawn Tacos for AUD$12.50.
Pretty good King Prawn Tacos for AUD$12.50.
The Gorilla Pizza for AUD$23. Basically it's vegetarian pizza with mushroom and sun dried tomatoes. Very nice.
The Gorilla Pizza for AUD$23. Basically it’s vegetarian pizza with mushroom and sun dried tomatoes. Very nice.
The view...
The view…
The view on the other side...
The view on the other side…
Killerby store beside the restaurant
Killerby store beside the restaurant
As I was driving out, I took a snap shot of the views and didn't realise there was a rainbow until I was back in my hotel!
As I was driving out, I took a snap shot of the views and didn’t realise there was a rainbow until I was back in my hotel!

Rating: 5/5. Full marks for everything!

Taste: Really very good. The wings are not seasoned through though, but the blue cheese mayo sauce (I think) it comes with offsets the taste.

Portion: Above average.

Service: Very good. The staff came out to make sure we enjoyed our food.

Ambience: Need I say more?

Price: Including the drinks it’s around AUD$100.

RTE (Return To Eat): Yeah yeah yeah!!!

Location/Contacts/Opening Hours: http://cheekymonkeybrewery.com.au/

Cottage Cafe @ The Berry Farm – Margaret River, Western Australia


Was here in 1995 and 2008 and this time I finally am writing about this place. Reason because I haven’t started this blog back then. ;P. This place changed a lot since and a lot more well laid out and more spacious. Few things didn’t change though; that is the freshness of the food and the company of the birds. 🙂 This is a must-go location for a nice brunch and buying back in house made relishes, jams, ciders, vinegars, fruit ports, friut wines, etc., for family and friends!

You'll see this signage outside the farm before entering
You’ll see this signage outside the farm before entering
Opening hours
Opening hours
Really nice ambience for brekkie or lunch.
Really nice ambience for brekkie or lunch.
This board shows the specials of the day... there is another menu
This board shows the specials of the day… there is another menu
Ambience
Ambience
Me cam whoring
Me cam whoring
Berry Farm Taste Plate For Two @ AUD$40
Berry Farm Taste Plate For Two @ AUD$40
Taste Plate comes with Turkish bread
Taste Plate comes with Turkish bread
Sausage & Mash Potato
Sausage & Mash Potato
Ham & Cheese Sandwich
Ham & Cheese Sandwich
Didn't finish, I packed back actually
Didn’t finish, I packed back actually
Birds will come and beg for food...
Birds will come and beg for food…
They have friends and come really close
They have friends and come really close
Berry Farm shop
Berry Farm shop
Berry Farm Shop... they have evolved to many product lines.
Berry Farm Shop… they have evolved to many product lines.
Jam samples for tasting
Jam samples for tasting
Sampling for relishes and sauces
Sampling for relishes and sauces

Rating: 5/5.

Taste: Taste of nature. And the sauces and relishes are made by them. Really awesome!

Portion: Slightly above average.

Service: Very good.

Ambience: AWESOME!

Price: Total around AUD$75. The Taste Platter was AUD$40.

RTE: As always!

Locationhttps://www.theberryfarm.com.au/index.php/contact-us

Settlers Tavern – Margaret River, Western Australia


This is one of the hottest tavern in Margaret River region. My second time here and just love the food and beers. They have ciders on the tap and they are just awesome. Portions are huge, you can order 2 entree and share with 3 pax. I believe the band plays on weekends… but not my type of genre… Nevertheless, this is a place to hang out for dinner and drinks when you’re in Margaret River! Free and ample parking!

Inside the tavern... can be quite warm during winter.
Inside the tavern… can be quite warm during winter.
Best business 2012
Best business 2012
5% alchohol ciders
5% alchohol ciders
Angus beef steak with calamari
Angus beef steak with calamari
Surf & Turf
Surf & Turf

Rating: 4.5/5.

Taste: Food is nice, but not something I would scream about. The calamari’s batter is not crispy… hence quite disappointing. I should have tried their catch of the day by hand line.

Portion: Above average

Service: Excellent. You get greeted when you enter and they attend to you all the time. Orders will be have to be placed at the counter where the menu board is.

Ambience: Very tavern-like, wooden counters, tables and chairs, a little too warm for me during winter.

Price: AUD20-30 for the entrees, AUD9.50 for the beers/ciders on the tap. Didn’t try anything else cos too full from the meal! You can hold your credit card at the counter if you’re planning to drink loads.

RTE: Yes everytime I’m there!

Location: 114 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River, Western Australia 6285. It’s in the middle of Margaret River, you can’t miss it and that’s how I found it my first time there!

Emu Point Cafe – Albany, Western Australia


When you’re in Albany, this is a place to visit. Not just because of the serenity of the place, but also for what this cafe has to offer. My 3rd time here and this time I was determine to try their food ‘cos previously, we had our meals elsewhere. Truly, the food is really good and at least up to standards for me.

The cafe overlooking the beach at Emu Point
The cafe overlooking the beach at Emu Point
Inside the cafe
Inside the cafe
Huge Gladiator Burger. Nice and juicy. AUD23.50
Huge Gladiator Burger. Nice and juicy. AUD23.50
Steak Sandwich, very filling. AUD16.50
Steak Sandwich, very filling. AUD16.50
Crumbled Local Fish & Chips. Nice and flaky. - AUD20.50
Crumbled Local Fish & Chips. Nice and flaky. – AUD20.50
Soup of the day - Pumpkin Soup AUD8.50
Soup of the day – Pumpkin Soup AUD8.50
The view when you're having your meals outside the cafe.
The view when you’re having your meals outside the cafe.

Rating: 4.5/5. A tad pricey if not a full 5.

Taste: Really good. Fresh and hot. Water is free on the house in bottles.

Portion: Above average. Small eaters may wanna share.

Service: Very good. They cleared our plates once we were finished.

Ambience: Nice and cosy inside and alfresco is scenic. All very quiet and nice just to have a quiet meal.

Price: Total around AUD70+

RTE: Yeah I might. But I may check out the Whaling Wharf for brunch also if possible.

Location: Emu Point, Albany, Western Australia. You can’t miss it ‘cos nothing else at the end.