Very Good Falafels

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetMiddle Eastern food is one of my favourites. Grilled meats all piled high on a plate, with dips and pickled goods on the side, and everything can be wrapped up in a pita bread, what’s not to love?Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetVery Good Falafels do things a bit different here, as the name goes, they have a focus on serving up some of the best falafels in town, coupled with a rotation of house salads that can either be served on their own, or topped off with falafels.

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Falafel Plate – $10

I went for the signatory falafel plate, piled high with goodies ranging from pickles, trio of dips, and a simple salad, with three falafels and a large ladle of tahini to finish the whole thing off. To say that the falafels were very good is an understatement, they are probably the best that I’ve had to date! They were freshly made to order, and you can definitely tell by the crunchy exterior, and a soft interior that still had some bite to it.

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Falafel Plate – $10

I loved that I could assemble this plate however I wanted, whether it was pairing the falafel with one of the dips or throwing a bit of falafel with some vibrant vegetables in the pita bread to freshen things up a little.

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Salad – $10

Very Good Falafel has three or four house salads at one time, and unfortunately I failed to write down the options available on the night we visited (I know I know). However, I have it on good account that they were all better than your average house salad, with the beans salad (?) being my friend’s favourite of the night.

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As you can see, we wiped our plates clean. Very Good Falafel exceeded my expectations in the best ways possible, I was happy to see that something I often view as a side to mains that are much more exciting being the star of show. The tahini and hummus were also phenomenal, I had thought that nothing could beat home made hummus prior to my meal, but the silky and nutty blend here is much better that I could whip up in a food processor.

I had wanted to bring a tub home, but it was sold out at this point. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to go back.

How to get here:
Very Good Falafels is located on Sydney Road, catch tram #19 from Melbourne Central or Flinders Street Station, and get off at Stewart St/Sydney Rd, and the small restaurant is a minute walk away.

Very Good Falafel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Lux Foundry

Easter break came at a much needed time, and my friend and I made the most out of the one day with the good weather to do a day trip to Trentham Falls, which was really pretty! The walk was a little scary for me, but rock climbing’s just really not my thing.

You what is know my thing though? Brunch, always brunch. Case and point, if I know I’m going on a semi-hike, then there’s only one thing that will get me out of bed that morning, you guessed it, brunch.

And that’s how we ended up taking a little detour, and went to Brunswick for some food before heading to Trentham Fall.

Good brunch places are definitely not in short supply on this end of town, we chose Lux Foundry because it has a very vegetarian friendly menu, which was perfect since one of us is a vegetarian.4

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Middle Eastern Breakfast – $17.50

Even though I’m not a vegetarian, and usually always go for things like bacon, pulled pork, pork belly, bacon, bacon, bacon, I wanted something on the lighter side on this particular occasion, and ordered the Middle Eastern breakfast. It consisted of two poached eggs, two falafels, beetroot relish, smokey baba ganoush, and the carb came in the form of grilled zataar flat bread.

The zataar meant that the flat bread was good enough to eat on its own, but even better when dipped in the ooey egg yolk, or some baba ganoush. The falafels were crispy on the outside, and had a good mix of spices inside to keep things interesting. The beetroot relish provided some acidity if you find the dish too heavy, which it wasn’t in my book anyway.

Overall, the dish worked really well together, and kept me full and happy on the hike, or as happy as I can be when hiking anyway.

21The beautiful weather on the day meant that we could seat in the courtyard, where we spotted/squealed over many people enjoying the food with their paw friends.

Lux Foundry has a loyal following, especially considering the fierce competition in the area, and it’s easy to see why, the half page menu was interesting enough, and the friendly service was highly appreciated. Give it a go if you’ve tried all the places on Sydney Road, and is looking for something that’s a tad bit more hidden away.

How to get here:
Lux Foundry is located on Hope Street, catch tram #19 from Melbourne Central or Flinders St Station, and get off at stop #24, Lux Foundry is a five minutes walk away from the tram stop.

Lux Foundry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Green Refectory

Green Refectory is somewhat of an institution on Sydney Road, and after all these years, I finally managed to visit it myself.

The menu is sprawled over the blackboards over the counter, and the glass cabinets are filled with cakes, pastries, and salads, you are definitely spoilt for choice here.

The service is minimal, find a table on your own, and order up at the counter, and you’ll be given a whiteboard with a symbol on it as your table number, and in a few short moments, the food will be at your table.Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

The atmosphere is the perfect sort of laid back, relaxing place, the type that make you feel like you can stay for hours, whether chatting away with a friend, indulging in a book, or getting some work done, and there were definitely people doing all those things during my visit.

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Skinny Flat White – $3.70

My friend and I met up at 9am, which meant that a coffee was definitely needed. The flat white was smooth and velvety, and the adorable old school saucer added a cute touch.

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Breakfast Stack – $12.00

Being a first time visitor, I thought it was obligatory that I order one of Green Refectory’s most well-known dishes, the breakfast stack. The tall stack consisted of a potato rosti, tomatoes, bacon, grilled haloumi, spinach, and an egg on top. The potato rosti was pretty much a mash, but it was tasty nonetheless, with bits of melted cheese throughout. The whole stack was tied together with a tomato relish, and although it’s truly nothing special, it had all the key ingredients of a good breakfast, and for a little more than $10, there really isn’t much to complain about.

Green Refectory certainly had a lot to offer, and although it’s definitely not your refined brunch, and does not have that many innovative dishes on offer, given its sheer quantity of choices, everyone can surely find something that they like. I heard it can get quite busy around meal times, but it really was a quiet and relaxing place when we visited at the earlier part of the day, and it is a place that I am likely to return to, especially since it’s literally right on the doorsteps of a tram stop.

How to get there:
Green Refectory is located on Sydney Road, get on tram #19 from Melbourne Central or Flinders Street Station, and get off at stop #20 Barkly Square/Sydney Road, and it’s literally 10 meters away.

Green Refectory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tiba’s Lebanese

I first visited Tiba’s when I was still working in Preston a few years back, and I’ve been meaning to come back time and time again, but since it’s not on my side of town, things were made slightly more difficult.

12Stepping into the restaurant, it was just as I remembered, although the decor isn’t much, it was spacious and clean, and the smell of the grilled meat was so tentalising. After placing our order, a basket of complimentary bread was placed on the table, and the food arrived shortly after.

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Mixed Grill – $19.50

Tiba’s is known for their massive platters that’s filled with salad, pickles, dips, and meat, and this is a great platter to sample everything.

There was garden salad, tabouli, a yogurt-cucumber dip, hommus, lamb and chicken sharwarma, grilled shish kafta, lamb cutlet, and a sausage.

The grilled shish kafta had a mix of spices and was very morish; the lamb cutlet was so juicy, with a good smoky flavour from the grill. All the other meat were great too, but my personal favourite was the chicken shawarma, I’m always impressed when the chicken is tender and done well, because chicken is harder to get right than say, lamb.

It was fun to try out a mix of things and wrapping it up with the pita bread, my favourite combination was chicken sharwarma, with a bit of tabouli, hommus and rice.

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Tiba’s House – Entree – $30.00

Tiba’s House was essentially an expanded version of the Mixed Grill, with a larger selection of entree items. The falafel was a bit disappointing for me, although extremely crunchy, the filling of chickpea lacked any distinct flavour.

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Tiba’s House – Main – $30.00

The main plate had the same item as the mixed grill.

We shared the two set items between the four of us, and although we were starving, there was more than enough food to go around. In fact, we still had a whole take away container full of food left.

Tiba’s was everything I remembered and more, the service was succinct but friendly enough, and the food ticked the boxes in both serving size and quality. My only wish is its location, but I just found out they’ve also opened up a restaurant on Lygon St, which is slightly easier to get to. For a cheap and cheerful Lebanese pick-me-up though, I would always be down to go all the way across town.

How to get there:
Tiba’s Lebanese is located on Sydney Road, catch the tram #19 and get off at stop #23 Victoria Street/Sydney Road, and the restaurant is 100 metres away.

Tiba's Lebanese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mi Corazon

I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Mexican food, sure, I’ve had my fair share of Salsa’s, but I’m talking about proper Mexican food here. Mi Corazon seemed pretty legit on first impressions alone, the funky tequila bar was decked out in lights, and the whole place just seemed like where the cool kids would hang on a Friday night.

Left: Coconut Margarita – $18.00
Right: Classic Margarita – $16.00

Because of the impressive bar, I was lured into ordering a coconut margarita, and my friend had a classic margarita. The coconut flavour was very distinct, and the overall effect was a creamy and sweet drink, which went down a treat. The classic margarita, on the other hand, was a lot more punchy in flavour.

Corn Chips w/ Guacamole and Salsa – $12.00

Starting things off, we had the corn chips with guacamole and salsa. The corn chips were thicker and crunchier than the Dorito kind, the guacamole was creamy and light, and the salsa offered a more acidic alternative to get your appetite going.

Elote (2 pcs) – $6.00

Grilled corn is another must, and Mi Corazon’s version had a light layer of parmesan and paprika powder, a great addition to the juicy corn kernels. If only the corn was grilled a tad more, this would’ve been perfect.

Chicken Wings – $12.00

I really didn’t expect much from the chicken wings, sure, they’re going to be tasty, but nothing ground-breaking. But I was wrong. The chicken wing was coated in a jalapeno pesto-esque paste, and it was spicy, to say the least. It was a great kind of spicy though, the kind that you just can’t put down, even though it means sculling a whole glass of water after.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos (2 pcs) – $15.00

Soft shell crab never disappoints, especially when it’s wrapped up in soft and warm tortillas. The batter was light and crunchy, and the sour shreds of coleslaw complemented the soft shell crab perfectly. The guacamole on the side was a bit confusing though, was I supposed to dip the whole taco into it, or spread it on top?

Pescado Tacos (2 pcs) – $12.00

The fish tacos were equally delicious. The fish were grilled lightly, and remained juicy and succulent. The crunchy coleslaw created an interesting counterpart to the softness of the fish. And the confusing guacamole makes another appearance.

Compachanos Tacos – $12.00

We went for one of the meatier taco options too, with both beef and chorizo thrown into the mix. I gave this a pass since I’m not a fan of coriander, but it was well-received around the table.

Pollo Quesadilla – $15.00 

The shredded chicken quesadilla were cheesy and soft, I wish there was more filling though!

Marinated Pork Quesadilla – $15.00

The marinated pork was punchier in flavour compared to the chicken, thanks to the orange and pineapple juice marinade, as well as the added garlic and onion.

Mi Corazon serves up a range of great tasting Mexican dishes. Although nothing innovative, it is a place where you can nibble on some corn chips while sipping on margaritas for hours on end, and sometimes that’s all you need.

How to get there:
Catch tram #1 or #8 and get off at Stop #126, Stewart St/Lygon St, and the restaurant is 50 metres away.

Mi Corazon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato