Donut Shop

Melbourne’s obsession with donuts continues, and although I’ve already found a go-to, the simple and laid-back interior of Donut Shop drew me in when I had a few hours to kill in the area, and I decided to try them out.

Mocha Crunch – $5.00

At the friendly suggestion of the waiter, I settled for the mocha crunch. The donut was very soft and airy, which contrasted well with the biscuit crumbs on top, and wasn’t overly sweet. This is one of those donuts that light enough that you don’t feel too guilty after having one as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Donut Shop is a great place to catch up with friend over some coffee and donuts. There was one weird thing: the place is named Burgers & Donuts on Zomato, and as far as I’m aware, no burger appeared on the menu. Mystery aside, good luck deciding between those donut flavours, may the odds be ever in your favour.

How to get here:
The Donut Shop is located on Gertrude Street, around a 12 minutes walk from Parliament station.

Burgers & Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Vegie Bar

Vegie Bar has become an institution of Fitzroy, serving up, you guessed it, vegetarian food! It was before the vegan train caught on, but they do have a bunch of vegan options too if that’s your dietary requirement.

The restaurant is set in a warehouse with high ceilings, offering plenty of seatings on both floors. The large space accommodates for both small and big groups, and there is usually no trouble in finding a table.Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

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Funghi – $20.00

I love mushroom anything, so it was a no-brainer to order the mushroom pizza. The pizza dough – although untraditional – was chewy and dougy and delicious. Sitting on top was the topping of caramelised onions, crumbly feta, and ample amount of slow roasted field mushrooms. Fresh dill and pine nuts were sprinkled on top for some additional freshness and texture. The juicy mushrooms were definitely the star of the dish, the caramelised onion offered some sweetness, and the briny feta did not overwhelm everything else.

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Moroccan Tajine – $18.00

I’ve never tried a tajine before, and upon consulting google, it’s a type of stew that’s named after the type of pottery it uses. The flavoursome sweet and sour stew had chickpeas, butternut squash, and tomato, and were simmered to the point where all the vegetables were tender. I thought the coconut tsatsiki were a bit of a random component, although I guess its purpose was to lighten up the dish. The roasted cauliflower were tasty though, reminiscent of popcorn.

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Chips – $7.00

Our meal was completed with a cone of chips. These were not as crunchy as I would have preferred, but were potato-y nonetheless.

Vegie Bar’s menu takes inspiration from all around the world, I don’t think it aims to offer a traditional experience by any means, the focus is on re-inventing these dishes so that they are both vegetarian friendly, and still retain some of its key flavours. The menu is quite large, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find something to ticklet your fancy, even if you don’t usually eat your greens.

How to get there:
The Vegie Bar is located on Brunswick Street, catch tram 11 from Parliament, Southern Cross or Collins Street, and get off at Leicester Street/Brunswick Street, and the restaurant is right next to the tram stop.

Vegie Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya

From its name, it’s obvious what Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya is, an izakaya, duh. Izakayas are Japanese-style pubs, serving up a range of dishes aimed for sharing.

Unlike izakayas back in Japan, Ichi Ni Nana sprawls over four levels, with the top being a rooftop bar, a good place to grab a few drinks while you’re waiting for a table. There are a range of types of seatings available, including larger tables in the courtyard and intimate booth.

The menu was extensive, ranging from traditional Japanese tapas such as nasu dengaku, chicken karaage and gyozas, to sushis and sashimis, with Western influence throughout.

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Tori Soboro – $14.00

Chicken mince piled on ricecake skewers, this was not something that I’ve had before, and I really enjoyed it. The chicken mince were flavoured with a touch of soy, and were very morish when had with a bite of ricecake.

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Nasu Dengaku – $15.00

This eggplant dish is one of my favourites in Japanese restaurants, and Ichi Ni Nana has put its own twist on the traditional dish. Sections of eggplant were covered in the miso sauce that was oh-so-addictive, and left us wanting more.

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Gyu Tataki – $20.00

The thinly sliced scotch fillet were seared perfectly and very tender. The salad on top added some extra texture, I especially enjoyed the fried garlic pieces that’s hiding underneath the green leaves.

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Soft Shell Crab Tempura – $22.00

Still on the soft shell crab bandwagon, we picked it from the tempura section. The batter was light and crispy, and the soft shell crab were as good as all soft shell crabs, though nothing out of the ordinary. Also, the portion was on the small side.

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Chicken Gyoza – $10.00

We picked two varieties of gyoza on the night, the first being the chicken. The chicken filling was again, light and flavoursome, and the skin was extremely thin.

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Pork Gyoza – $10.00

The pork gyoza were equally as delicious, tasting more meaty than its chicken counterpart. My only complaint about the gyozas is that I wish they had a crispier bottom.

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Soft Shell Crab Roll – $25

Continuing the soft shell crab trend, the first sushis we ordered was the soft shell crab roll. The roll was filled with soft shell crab, avocado and cucumber, and topped with tobiko and Japanese mayo. Although not a traditional sushi, the roll tasted fresh, and the soft shell crab added more texture to the plate.

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Dragon Roll – $25.00

Being an even more untraditional dish, the dragon roll was an inside out sushi roll with seared tuna, cucumber, avocado, and topped with tobiko, Japanese mayo, spring onion and chilli sauce. Every bite of this was a flavour explosion, and dish was also very visually appealing.

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Ichi Ni Nana Platter – $150.00

The star of the night, and probably the most instagrammed dish from Ichi Ni Nana. The platter had all sorts of sushi and sashimi, including but not limited to sashimi in the forms of (because I can’t remember them all oops): salmon, tuna, kingfish, octopus,  cuttlefish and scallops. The sushi included all of the above, as well as tamago, prawn, salmon roe and eel. All the seafood were very fish, and this platter not only looked spectacular, but also left us feeling very content.

Offering a large variety of dishes that accommodates both Japanese lovers and those who are still being introduced to the cuisine, Ichi Ni Nana is a good place for group gathering, intimate dinners and the like. If you are going in a big group or on a busy night, make sure you make a booking ahead of time, or, be prepared to wait for a bit on rooftop bar, which certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world.

How to get here:
Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya is located on Brunswick Street, catch tram #86 towards Bundoora RMIT and get off at the Brunswick Street/Gertrude Street stop, and the restaurant is 350 metres away. Alternatively, catch tram #11 towards West Preston from Parliament Station and get off at the Hanover Street/Brunswick Street stop, and the restaurant is 100 metres away.

Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Proud Mary

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Ah Proud Mary, it was one of the first hipster cafes that I ever stepped inside, back when bricke wall and warehouse-esque space was still a rarity. It also does one of my favourite coffees in Melbourne, so I was keen to visit the place again when a friend wanted to catch up around the Fitzroy area.

2

Skinny Flat White – $4.00

This cup of coffee reached all my expectations. Earthy, complex, with the perfect amount of acidity and bitterness, it sure went down a treat.

3

The Potato Hash – $21.50

Wanting to walk further down memory lane, I ordered the classic dish at Proud Mary, the potato hash. The name of the dish is deceptively simple, and other than the titular potato hash, there was some smoked shoulder bacon, crispy as ever; poached eggs, because hello, what’s a classic brunch dish without some perfectly cooked eggs; baby kale salad to make you feel good about your breakfast of choice, and bagna cauda, a sauce made of anchovies, and takes the otherwise good dish to a whole other level. Every element was in harmony, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

4

Omelette

My friend ordered an older rendition of the omelette, which is no longer on the menu, but has been replaced by an enticing sounding crab and potato omelette instead. Anyway, the omelette had the perfect amount of runniness, and beside thinking that the offering of butter was a bit strange, my friend only had positive things to say about what seemed to be quite a normal dish.

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There’s a reason why Proud Mary is able to keep its place amongst many of its newer competitors, and that’s the combination of excellent coffee, classic brunch dishes with a twist, and a somewhat aloof service that is nevertheless friendly enough, to remind you that hey, we are still in the heart of hipster town.

After just having another quick look at their updated menu, I’ve got my eyes set on some new things to try, although it’ll be hard to steer away from the potato hash. Guess I’ll just have to talk my dining companions into sharing next time hey.

How to get here:
Proud Mary is located on Oxford Street, catch tram #86 towards Bundoora RMIT from Parliament station and get off at Hodgson St/Smith St, and Proud Mary is two minutes walk away.

Proud Mary Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Naked in the Sky

After all these years, Fitzroy remains cool and hip, somethings’ll never change. Naked in the Sky, as many of you may know by now, is the rooftop bar right above Naked for Satan. If you’re looking for some more inventive tapas paired with some breathtaking views, have more than a $10 note to spend, then enter the escalator and all your dreams will come true.

1
Crumbed Eggplant w/ Honey and Blue Cheese

The crumbed eggplant is always a must-order for me. These are kind of like eggplant chips, the crumb is super crunchy, and the mix of honey and blue cheese is perfect, definitely get this if you’re an eggplant fan!

2
Grilled Beef Eyefillet Skewers

The large cubes of eye fillet were quite meaty, and the simple flavouring of salt allowed the meat itself to shine through. My only complaint is that this was on the small side of things.

3
Baked Camembert

I loved the baked camembert! I have tried to bake camembert myself at home, but they always turn out to be too oily. The truffle paste and pieces of chestnut prevented the whole thing from becoming too rich.

4
Popcorn Chicken

The popcorn chicken were unlike the original Taiwanese version, but they were tasty in their own rights! The light dusting of batter was very flavoursome, and the pieces of chicken inside were succulent.

Naked in the Sky is definitely one of my favourite rooftop venues around, and given the unusually warm temperature in Melbourne, you still have plenty of time to give it a visit before the weather gets more chilly! It’s as popular as ever though, and there’s really no guarantee that you’ll get a seat on the limited number of numbers if you arrive around dinner time, but hey, isn’t that half the fun?

How to get there:
Naked in the Sky is located on Brunswick Street, catch tram #11 and get off at stop #17 Johnston Street/Brunswick Street.

Naked In the Sky Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miss Katie’s at Rochester Hotel

I’ve been wanting to visit Miss Katie’s since years ago, or it seems that way anyway, when it was still at its original location in North Melbourne in fact. My friend and I finally managed to sort out a dinner date here one fine sunny Summer day (yes my backlog is literally insane, trying to sort that out these holidays).

Set up at the Rochester Hotel, the vibe was chill to say the least, it’s somewhere that you would go out for a drink with your mates after a long day, enjoying the breezy atmosphere and just talking the night away. However, we were here for the food, although unsuspecting, the neon sign of the crab hung outside told us that we were at the right place.

Oysters – $1.00 each
We happened to be there at happy hour for the oysters, which meant that they were only a gold coin each. A dozen of these were the perfect start to our meal.

Fresh and briny, give it a squeeze of lemon before downing the whole thing in your mouth and it’s impeccable.

Katie’s Fried Chicken – $24.00

The only thing as famous as their crab boils would be chicken and waffle. This is actually the first time I’ve tried this Southern classic. The waffles were quite soft, not the crunchy kind that I’m a fan of.

The chicken was definitely the star of this plate, buttermilk, herbs, breadcrumbs and all the other goodness gave the chicken so much flavour and crunch, KFC ain’t going nothing on these! After spreading the bacon butter on the waffle and drowning it in maple syrup, the sweet and savoury combination is one that I’ll definitely come back to.

Crab Boil – $27.00

Onto the main show of the night, the crab boil! Initially I thought the serving was quite small, but man this whole pan of goodness was drowned in herb butter, decadent doesn’t even begin to describe it. The blue swimmer crab was accompanied by corn cobs, chat potatoes and spicy kranski.

This is definitely something you need to eat with your friend, and the plastic bibs that were provided also came in handy. After cracking open the crab with the tools given, we were rewarded from some juicy and tender crab meat, either eat it by itself for the natural seafood sweetness, or dip it in the herb butter pot for some added richness, it was seriously amazing!

I’m so glad I finally managed to visit Miss Katie’s, crab boils is something I’ve never tried before, and it’s such a delicious way to be eating your seafood! I plan on taking my mum here some day, since she’s always complaining about plain boiled crabs being boring, this will definitely change her mind!

How to get here:
Miss Katie’s is located on Johnston Street in Fitzroy, hop on tram #86 and get off at stop #19, Johnston Street/Smith Street, and Rochester Hotel is a short five minutes walk away.

Miss Katie's at Rochester Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rice Paper Scissors

Rice Paper Scissors has been on my to visit list for what seems like forever, but long lines are just not my thing under normal circumstances. When they opened up a new store in Fitzroy though, I was determined to hit it up before the new year approaches.

And it was a success! We arrived around 1pm on a weekday, and the restaurant was pretty empty. Although that did leave me in a bit of a doubt, what if the food isn’t as good?!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee – $3.50

The Vietnamese iced coffee was a promising way to start however, the mason jar had a generous coating of condensed milk, and were filled to the brim with the coffee. After mixing the condensed milk thoroughly, we were rewarded with some delicious icy cold coffee.

BBQ Lamb Ribs

Like most other people, we opted for the 5 for $55 deal, most of the dishes were around the $11 to
$15 mark. The BBQ lamb ribs were the first to arrive. The glaze on the ribs itself was sticky and scrumptious, and there were plenty of crispy edges on the ribs. Although I did feel like the lamb flavour was a bit lost, due to the overwhelming sweetness from the glaze.

Twice Cooked Pork Belly w/ Chilli Caramel Sauce

It’s no secret that I love my pork belly by this stage, so ordering this was a no brainer. The large cubes of pork belly was stewed until the meat is tender, then fried to get the exterior nice and crispy. The chilli caramel sauce took the whole thing one step further, the only negative about this dish is how long it would take on the treadmill to burn all that calories. But hey, this is not the place for #health #inspo.

I think this is not on their new menu though, what a shame 😦

Crying Tiger

Crying tiger is a dish I’ve only tried before, and all I could remember was how spicy it was. The beef had some beautiful char marks, and were topped off with some chilli and herb salsa.

 After wrapping it up in the lettuce leafs, this was a light yet flavoursome little morsel.

Thai Fried Chicken

The fried chicken came in these adorable little paper cartons, and the golden brown colour was so alluring.

The batter was extremely crispy and the inside remained tender and moist, however, I didn’t find it particularly Thai.

Barramundi w/ Apple and Herbs Salad 

We originally ordered something else that was sold out on the day, and changed to the barramundi instead, and this was definitely my favourite dish of the day. I love it when things work out like that. The barramundi was coated in a light batter and fried perfectly – they sure know how to work that deep fryer here – but what really blew me away was the salad on top. And this is quite a statement coming from me, since I’m not a huge salad person at all. The various Asian herbs created a complex yet refreshing salad, that was extremely punchy in flavour, which pretty much sums up what I think of when it comes to food from some parts of Asia.

The restaurant remained relatively quiet the whole time we were here, which was a surprise. Although some dishes were quite average, the stand outs really did just that, stand out, making the overall experience very enjoyable. With a menu that seems to change quite regularly, Rice Paper Scissors is somewhere I’d happily return to.

How to get there:
Rice Paper Scissors is located on Brunswick Street, catch tram #11 and get off at stop #16 Brunswick St/Johnson St, and it’s one minute walk away.

Rice Paper Scissors Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato