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 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

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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

Oriental Spoon

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Oriental Spoon is amongst one of the oldest Korean restaurant in CBD, backed up by no evidence other than my memory. I was never really that big a fan of it, but after being turned away at three Korean restaurants, we finally admitted defeat and walked into Oriental Spoon at 9pm.

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Top: Bean Sprouts | Bottom: Kimchi

The banchans were placed promptly on our table. The bean sprouts were pleasant enough, but the kimchi was a lot sweeter than I’m used to.

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Top: Cucumber Kimchi | Bottom: Fishcake

The cucumber kimchi had the same sweetness as the standard kimchi, and the fishcake had a nice bite to it.

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Fried Chicken Combo – Soy and Sweet Chilli: $34.00

The whole night we were trying to hunt down some Korean Fried Chicken, so this was a no-brainer of an order. When the chicken was placed in front of us, it looked so sad and pathetic. There was only 10 pieces of chicken, and the pieces were quite small too. My Korean friend even asked the waitress if this was a full of half serving, and we were told it was indeed the full one, and the waitress looked a little embarrassed by the question, if that’s any indication.

Size apart, these were pretty disappointing taste wise too. My friend said they were no better than actual KFC chicken, which I had to agree with, there was barely any sauce, and the chicken were just not the crunchy and juice kind that I’m used to from other Korean restaurants.

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Jap Chae – $17.90

We also got the jap chae to fill us up, which is sort of like a fried noodle dish with sweet potato noodle, sliced beef and a variety of vegetables. According to my friend, the authentic way to make this dish is to cook each element separately, and then mixing it together, to ensure everything is cooked perfectly. The dish is meant to have a very light flavouring of soy and sesame oil, but this was not the case here at all. This reminded all of us of beef bulgogi, and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just not the flavour you have in mind when it comes to jap chae.

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The restaurant was reasonably filled up when we visited, and there was a range of customers. Given that Oriental Spoon has stayed around for years, and expanded during that time, clearly it’s doing something right, but I am unwilling to give it another go after this meal, especially because there are so many grean Korean restaurants around Melbourne.

How to get there:
Oriental Spoon is located on La Trobe Street, 5 minutes walk away from Melbourne Central.

Oriental Spoon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Golistan

Afghan food is pretty foreign to me, and out of all places, I did not expect Box Hill to be the home of an authentic Afghan restaurant, but that just goes to tell you how diverse Melbourne truly is.

We were a bit confused when we first got to the restaurant, after parking at the rear of the restaurant, we had to walk through the kitchen to arrive at the tables. But after the confusion was over, the whift of freshly baked goods and grilled meat made us feel at home, although the decor was minimal, and there were a few tables plastered around in the small space.

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Complimentary Afghan Bread

After looking through the menu, Afghani food appeared to be similar to Lebanese and Persian food, all of which I love. The basket of complimentary Afghan bread that was made in the house was placed in front of us after we had placed our order, and man, these are some of the best free bread going around! Crispy and chewy, these bread were great on their own, but even better when had with the grilled meats!

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Chicken Tikka – $16.00

The chicken pieces were marinated in a mix of mild spices before being freshly grilled, and man, these were good! Each piece was full of flavour and extremely tender, although I don’t know what spices were involved, it’s definitely a well balanced mix.

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Lamb Tikka Kebab – $16.00

The lamb tikka were even better! The spice mix seems to be less intense than the chicken version, allowing the meaty flavour of the lamb to shine through. Although the servings were quite generous, we still had to fight for the last piece!

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Manto – $14.00

Onto something more unusual, we tried out the manto. These were reminiscent of dumplings, with a filling of lamb mince, and were served with a tangy yoghurt sauce on top. The filling was a bit bland for my liking, but the sauce compensated for that.

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With its ample use of spice and occasional sighting of vegetables (look at that sad salad), Afghan food is right up my alley! Given its convenient location, I’ll definitely be back for more.

How to get there:
Golistan is located on Station Street, a 10 minutes walk from Box Hill Station, which is inside Box Hill Central

Golistan Restaurant 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, have more than a $10 note to spend, and are looking for some breathtaking views, then enter the escalator and all your dreams will come true.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

Tall Timber

Brunch and I have a bit of a love hate relationship as of late. With new cafes popping up left, right and center, it’s near impossible to make time and visit some of the old school favourites. But hey, first world problems am I right?

Anyway, my friend and I finally managed to visit Tall Timber after all these years. We went on a cloudy Saturday morning, and the place was absolute packed, but we managed to score a table in the outside area.

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Skinny Flat White – $4.00

Given that we arrived before 10am, which is pretty much two hours earlier than my normal brunch time, I had to get a coffee to start things off. The coffee was smooth and went down easy, although nothing out of this world, it was exactly what I needed.

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Eggs Benedict – $20.90

The eggs benedict is one of the most, if not the most popular dish at Tall Timber, and I had to give it a go. The golden apple cider hollandaise was silky and creamy, with just the right amount of acidity, pulled pork was juicy and flavoursome,  and there was plenty of it; and the eggs were, of course, perfectly poached. Apple and pork is a classic flavour combination, and it was great to see Tall Timber translate a Sunday roast to a breakfast classic.

My only issue with this dish was the bread they used, it read sour dough on the menu, but to me, it was more akin to white bread.

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I was tempted to grab a butterbing on my way out, but managed to leave without one, self control eh.5

You can tell how bad the weather was in this photo, however, it was still packed full of people, which just goes to show how much people love this place. And just like the rest of Melbourne, brunch is something I’m still always down for, no matter how much I whine about it.

How to get there:
Tall Timber is located on Commercial Road, catch tram #72 from Flinders St Station or Melbourne Central, and get off at stop #29 Braille Library, the cafe is a minute walk away.

Tall Timber Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oh Deer

Korean food has slowly but surely made its way to my top three favourite cuisines, it’s just so versatile! Their passion for everything cheese is also a plus, and along came Oh Deer, a Korean fusion restaurant serving up a range of specialty food that are hard to find elsewhere in Melbourne.

We were given a menu to browse through, but we had out mind set on the Molton Cheesy Pork Rib set, which came with the pork ribs, kimchi fried rice, and two bowls of miso soup.

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Miso Soup

The miso soup looked promising with its cloudiness, and tasted quite pleasant.

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Cheesy Pork Ribs

Onto the star of the show, the pork ribs! The waitress put a gas stove top on our table, and placed the big stone pot on top.

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After a while, the cheese started melting, and she checked on us regularly, and cut the ribs up.

Banchan came in the slots on the outer edge of the stone pot, and were cooked in front of our eyes too. There were corn with mayo, omelette, tteokbokki, and mashed sweet potato.

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Mashed Sweet Potato

My friend and I both really enjoyed the sweet potato. However, I think because the stone pop is larger than the gas top, not all the banchans were heated evenly.

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After the cheese had completely melted, the waitress came once again, and wrapped the cheese around the pork ribs. The pork rib did not have a lot of meat, but the sauce was very flavoursome, and the cheese added some creaminess and complimented the sweet sauce quite well.

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Kimchi Fried Rice

After all the cheese was used up, the waitress cooked the kimchi fried rice with the leftover sauce from the pork ribs, and although there were not a lot of kimchi, it was still tasty and filling.

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I think for me, Oh Deer stands out with its novelty, but the food were of average quality overall. If you’re wanting to try something different then go ahead and give it a shot, but otherwise, I’d sit this one out.

How to get there:
Oh Deer is located on Royal Lane off Chinatown, less than ten minutes walk away from Flinders St Station.

Oh Deer Korean Fusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Crux & Co

My best friend came down to Melbourne for her birthday weekend, and what better way to start off the celebration than a birthday brunch?

The Crux & Co has been on my radar for a while, but it was only when we arrived that I realised it was right opposite Kettle Black, where I celebrated my birthday a couple of years ago, what a coincidence!12

The interior of Crux & Co was spot on, large and airy, with high ceilings and plenty of green plants to go around, the space was chic yet homely.

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Croissant w/ Smoked Salmon and Ricotta – $16.00

The food came out relatively quick, and of course, being a cafe in South Melbourne, it wouldn’t be complete with some edible flowers thrown into the mix. The croissant itself was buttery and flakey, with layers of smoked salmon hiding underneath a green salad, the creamy ricotta also went well with a salmon, though it’s not a flavour combination that I had seen before.

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There was also plenty of sweet offerings in the glass cabinet, however, I had to head back to uni, and didn’t have a chance to sample anything,. But hey, that just mean I have to make a return soon!

How to get there:
The Crux & Co is located on Albert Road, catch any tram from stop #13 Federation Square/Swanston Street, and get off at stop #20 Domain Interchange/St Kilda Road, and the cafe is three minutes walk away.

The Crux & Co 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

Friends of Mine

Richmond is filled with good restaurants, so for one to last on the busy strip, they must be doing something right. With that in mind, we headed off to brunch at Friends of Mine.

Unlike the trending all white everything interior a lot of cafes have been going for, Friends of Mine goes for a much more richer tone, with a grand chandelier near the entrance, although not my style, it is nice to see something different once in a while.1

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From Top to Bottom: Latte, Cappuccino, Flat White

We all ordered different coffees, and they were all done properly, and tasted pretty great.

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Cured Salmon Gravlax – $19.00

The salmon gravlax was on the healthy side of things, while still being quite substantial. The salmon were plump and cut quite thickly, and tasted great when dipped in the egg yolks. I wish there was some sort of carb on the plate too though.

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Crispy Barramundi

The piece of barramundi was on the small side of things, but the crispy skin was certainly delivered, with a hint of smokiness. The salad that the fish sat on appears to be Asian inspired, with a simple vinaigrette dressing.

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Red Velvet Hotcakes

This is no longer on the menu as well, but don’t worry, you’re not really missing out. On paper, red velvet hotcakes sounded like perfect, however, these were extremely dry and quite hard. I honestly don’t know how they made these, the outside was almost like a shell? We managed to eat one hotcake between the three of us, and left the other one completely untouched.

6Overall, Friends of Mine seems to be your run-of-the-mill cafe in the suburbs, even that might be a bit generous, given that the brunch quality in the suburbs has improved significantly over the last year.

I really wish I had nicer things to say about Friends of mine, unfortunately, the food we tried were average at best, and in a place like Richmond, where there is an abundance of cafes nearby, I would much rather go somewhere else.

How to get there:
Catch the Belgrave or Lilydale train and get off at Burnley, Friends of Mine is around five minutes walk away.

Friends of Mine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato