The Foodstore Cafe

The Foodstore Cafe recently launched their Autumn menu, and we were excited to try out all the new things that were on offer.

Iced Latte – $4.50

The iced latte was well-rounded and refreshing, there was some additional milk on the side that you could use to adjust the coffee, but I thought it was fine as is.

Soy Flat White – $4.50

I really appreciated the latte art on my soy flat white, considering that soy milk is much harder to froth to a thick consistency similar to regular milk’s. Besides the superb presentation, the coffee did a great job waking me up too, which a strong nutty flavour coming from the soy milk.

Big Breakfast – $19.00

Although the big breakfast seems less exciting than the other dishes on the menu, each element was done well, and the freshness of the quality ingredients were able to shine.

Salmon Omelette – $18.00

There was a generous serving of salmon in the omelette, and if you’re looking for something protein-heavy, then this is the perfect thing to order. I did think that the salmon was a little dry though.

Corn & Pumpkin Fritters – $18.00

Corn fritters are some of my favourite things to eat, and the addition of pumpkin gave The Foodstore Cafe’s version an Autumnal touch. The fritters were sweet and crunchy, with additional crispness coming from the fennel and zucchini slaw. The fritters were lavished with lime tahini yoghurt, adding some earthiness to the dish.

Mushroom Toast – $18.00

Being a huge fan of mushrooms, I find it hard not to choose a dish that prominently features mushroom when it’s on the menu, and I’ve gotta say, this is probably the best mushroom dish I’ve had in awhile. The mushrooms was perfectly cooked with a good hit of thyme and garlic, and they were perfectly plump without being watery. The spiced cauliflower added some Middle Eastern flair to the dish, and the hummus was creamy and flavoursome. The toppings of pomegranate and mixed nuts reminded me of the famous grain salad from Jimmy Grants, and added both texture and flavour to the already action-packed dish. There may seem to be a lot going on, but everything on the plate was well thought-out, and this was hands down my favourite dish of the day.

Chicken and Halloumi Salad – $18.00

The elegant presentation continues with the chicken and halloumi salad. The chicken was grilled perfectly, and paired well with the fresh slaw underneath. What really stood out to me though was the grilled halloumi, having been made in-house, the halloumi was a lot softer and less salty than the store-bought variety, and is a testament to the level of care and patience that the kitchen takes in the execution of each dish.

Eggs Benedict – $18.00

The eggs benedict came on top of a sweet potato rosti, which was a nice low-carb alternative to the traditional English muffin.

Eggs Benedict – $18.00

The slow cooked brisket was juicy and tender, and the lemon zest hollandaise had just enough of an extra acidity kick than your average hollandaise to balance out the richness of the beef brisket. And yes, the eggs also delivered in the #eggporn department.

Middle Eastern Lamb Salad – $18.50

The Middle Eastern theme returned with the lamb salad, the chunks of lamb were juicy and flavoursome, and there were enough on the plate to make this a substantial salad.

Middle Eastern Lamb Salad – $18.50

Although I didn’t try the roasted carrots, being a carrot-hater and all, I have it on good authority that the carrots were even better than the lamb, and that’s saying something.

Orange Blossom Pancakes – $18.00

Last but certainly not least, we ended the meal with some orange blossom pancakes.

Orange Blossom Pancakes – $18.00

The red colour of the pancakes lured us into thinking that it’s red velvet flavoured, however, one bite was all that was needed for us to taste the citrus note and realise that they were the much less commonly seen orange blossom pancakes instead.

Orange Blossom Pancakes – $18.00

Although it looks just slightly over the top, the pancakes were sweet without being too sweet, and the fresh strawberries certainly helped in adding some dimension of flavour to the dish. This is probably one that’s best for sharing in order to be sensible, but go ahead and order a whole plate for yourself if you have a sweet tooth. Life’s too short for sensibility when it comes to pancakes.

The Foodstore Cafe ticks all the boxes when it comes to the quintessential neighbourhood cafe – friendly service, interesting and reasonably priced menu, and some outdoor tables to bring your furry friends when it’s not raining. If you’re ever wanting to try a cafe that’s a little more hidden away, then The Foodstore Cafe is the place to be.

How to get here:
The Foodstore Cafe is located on Auburn Road, catch bus #624 and get off at Airedale Avenue, the cafe is a minute walk away.

I dined as a guest of The Foodstore Cafe.

The Foodstore Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Grand Lafayette

Grand Lafayette has relocated from Port Melbourne to Prahran late last year, taking over a large industrial space and expanded its menu to include an all-you-can-eat Japanese dinner option. We visited for Sunday brunch on this occasion, saving the dinner menu for another day.

The cafe was extremely airy and well-lit, with plants and pops of colours scattered through, making it sophisticated and stylish, a perfect place to brunch the weekend away.

Iced Green Tea Latte – $8.00

The dark green colour of the iced green tea latte looked promising, and upon mixing it through, it was a well-rounded drink, with a good amount of earthiness coming through from the matcha.

Soy Cappuccino – $4.50

The soy cappuccino, though less visually stunning, also hit the spot with its caramel and berry notes.

the full spread
Chicken & Waffles – $22.80

Chicken and waffles has become one of my go-to dishes whenever I can find it on a menu, the combination of sweet and salty is just right up my alley. Grand Lafayette’s take on this American classic is definitely one of the most extravagant I’ve seen to date. While the waffle was more on the soft side, the batter on the fried chicken was substantial and crunchy. The most surprising part on the plate though was the berry coulis, making it a combination I hadn’t seen before. It’s a clever twist on the traditional maple syrup, and although it may sound a bit strange at the beginning, I actually really enjoyed the mixture of flavours. This is definitely not a dish for everyone, but if you are a fan of chicken and waffles with just maple syrup, I’d say give this one a try.

Confit Duck – $26.80

Confit duck is an extremely time-consuming and technical dish, so I was keen to try it out. The crispy broccolini had a nice charred flavour, and the black rice was well-seasoned with diced chorizo and onion mixed through. The star of the show was certainly the duck itself. The meat was falling off the bone, yet the exterior was extremely crispy, offering a juxtaposition of textures in every bite. It was a much more refined plate than the chicken and waffles, and was more a lunch or even dinner dish than brunch, making me feel like the heftier price tag was justified..

Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao – $10.00

We also got some cute little gua baos on the side. The soy-braised pork belly was tender and flavoursome, and the pickled greens helped to cut through the richness of the meat.

Although the two dishes we tried at Grand Lafayette both were at a higher price-point than what I would pay for brunch typically, I can appreciate that they were probably more labour intensive than say, smashed avo, which is actually $16.80 at the cafe, making it fall within the reasonable range price with, which is also the case for all other non-signature dish brunch options.

Price aside, I did have an enjoyable brunch at Grand Lafayette, and it might be a place to visit if you’re looking to splurge a little and treat yourself for a nice and relaxing meal on the weekend.

How to get here:
Grand Lafayette is located on Clifton Street, a seven minutes walk from Prahran station.

I dined as a guest of Grand Lafayette.

Grand Lafayette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Enter Neighbour

Enter Neighbour has recently celebrated its first birthday, situated in Camberwell, where there are plenty of cafes, it certainly takes something special to stand out. In an attempt to do so, Enter Neighbour revamped their menu to focus on high quality produce, while also jumping on the boozy brunch train, where for $35, you are able to have an unlimited number of cocktails with your food.

The space may initially seem small, however, there is another room down the back as well as a courtyard, allowing the cafe to accommodate both smaller and larger groups.

Soy Flat White – $4.30

I’ve recently changed my coffee order to soy flat white, purely because I enjoy the nuttiness from soy milk, but also not enough to have it in the fridge at home, not being a soy milk drinker myself. Although there was no fancy rosetta present due to the difficulty of creating decent foam with soy milk, Enter Neighbour uses quality beans from Axil Coffee Roasters, and the resulting drink is full and robust.

Summer Passion

Onto the boozier side of things, we had the cocktail special called Summer Passion. This was seriously Summer in a cup, or rather, a cute jar in this case. A mix of passionfruit, pineapple, gin and spritz, it was light, refreshing, and easy to drink without being overly sweet.

Nanban Chicken – $18.5

The Nanban Chicken at Enter Neighbour has all the essential elements that are present in the traditional Japanese dish, however, the changes made by the chef meant that it was a lot lighter and healthier. From the light batter of the chicken to the use of black rice, which also added a ton of texture to the plate. The gribiche sauce, which is typically found in French cuisine, went surprisingly well with the dish, offering some acidity to brighten everything up, and tied it all together nicely.

Benedict Cumberbatch – $19.00

The benedict featured pulled lamb, which was tender and flavoursome, and I also really enjoyed the contrast between the pickled cabbage and the rich hollandaise. Although the hollandaise did lack the sweetness from the saffron which was promised on the menu. The pumpkin puree also felt like an afterthought, which I don’t think matched particularly well with the other flavours on the plate. However, each element was executed well, and with some small changes, this has the potential of being a winning dish.

Hand Cut Chips w/ Sriracha Aioli – $7.5

The chips at Enter Neighbour were of the rustic variety, and while they were cooked well, and the centre was quite fluffy, I did find the portion size to be on the smaller side, especially considering the price tag, which was surprising considering that everything else we’ve tried by this point was quite well-priced.

Being away from the hustle and bustle of Camberwell means that Enter Neighbour has the benefit of holding the charm of a local cafe, but with a menu that is much more sophisticated than your average brunch hotspot down the road. The offering of boozy brunch gives it another edge, and is something that will be especially enjoyable for a birthday celebration or the like.

If you are feeling like avoiding the crowd, why not venture out a bit further and give Enter Neighbour a go?

How to get here:
Enter Neighbour is located on Camberwell Road, catch tram #75 and get off at Summerhill Road/Toorak Road, and the cafe is just two minutes walk away.

I dined as a guest of Enter Neighbour.

Enter Neighbour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sonido!

Sonido! specialises in Colombian cuisine, something that I don’t have too much experience nor knowledge with. The small cafe is vibrant and colourful, offering a glimpse into the tenacious Latino culture.

Iced Coffee

Starting off with an iced coffee, the tall glass of drink was quite acidic but easy to drink nonetheless.

Chorizo Arepa – $14.00

Arepas is sort of like bread made from corn colour, meaning that it’s gluten free for the celiacs out there. The arepa was soft and a little chewy, being the perfect vehicle for the chargrilled chorizo. Speaking of which, the long slice of chorizo was juicy and flavoursome, probably one of the best that I’ve had. Paired with the cool salsa and guacamole on the side, this was a simply but satisfying plate.

I was too full by this point to try out the Portuguese tart, which I’ve heard great things about. Guess that just means I’ll have to return with a bigger appetite.

How to get here:
Sonido! is located on Gertrude Street, ten minutes walk from Parliament station.

Sonido! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Jolimont

I hate hiking. There I said it. So in order to turn this upsetting event into a somewhat joyous one, and to ensure that we have enough energy for the actual hike, we made a detour and stopped at The Jolimont for brunch before heading off to Wilsons Prom.

French Maple – $17.00

Balance is the key to life, hence why the French Maple was a no-brainer to order on this particular occasion. The French toast was quite dense, but made for an interesting base for the essential toppings of eggs benedict. The runny egg yolks actually helped to counteract the richness of the hollandaise, which was made with more butter than usual. This is definitely not for those who are not willing to clot up their arteries first thing in the morning, as its indulgence cannot be ignored.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict – $17.00

The smoked salmon eggs benedict swapped out English muffins for hash browns, which stayed crispy throughout the meal. The generous layers of vibrant smoked salmon made this a more-than-substantial plate. We did think that the obligatory side salad with the sole ingredient of rocket was a bit heavy-handed.

The Jolimont screamed neighbourhood cafe from top to bottom, with regulars being greeted by their first names by the waitstaff, simple and no-fuss menu, and a price-point that’s well below what I’ve become accustomed to with cafes that are located closer to the CBD.

Although the menu may not appear exciting to some, it was a satisfying meal regardless, with each dish done well. I’m happy to add The Jolimont to my list of cafes to return to if I’m in the mood for something local and comforting, with no frills attached.

How to get here:
The Jolimont is located on Jolimont Road, catch bus #765 Mitcham to Box Hill and get off at Longbrae Avenue, and you’ll be at the door of the cafe.

The Jolimont Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advieh

I know I know, I said I’m over brunches. But when we’re talking about halloumi fries, homemade baklava, dukka toast and Middle Eastern platters, can I really say no that?

So here we are, trying to reconcile a wobbly relationship we’ve been having with brunch at Advieh, a cafe that does both brunch and dinner on certain days of the week, with a menu that promises great things.

The Middle Eastern flair does not stop at the menu at Advieh, the mosaic lanterns hanging from the ceiling, Moroccan-style tiles, and the dark and moody lighting were all reminiscent of a riad.

Iced Chai

It was quite warm on the day and some ice-cold drinks were on order. Although the iced chai was not present on the menu, the waitress was happy to put in an order for us. The spice blend was quite strong, which is actually quite rare to come by in Melbourne, most chais being on the watery side of things.

Iced Coffee – $5.50

My caffeine fix for the day came in the form of iced coffee. The drink was robust and a breeze to drink, keeping me cool in the process.

Mix Grill – $22.50

Advish’s take on the mix grill plate looked light and refreshing, and consisted of three Moroccan meatballs, a piece of grilled chicken shish, hummous and two salads of your choosing. There were three salads to choose from on the day, and after a long deliberation, we settled on the potato salad and the chickpea salad.

Mix Grill – $22.50

The meatballs were my favourite on the plate. The were juicy and flavoursome, benefiting from the ample use of spices. The chicken shish on the other hand, was a little dry, but made all better when had with the hummous. The use of vinaigrette and parsley meant that the potato salad was a touch lighter than your traditional mayo heavy variety. The creamy chickpea salad was another winner, this is the type of salad that I can get behind!

Dukka – $18.50 w/ extra egg – $2.50

The size of the dukka toast was the first thing I noticed, Advieh definitely isn’t shy with their servings. The pairing of pesto and avocado is ingenuous, and one that I’ve actually never tried before, with the earthiness of the pesto contrasting beautifully with the creaminess indulgence of the avocado.

Halloumi Fries (large) – $13.00

The halloumi fries were fried in a light batter, and the yoghurt sauce drizzled on top counterbalanced the saltiness of the squeaky fries. The pops of pomegranate also added some freshness to the plate.

Advieh is something special. With its succinct but versatile menu, friendly and unpretentious service, and reasonably priced and more-than-reasonably portioned food, it left me with a re-found appreciation for brunch. I’m already planning a re-visit to give their dinner menu a try.

How to get here:
Advish is located on Gamon Street, a short six minutes walk from Seddon Station, which is on the Werribee line.

I dined as a guest of Advieh.

Advieh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

White Mojo

White Mojo took the Melbourne brunch scene by storm in 2016, having opened two more cafes already, with one extending into dinner service.

We visited its Balwyn location on this occasion, and upon entering into the cafe, the first thing that you will notice is just how spacious it is. With marble and light-coloured wood as its colour palette, the space was airy and sophiscated, down to the fresh flowers that’s placed on every table.

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Iced Matcha Latte – $7.00

I strayed away from coffee because the weather was extremely humid, and chose to cool down with the iced matcha latte. The drink came in a tall glass, and had a good amount of bitterness from the matcha.

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Double Cheese Chilli Scrambled Eggs – $21.50

Although I don’t typically go for scrambled eggs at brunch, this is the award winning dish from White Mojo, and I decided to give it a go. The eggs were scrambled through with parmesan, cheddar and corn, and were placed on top of a slice of smoked belly bacon, smothered with chilli mayo, and all sandwiched between a ink brioche bun.

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Double Cheese Chilli Scrambled Eggs – $21.50

White Mojo placed its own flare onto the traditional breakfast dish, and it was a decadent yet simple affair. The eggs were silky smooth, and the cheese added some more richness, while the corn offered a contrasting texture. The chilli mayo had a kick to it, and the ink bun was not only visually appealing, but added more substance to the dish.

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Wagyu Meatballs – $17.50

The wagyu meatball was another winning dish. The meatballs themselves were so tender, and the tomato sugo that the meatballs were being stewed in had a complex depth of flavour, perfect for dipping in with the toasted bread on the side.

It is clear to see why White Mojo is capable of such a quick expansion.Β  With a refined and interesting menu that has most items under $20, laid-back atmosphere and professional service, it is a place that guarantees an enjoyable meal, something that is actually quite hard to come by these days.

How to get here:
White Mojo is located on Whitehorse Road, catch tram #109 and get off at stop 46 Balwyn Cinema, and the cafe is sitting right by the tram stop.

White Mojo Speciality Coffee & Roaster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato