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

Milkcow

Milkcow is an ice cream shop that originated from South Korea, and has since expanded all the way down to Melbourne. It had a pop up store for a while in Emporium, and has since opened up its permanent location on Swanston Street.1

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Milky Honey

Wanting to try something simple, we opted for milky honey. The texture of the ice cream is definitely a lot creamier and silkier than the cheaper alternatives, and the organic honey added just a touch of sweetness.

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Caramel Pop

The popcorn in caramel pop had the additional crunchy texture from the popcorn, and the caramel was not overly sweet as it tend to be sometimes.

The ice cream in Milkcow err on the delicate side of things, I couldn’t find the prices listed on their website, but from memory, it was around the $6-$10 mark, which is quite pricey for what it is, at least for me, I’d much prefer to spend the same amount on some good quality gelato. However, if soft serve style ice cream is more your cup of tea, then by all means, do visit Milkcow for yourself!

How to get there:
Milkcow is located on Swanston Street, two minutes walk from Melbourne Central.

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

Tim Ho Wan

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Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin-starred yum cha restaurant finally opened its doors to the public after various delays, and to say that Melbourne was excited is an understatement. The line that snaked outside restaurant meant that a wait is always expected, although it actually moves rather quickly.2

I’ve visited several times now, and can confirm that the quality is very consistent, and on par with its restaurant across the ocean. The concept at Tim Ho Wan is similar to Hong Kong Dim Sum, where you’re given a sheet of paper to mark what you wish to order, plates of food will magically start appearing in front of you after you hand the paper to one of the waiters.

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Braised Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce – $6.80

The chicken feet is a milder rendition of the classic dish. Instead of being fried and then steamed, the chicken feet were simply braised in abalone sauce, resulting in, well, a milder flavour profile.

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Spring Roll with Egg White – $6.00

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Usually I would never order spring rolls, since it is such a pedestrian dish, but because we had a pescatarian amongst us, we had to take advantage of all the vegetarian and seafood options. It was a pleasant surprise though, the filling of egg white was very fluffy, and the spring roll was crunchy, but not overly oily as they tend to be.

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Baked Bun with BBQ Pork – $7.80

The signature dish of Tim Ho Wan, literally every table had a plate (or two) of the buns, and I can definitely see why. The crunchy shell paired with the sweet BBQ pork filling, give me three of these and lunch is sorted.

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Beancurd Skin Roll with Shrimp – $6.80

I passed on these since they had carrots inside, but according to those who tried it, although pleasant, it was nothing out of the ordinary.

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Prawn Dumplings – $8.30

The prawn dumplings were perfect, the skin were translucent but not gluggy, and the filling had a nice ratio of prawn to bamboo shoots.

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Spinach Dumplings with Shrimp – $7.80

The bright green colour of the spinach dumplings made them so pleasing to look at, and they tasted just as delicious. Another surprise favourite.

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Steamed Egg Cake – $5.80

I loved the fluffiness and delicate nature of this cake, however, one of my friend did find it too eggy.

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Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp – $7.80

The vermicelli roll, although not ground breaking, was executed well, the roll itself had integrity, and the filling, well, there was a lot of prawns.

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Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumplings – $7.80

Still confused about where exactly the salad is in this dish, but the crunchiness of the dumplings were delightful. I wish the wasabi mayo had more of a kick though.

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Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver – $7.50

Another member of the four heavenly kings, the filling of pig’s liver, although unusual, was actually a bit dry.

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Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake – $5.80

Besides looking extremely pretty, these slightly acidic cakes, with the floral aroma from the osmanthus, were a light but sweet end to the meal.

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Mango Sago Pomelo – $6.00

My pick for dessert though would be the mango sago pomelo, there was nothing to fault with this classic combination of flavours, and the thickness of it all made me think that they actually used a lot of real mangoes!

1617Overall, there’s not much to fault with Tim Ho Wan in terms of the quality of the food, however, its menu is quite limited compared to other yum cha places, and the price is definitely higher. With that in mind, I’d still return, even if it were just for the baked BBQ pork buns alone, yup, they’re that good.

How to get there:

Tim Ho Wan is located in Village Centre Arcade in Chinatown, a short 10 minutes walk from Melbourne Central.

Tim Ho Wan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baba Sus

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After seeing one too many photos of matcha lattes and egg waffles on my instagram, I finally made my way down to Baba Sus myself, and by that I mean made a friend drive me, because this visit was paid back in the glorious days before I got my Ps.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset3

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Matcha Latte

This is weirdly not on the menu, but I’m 99% sure they still make them. It seems rude not to order one of the matcha lattes with the cute pig on top, and yes I did make my friend swap with me for the photo op. The latte itself was actually quite matcha-y, but not that coffee-y, I find that cafes often struggle to find the perfect balance between the matcha and coffee flavour when it comes to the matcha latte, but hey, it’s still green and cute, so there’s that.

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Scotch Eggs

My friend and I decided to get a sweet and savoury and share, the scotch eggs, unfortunately, is no longer on the menu. Given its Asian fusion nature, the pork mince that wrapped about the eggs was actually inspired by a popular dumpling filling – chives and pork. Chives have quite a strong flavour, and if it’s not a herb you’re into, then you probably should stay away from this dish – given that it’s off the menu now that shouldn’t be too hard. I personally love chives, so this was right up my alley. The pea smash underneath added a milder flavour to the dish, and overall, I really enjoyed it.

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Hong Kong Egg Waffles – $14.00

The egg waffles are something that will remain on the menu until the end of time, or many of us are praying it will anyway. Yes, it looks incredibly messy, but mark my words, the mess is worth it. The vanilla custard was smooth and creamy, the berry compote added some acidity, and the pistachio praline added nuttiness and crunch, the matcha ice cream, well, it’s matcha ice cream, need I say more? The egg waffle acted as the perfect vehicle for the well thought out combination of flavours and textures.

78With its friendly service and vibrant menu, Baba Sus brings us another innovative take on Asian fusion, and adds another gem onto the brunch scene on this side of town. The menu is ever-changing, and I can’t wait to pay it another visit.

How to get there:
Get on an Alamein train and get off at Burwood, the cafe is 5 minutes walk away.

Baba Sus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Naughty Boy

1Freak shakes has been around for a while, and I finally jumped on the bandwagon. The place I decided to lose my freak shake-ginity is Naughty Boy, given the name, it seemed rather appropriate.

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Black Bean and Corn Fritters + Extra Bacon – $18.90 + $4.00

Corn fritters is one of my favourite brunch offerings, although I don’t order it all that often. Naughty Boy’s black bean and corn fritters were very hearty, after drowning them in the egg yolks, it prevented the fritters from becoming too dry. The zucchini and watercress salad were a nice counterpart to the deep fried fritters, but of course, I needed some bacon on the side, because bacon.

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Wagyu Beef Burger w/ Bacon and Cheese Bites

My friend mainly ordered this for the bacon and cheese bites, but they were a bit overwhelming, she said that it just didn’t taste as good as it sound, although there was nothing wrong with them. The burger was decent, with a thick wagyu pattie, and some nice acidity from the pickled vegetable and mustard.

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Chocolate and Nutella Fudge – $12.00

We got the most chocolate-y sounding shake on the menu, since you might as well go all out. All the toppings were made in house, and my favourite was the chocolate fudge brownie, after you dig through the toppings, the milkshake itself is actually pretty normal. However, given the amount the toppings, this is definitely more akin to a dessert than just a shake.67Naughty Boy is definitely more than just the insta-worthy shakes, and the vibe is quite relaxing, especially if you go when they’re not too busy. The tables are not all cramped up like some other cafes, and it’s definitely a place for some good ol’ dnm as you recover from the sugar-induced food coma from the shakes.

How to get there:
Naughty Boy is located on Lygon St, catch tram #1 or #8 and get off at Stop 117, Richardson St/Lygon St, and the cafe is one minute walk away.

Naughty Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

#ZOMATOXDIBELLACOFFEE | The Village Cafe

Earlier this week, I was invited for a coffee tasting at the Village Cafe, hosted by DiBella Coffee and Zomato, and being the coffee fanatic I am, I was ready to sacrifice some sleep considering all the coffee we were about to sample.12The tables were set beautifully with some VOSS water, Capi juice to be used as a palette cleanser, as well as almonds and dark chocolate, and let’s not forget the plates filled with both raw and roasted coffee beans!

The Village Cafe’s owner, Samil, otherwise known as Sam, welcomed us into his restaurant, and gave us a brief history of how he turned a lackluster cafe into a buzzing business over the span of three years, with his wife’s help in the kitchen, and a dedicated team at work.

Our teacher for the night was Moshi Tawil, a man with a lifetime of knowledge about green bean coffee, and is clearly passionate about coffee. He has been trading coffee for years, and travels frequently as part of his job, and his powerpoint about how coffee is cultivated left us all in awe.

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Citrus Tart

While Moshi continued with his coffee stories, the first dessert and coffee pairing was placed in front of us. The citrus tart had a very smooth lemon curd, and the pastry was very short, this would have been a tad sweet served on its own, however, it was balanced out by the coffee perfectly.

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Kenya Twiga AB Espresso

Moshi told us that there are five main categories when calibrating coffee; aroma, acidity, body, flavour and aftertaste. I’m not usually an espresso drinker, which means at the start, the only thing I can taste was bitter LOL. As the coffee cooled down though, the flavour of blueberry did come through, and although acidic, the aftertaste was very pleasant.

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Chocolate Lava Cake matched with Tanzania Shiwanda Estate AA Long Macchiato

Chocolate and coffee seriously go hand in hand, the long macchiato actually did have a chocolatey note, as well as cherry, from memory.

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So perfectly round!

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Not anymore!

Nothing beats the feeling of putting your fork through a chocolate lava cake and seeing the ooey gooey centre, this is definitely one decadent dessert!

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Sweet Kenaffe matched with House Blend Felici Latte

Last but certainly not least, we had moved onto a milk coffee at last, paired with Kenaffe, a Lebanese dessert made by Sam’s wife!

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Sweet Kenaffe

The kenaffe was very smooth in texture, and kind of reminded me of a vanilla slice, but with a mousse like texture if that makes sense. This was the least sweet of the three desserts, which is probably a good thing considering we were all reaching a sugar high by this stage.

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House Blend Felici Latte

The latte was smooth and had a lovely aroma, and I enjoyed it so much that I drank it all, probably not the wisest decision to down three cups of coffee in less than two hours, but oh well, it was worth it at the time.

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Macarons

After all that coffee and dessert, we were given more! None of us could fit in any more sweets at this point, but I did take two home. Unfortunately my mum stole them before I woke up the next morning, but I have it on her words that they went down a treat with a cup of tea!

I thoroughly enjoyed the night spent at the Village Cafe, and considering how much coffee I drink, I did not know enough about it before the masterclass! All of us were buzzing for hours after, but hey, what’s life without a little buzz?

How to get there:
The Village Cafe is located on Doncaster Road, get on tram #48 towards North Balwyn via Bridge Road, and get off at Stop #47, North Balwyn Shopping Centre/Doncaster Road, and the cafe is right across the road.

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