KUU Cafe + Japanese Kitchen

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Japanese food is one of my go-tos in the warmer weather, given that fresh sushi and sashimi is refreshing as it can get. Kuu has been on my radar for a while now, and I managed to pay it a visit before the cold front crossed Melbourne all of a sudden.

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9 Piece Shikiri Bento Box – $17.50

I made sure that we went to KUU on a weeday morning so that we could order the 9 Piece Shikiri Bento Box, truly a breakfast fit a king. KUU tends to change up the variations quite regularly, and on this occasion, I particularly enjoyed the crunch of the chicken karaage, the sweet and sour fish tofu, and the spam onigiri, combining two of my favourite things.

Although a lot of thought had clearly been put into the construction of the bento box, it was a bit too frilly for my liking, and the content left me feeling underwhelmed.

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KUU had what seemed like a winning formula on paper; attentive service, quirky interior and a Japanese inspired brunch and lunch menu. Although I didn’t enjoy the meal much, my dining partner quite liked her order of the Karaage Japanese Fried Chicken, so maybe I just got the short end of the stick this time round.

How to get here:
Catch tram #1 and get off at Moray Street/Park Street, and the cafe is a minute walk away. Alternatively, catch tram #12 and get off at Park Street/Clarendon Street, and the cafe is two minutes walk away.

KUU Cafe + Japanese Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cheerio

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI don’t visit Richmond as much as I’d like, given the endless dining options in the area. I did manage to sneak in a quick brunch there with a few friends though, and we chose to dine at Cheerio, a little cafe located off the main road.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

I’ve been really feeling egg-heavy dishes lately, and upon hearing great things about the omelette at Cheerio, it was a no-brainer to order.

The omelette was extremely soft and creamy, and the triple cream brie certainly helped in that respect. It is definitely not a light breakfast, but hey, I knew what I was getting myself into. Having said that though, the confit tomatoes and the asparagus hiding beneath the pillow of omelette did prevent the omelette itself from becoming dangerously heavy, and I was left quite impressed.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

The pumpkin soy toast itself was no ordinary bread, being from Woodfrog Bakery, one of my recent finds at a Sunday Market, the toast was quite structured, and did not disintegrate even when I piled the omelette on it.

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Avocado, Tomato Medley, Basil, Meredith Goat’s Cheese, Sumac Dressing, Toasted Pepitas, and Tomato Salt on Pumpkin Soy Toast – $16.00 With 2 Poached Eggs – $4.00

The other dish that I got to try was Cheerio’s take on the classic smashed avocado. The chunks of avocado were of exceptionally high quality, none of that under or over-ripe business here. I always love the addition of nuts and seeds to any dish, and the toasted pepitas were no exception.

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Cheerio seems a lot more homely than some other cafes around the area, and we really enjoyed our time here. If you’re looking for a bit of an escape next time you’re on the bustling streets of Richmond, take a detour and pay Cheerio a visit, I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.

How to get here:
Catch the train and get off at Richmond Station, and Cheerio is a short five minutes walk away.

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

Mr Hendricks

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It’s no secret that Mr Hendricks is one of my brunch go-tos in the Eastern suburbs. Its space may seem a bit small upon first glance, however, there is a courtyard, and an elevated courtyard on top of that, preventing a wait even on a Saturday morning.

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Cold Drip

Given the scorching weather on the day, I settled for the cold drip. The cold drip at Mr Hendricks was served with sparkling water on the side, which I was quite confused about at the start. However, I quickly realised that the sparkling water was to be poured into the cold drip, making it a rather refreshing drink.

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Croque Madame – $16.00

The Croque Madame is a new addition to the menu, and in true Mr Hendricks fashion, the serving was huge! Sandwich between the two slices of buttery and crunchy bread was a ham hock terrine, elevating the dish from more pedestrian renditions of the sandwich. The bechamel sauce and the gruyere cheese added more creaminess to the dish. Although delicious, this dish was quite decadent, and could have benefited from a small salad or the like to lighten it up a little.

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Rosemary Chips – $7.50

A balanced diet requires some chips on the side, and these are some of my favourite chips in town. The thick cut chips were fried to perfection, golden on the outside and super potato-ey on the inside, and the rosemary salt was earthy and comforting.

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I’m so glad that Mr Hendricks is on my side of town, its more than reasonable price, ever-changing menu and just general good vibes means that I will be returning for years to come.

How to get there:
Mr Hendricks is located on Whitehorse Road, catch tram #109 and get off at Northcote Avenue/Whitehorse Road, the cafe is just a minute walk away.

Mr Hendricks Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Humble Rays

Opening earlier this year, Humble Rays has quickly become a contender for having the longest queue in the Carlton area during brunch hours. Its pastel colour palette, plethora of air-hanging plants, and Asian-inspired menu that frequents Instagram ensured that it had a cult following. Arriving at midday on Wednesday, we still had to wait for 30 minutes, proving its popularity.Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

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Iced Matcha Latte – $6.00

Hearing rave reviews about the Matcha Latte, and given the humid weather on the day, it was a no-brainer to order the iced matcha latte for my drinks. The matcha flavour was indeed a lot more prominent than other matcha lattes I’ve tried in the past, and I had to restrain myself from finishing it too quickly.

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Steak Sanga – $18.50

I strayed away from some of the more popular dishes and ordered the steak sanga, the serving was a lot larger than I expected, and am used to around Melbourne.

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Steak Sanga – $18.50

The goodies that were sandwiched between the roll included the titular flank steak, cheddar cheese, chilli bacon jam, balsamic onion chutney, rocket pesto mayo, and some rocket to trick you into thinking it’s a balanced meal. The only problem that I had with the sandwich was that it was quite difficult to eat, however once I had overcome that, the dish was delicious. The chilli bacon jam and rocket pesto mayo elevated it from a steak sanga that you can get from your local fish and chips, and the quality ingredients together presented a simple but tasty meal.

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Egg Benny – $18.50

The eggs benny is probably the most raved about dish from Humble Rays, and my friend liked it so much that she ordered it both times that she visited the cafe. The pork belly was braised to the point that it fell apart at the touch of the fork, and melted in the mouth. The ginger flavour wasn’t too overpowering in the pork belly, which means that even if you were not a fan of ginger, you’d still enjoy the dish. The korokke was akin to a potato rosti, but a lot of crispier, and the yuzu hollandaise prevented the dish from being too heavy.

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Green Tea Skookie – $12.50

Even though we were pretty full by this point, we still had some room for the green tea skookie. Skookie is essentially a cookie baked in a skillet, topped off with marshmallow, ice cream and cookie crumbs. The soft cookie paired with the gooey marshmallow perfectly, and ice cream is never a bad idea in dessert.ย The idea is ingenious, and we demolished the skookie in minutes.

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Even in the saturated brunch scene, Humble Rays is able to set itself apart with dishes that are both reasonably priced and interesting, whilst not losing touch with the most important factor – tastiness of the food. There’s a reason why it has been able to draw a crowd amongst other cafes around the area, and I can see it continue to thrive amongst the student population nearby.

How to get there:
Humble Rays is located on Bouverie Street, catch any of the trams from the Melbourne Central tram stop on the Swanston Street heading away from Flinders Street Station, and get off at Queensberry Street/Swanston Street, and the cafe is two minutes walk away.

Humble Rays Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato