My love for The Potting Shed knowns no bounds. I mean, where else can you be beautifully surrounded by plants, hang out with a macaw AND get great food? Seriously, if you know somewhere else, I’m there. Anyway, my parents and I stopped in after I got back from South America, and I ventured away from burgers and sandwiches, and ordered the Wild Mushroom Pappardelle ($28), with a soft-boiled egg and burnt butter. Firstly, this dish is so pretty it should have its own fan club. With tonnes of mushrooms (including several different varieties, like oyster, Swiss brown and enoki) and silky, slithery pasta, the luxury of an egg only upped the already excellent flavour game. The portion was a great size for lunch, although my jet-lagged stomach struggled to finish it, despite my best efforts. I also enjoyed a fresh juice with orange, pineapple and passionfruit – it was large, tasty and had fresh strawberries inside too (bonus). I’m planning to come back for this dish again when I have more stomach space. And to see the macaw, obviously.
The Potting Shed at The Grounds of Alexandria, Shop 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, NSW http://groundsroasters.com/
Dear Ippudo, it has been a while, but I’m back. I’ve missed you, so rather than getting straight into the ramen, we started with a plate of the sesame cucumber, which was sliced and dusted with sesame, chilli and a delicious oil that probably isn’t good for you but which was incredibly tasty. I mean, how do you make cucumber taste that good? I’ll definitely come back for that one. I decided to try your Akamaru Shinaji ($16) ramen – your original tonkotsu broth was beautifully rich and fatty, with that tongue-coating thickness from the garlic oil and miso paste. The thin slices of pork belly were tender, and each bite of spring onion lifted the pork into extra-deliciousness. I had a moment of panic when I realised my favourite part of ramen was missing – what, no egg? – but you had me covered, it’s easy to order as a side ($2). Oh and the noodles were cooked nice and bitey, just the way I like them. Washed down with a glass of hot umeshu (plum wine), the whole meal was a delight. Let’s do this again sometime soon. Cheers, Sharon
Ippudo, The District, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood NSW, http://www.ippudo.com.au/
Some Cafe is quite possibly the cutest place I’ve ever been to, and was definitely the best place to start a girls’ weekend away. Sprawled throughout a beautiful old home, retaining the gorgeous wood fires and big windows, it’s the kind of space you want to spend time in. When I saw the dessert cabinet, my heart was lost. I ordered the Dingo (free range bacon and backyard egg roll with house ketchup and mayo, $10) for brunch and a caramel slice ($4) for the road. The Dingo came out looking fabulous, and it tasted just as good. With in-between soft and crisp texture, the bacon had nice charring and a god amount of salt – hello flavour heaven. This was nicely matched by the giant egg (laid by the cafe’s hens) and don’t be fooled by the phrase ‘ketchup’. This is more like the nicest tomato relish you’ve ever tried. I understand their menu highlights seasonal foods, soI’m making a note to come back for all things pumpkin in May. We also decided unanimously that the caramel slice was the best we’ve ever tasted. With food this good plus friendly service, cozy atmosphere and incredible value, Some Cafe is a must-visit.
Some Cafe, 5-7 Murray Street, Collector NSW, http://www.somecafe.com.au/
Generally eclairs aren’t the first sweet I’ll go for in a French patisserie – not when there are pain au chocolate or macarons – but on this occasion I set out to buy eclairs, so buy eclairs I did. The selection here is impressive to say the least – it took the cashier a serious couple of minutes to rattle off all of the flavours – but eventually I settled on panut butter, crunchy hazelnut, mixed berry and fruits of the forest (in descending order from the top of the photo). The peanut butter was the least impressive, tasting far more of peanuts than the rich peanut butter flavour, but the texture of both the choux pastry and the cream inside were delightful. The hazelnut flavour fared better, with a great amount of crunch from the nuts on top and a perfectly smooth, rich cream inside. The mixed berry brought the cream into its own – such flavour! The fresh berries were plentiful and well-matched to the simple cream. But the star of the show was the fuits of the forest, which had a flavoured cream inside and shone; both literally, as it was sprinkled with glitter, and flavour-wise. If you haven’t already, definitely make a stop here. I’m an eclair convert now.
Croquembouche Patisserie, 1635 Botany Road, Banksmeadow NSW, http://croquembouche.com.au/
I really think that Bread & Bone make the best burgers in Adelaide. There’s something magical about the way they take familiar flavours and boost them into the stratosphere. The burgers aren’t huge, but they’re filling and delicious and I can’t get enough. On this visit, I went back to the B&B burger ($18) – I’m not too sure I’ll ever want to order anything else from the menu, as this classic has kept up the hype and all of the magnificent flavour I adored last time. With a nicely toasted bun, oozy melted cheese and the killer combination of a high-quality beef patty and bacon (although not as much bacon as last time), the balance of flavours and textures is any burger-lover’s dream. Sure, there’s some lettuce and tomato in there to balance things out, but they play second fiddle to the rest of the ingredients. The fries remain impeccable, and were dished up in a generous serving that I couldn’t quite finish. They were perfectly seasoned and were just crisp enough for my preference. As usual, the staff were very friendly, and we were able to linger happily resting our feet after a long morning of walking. I’ll be back for round three ASAP.
Bread & Bone Wood Grill, 15 Peel Street, Adelaide SA, no website
I haven’t been to Loading Zone in ages, and now that the weather is warming up, Bec and I organised our latest catch up there. I was impressed by the new (but probably not that new) pergola-like shelter, which will make it a much nicer venue in the colder months. We both decided on the same meal – the roasted fig granola with poached berries and macadamia labneh ($14), although I ordered mine dairy-free. I was a bit disappointed that there was no fresh juice on offer (bottled only), but in such a small kitchen it’s understandable. The granola bowl was presented on a cute board with hot milk in a small jug on the side. I was impressed by the generous portion of blueberries scattered on top – they wer plump and juicy, so much so that my granola didn’t feel dry at all, even without milk and labneh. There were a few halved strawberries, and it would have been nice for a few more. To be honest, I couldn’t really tell that there was fig in the granola, but it was certainly a good one, with a crisp, golden mix including almonds, pepitas, and macadamias. I would still rate the Sweet Bones mix as my favourite, but was very happy with my choice and would happily eat it again.
Loading Zone, 22 Odgers Lane, Civic ACT,
Having some Greek heritage, I was curious to try George Calombaris’s take on the cuisine whilst in Melbourne. The Press Club has been transformed into the more relaxed Gazi, which has a bold menu, including souvlakakias and fries with fetta that literally every table seemed to order. I started with the chicken souvlakakia ($11), with onion, mustard mayo, chips and parsley. Whilst I found the bread a bit dense, everything else about this was perfect. I loved the charred, smoky, tender chicken, which was included in generous quantities for the price. I loved the thin chips and the plentiful mayonnaise and the parsley that brought a waft of tabouleh to the whole thing. I loved the casual, hands-on experience of enjoying this delightful wrap. Mum ordered the 400g baby snapper ($28), which was an impressive whole fish we ended up sharing. The walnut crust on the outside was utterly divine, and the snapper meat just melted in your mouth. We enjoyed the slower pace of working our way through the fish, and greedily lapped up every last morsel on the plate. With equally good service and food, Gazi is an affordable, fun, tasty must-visit for any Melbourne trip!
Gazi, 2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC, http://gazirestaurant.com.au/