Cecconis. Bortolotto Brilliance.

Mio dio, mamma mia, uffa. Ridiculous italian food. I have found you. (Sound that angel noise).

So yes for those who have read ma blog a bit, italian food has a special place in my stomach. It probably has a special stomach all for itself. Yeh that’s a thing.

Since moving to Melbs a few years back now, I was yet to be blown away by delicious italian food. I mean, I’ve tasted the best in Italy (yep sorry for the knob-ish comment…) and now I have found it in Melbs. Fantastic news for me. Not so good for the expanding waistline that needs to wear a wedding gown in less than a year. Ha oh yes I through in the recent engagement note into the blog right there. Don’t worry, I don’t know what a diet is, so I will continue to eat. ALOT. prior to the big day. ANYWAY let’s get back to the food of the moment, Cecconi’s.

I was invited by the lovely Maria and her family to sample the foodie goodness in their Restaurant on Flinders Lane. And no I will show no bias in this blog. They really are THAT good.

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Photo of the menu…so arty. naaat.

So on this, freaking freezing, Friday Night AT/Fiance and I were seated at a fantastic table with a great view of the pass (foodporn ahoy!). We had fantastic service the entire evening. Right from the get go they wanted to please, create a great atmosphere and make sure everyone dining would have a brilliant evening.

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Arty beer shot by AT. Cool label.

I was attempting to practice my italian with the waiter but his english-italian was just so damn distracting! In a good way. I’m now trying to teach fiance how to speak english with an italian accent. Saaa adorable.

IMG_1525Olives. Bread. Olive Oil. Staple diet.

After perusing the menu I was torn between about 16 dishes….ok I wanted the entire menu, but after the waiter’s recommendation I went with the rabbit ravioli and ermagherd/mio dio, I am OH SO glad i did. Hands down. The best pasta I have had in Melbourne. Hey, probs the best pasta I’ve ever had. Al dente, beautiful filling…ahh I am salivating right now thinking about it. The smell as soon as it hit the table was perfection. I know I sound like a Masterchef judge using random descriptive terms, but you should try it. Trust me.

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Rabbit Ravioli, Cime di rapa, Creme Fraiche, Chives & Parmesan

Ridiculously delicious. I can’t think of any other words to describe the party that was going on in my mouth with that amazing dish. Bravo bravo bravo.

Fiance was finding it a little harder to choose as like me, he wants it all. Our lovely waiter from Puglia (sorry sorry can’t remember his name, but I hope you get treated to his lovely service when you go!) described the few specials and they won over fiance. So along came dish numero uno for him, Duck & Mushroom Risotto.

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Duck and Mushroom Risotto.

Apologies for the blurry photo. It was the only chance I had to get in there before he attacked me with his fork. It tasted so smooth and was everything a risotto should be. A whole lot of YUM.

I started with a great Prosecco and  fell in love with the glasses as well. And as you can see below, the drinks trio of the evening was a pretty sight. Pinot, Prosecco and my good friend San Pellegrino. P party! You’re invited.

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The three P’s.

It was soon time for the main attraction and I was once again led by the waiter’s recommendation as my (lack of) decision making skills were in full swing that evening. I went with the, rather large, Veal Cotoletta with an Apple and cabbage salad which complimented it sooo well. I could have had a massive bowl of the salad. The Veal was cooked very well with delicious crumb. Gah, I’m salivating again.

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Check out that bad boy. Veal Cotoletta with Apple & Cabbage Salad.

Safe to say, I demolished that thing without hesitation. Juicy meat, crispy crumb. Mhhhm. The lemon was also appreciated. Coz hey they’re a match made in heaven. Just like Kanye West and his love for Kanye West. Ok I can’t claim that as my own. Saw it on insty. But hey, brilliant work by that person.

Fiance was once again swayed by the specials and went with the Lamb Shoulder with Lamb belly…I think. Let’s just say it was a lot of lamby goodness and he was in hog heaven.

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LAMB. Enough said.

I tried a little morsel of this perfection and it was just melt in the mouth. I am pretty sure fiance was daydreaming about this for a few days. Fantastic dish and he wants on the menu permanently! I also can’t speak more highly of the service throughout the night. I’ve had many a good night dampened by bad service and this was just impeccable. Bravo. Again.

So yes we had both pigged out ridiculously but pfft it was dessert time. (cue the ‘hhhoooraaay!!’)

So many delicious options on the menu, so naturally we wanted as many as possible, so the dessert tasting plate was the go. Let’s go for the close ups!

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Walnut Pavlova, Lemon Custard, Caramelised Nuts & Apple Sorbetto

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Caramel Mousse, Shortbread, Pecan Butterscotch, & Brandy Gelato

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White chocolate & Early Grey Pannacotta, Blondie & Fior Di Latte Gelato.

Fantastic desserts. As expected after the other brilliant meals. I think all three had disappeared before the lovely Puglia waiter had put it on the table. For another angle for you, check out the dessert boards that could compete with the best of the best.

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The dessert tasting plate.

Overall such a fun, enjoyable, fantastic evening and I will definitely be returning to Cecconi’s as soon as my stomach is ready for another feast. I have also purchased their cookbook La Tavola Della Famiglia and I am so excited to get my italian cooking on!

Grazie mille Cecconi’s. Era una sera meravigliosa.

10.5/10.

Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Altair-iffic. Oh hi-larious.

Ok that title wasn’t my best, but hey, it’s a tricky word to work with!

I’ve lived out in the eastern suburbs for about 6 months now and when I’ve wanted a ‘fine dining’ experience, I’ve automatically ventured into the city and surrounding ‘burbs and not thought to look in my own backyard. Until now!

Friday night a couple of weeks ago, work googling directed me to Altair in Warrandyte. Service from my initial email was brilliant. Best I’ve had in a very long time.

AT and I arrived for date night a little later than planned, due to the brilliance of the Melbourne taxi services. This was not a problem at all and we were seated right away. Previously part of Elwood’s Sails on the Bay team, Michelle and Kelvin Shaw have created exactly what we  eastern suburbians needed. Nope I don’t think that’s a word either.

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OH yes I took the big camera. That means decent photos. Hai Five!

A brilliant restaurant with quality produce and nothing too pretentious. Ah my type of place. This was evident upon the arrival of fresh, FRESH bread with local olive oil. I could have just eaten the bread all night. Sourced from a close bakery, this bread was perfection. I have a sad obsession with bread. But often go for the gluten free variety to be nice to my tummy. But that night, that wasn’t happening.

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Another great point about Altair is that it’s BYO ($10 corkage) so if you have a particular vino that you want to bring along. Go right ahead. We had a lovely Tarrawarra red for the meal ahead. But of course, the cocktail menu sounded ridic so had to try one of those first! I went with the Eastern Mojito, and although not usually a fan of the muchos mintos mojito, this was so refreshing and a great start to the night. AT went with the Pimms mixup which was demolished in about 2 minutes so I am going to safely say he enjoyed his too.

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‘Pimms Cup No.1 with Kaffir Lime’ and the ‘Eastern Mojito’

Although I had perused the menu numerous times prior in an attempt to not be so indecisive on the night….when the tasting menu option was presented to us that threw a spanner in the works! Another great point about this place (no I don’t work there, it’s just THAT good) is that not everyone at the table needs to do the tasting plate, although after indulging in it, you would be silly not too! It was decided. We were going to take on the tasting menu. AT, like me, has severe portion control issues. So we were ready for the challenge. Once we had ordered, we were given an amuse bouche which was perfection in a tiny little jar. Yep, I’m going to run out of vocab by the time I finish this post.

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Blue Eye Cod Mousse.  

The mousse was rich yet light and the salmon roe on top with the micro herbs broke it up perfectly. Was just the right amount as well. Wham. Flavour already and we hadn’t even started the menu. AT’s direct quote – “It tasted like….like YUM”. Oh yes. He is very intellectual.

Just in case there wasn’t going to be enough food in the tasting menu, we ordered a side of olives. WELL aside from the fact they were probably the best olives I’ve ever consumed (also locally sourced), it was probably the biggest ‘side’ of olives ever seen. I could have had a meal of olives. Maybe.

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Olives, olives and olives. Oh my!

It was a great atmosphere in the restaurant that Friday. A few couples and a larger group, with enough noise to create a buzz yet not overpower everyone. We were discussing world issues…probably food….coz that’s all I really talk about….At breakfast time I discuss lunch options, lunch time I toss up dinner choices…yada yada yada.

First up was ze tofu dish. I wasn’t expecting too much from this dish as I have never been wowed by tofu. Until now. I should have remembered, anything fried is delicious and tempura tofu is no exception. The tofu came with toasted grains, roasted pumpkin (in two textures) and shitake mushrooms and the combination was delicious.

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Tempura Tofu, Toasted Grains, Roasted Pumpkin, seeds and Shitake mushrooms

It was clear from this dish onward that so much care was taken in creating and plating each dish. I must apologise as my photos don’t do the food justice. The micro herbs also lifted the flavours and well yes. This was probably my favourite savoury dish of the night. For this carnivore, that’s a BIG thing for me to say.

If I ever see scallops on the menu, ordering them is usually a done deal. I’ve had some damn good scallops over my many years and years of eating. And as you may have guessed, these were no exception. Delicious. Perfectly cooked. again.

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Seared, cold smoked scallops, asian herbs and miso soup

The scallops were delicious and the crisp fried lotus root was a great texture addition. The miso was lovely when eaten with the scallops and herbs although probably a tad too salty for me when tasted by itself.

I am definitely one of those patrons who love to people watch and listen to conversations that I’m not meant to be partaking so we spent the night little while discussing the issues of people around us. Always so entertaining. And then the conversation probably went back to food and how obsessed I am with bacon. I was also probably wondering what I would have for breakfast the next day. It happens.

Next up was rabbit done 3 ways, or maybe 4. Either way, the chef was just showing off! A very gamey meat I found with rich flavours so this was probably the least preferred dish for my palate but AT loved it and it was definitely full of flavour.

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Braised Rabbit, truffled apricot, wakame and radicchio

When combined, this dish was the stuff of legends. The sweetness of the apricot, the radicchio, the rich rabbit. Oh lordy. Delish. As I said it was very rich so a smaller amount would have been fine for me, but AT demolished his, so I definitely recommend you try it.

I am very lucky I am dating a fellow portion control issued individual otherwise he would have thought I was a human trash can for powering through this menu. Even if you felt full, the flavours were just so delicious, you couldn’t stop eating! Go on, try it.

Soon after Bugs Bunny, we were served a very fancy pork and apple dish. Pork Jowl. Tick. Pancetta. Tick. Boudin Noir Coulis. Tick double Tick. Once again this was another rich dish and the pork jowl just melted in the mouth. The crackling was quite chewy which was disappointing but the moist meat made up for that and then some.

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Pork Jowl, Boudin Noir coulis, yoghurt, pancetta, Chinese apple, cider jus. 

Pork and apple, obviously a match made in food heaven. (Gah apologies for the oh so masterchef-y comment…but you know it’s true). Bravo chef man on this dish. Everything together was a fancy partae in my mouth.

So yes, you can imagine the stomach was indeed creepy towards capacity at that time. We had tried about 12 different proteins. But the last savoury dish was one which we were both salivating over from the get go so it was game on.

I give you. Black Angus Scotch Fillet. Oh hellll yeah. Accompanied by creamed potato, horseradish and a Bordelaise jus. Want me to repeat that so you can get the imagination going? No need here’s a couple of brilliant snaps by moi so you can share the experience.

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Black Angus Scotch Fillet. Enough said. I wanted to drink the jus. Ok I admit, I did drink it.

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Close up. He wasn’t camera shy. Melted in the mouth. Gah I’m salivating again.

All night we were served by Michelle Shaw and she was lovely and answered all of my silly foodie questions and gave us the low down on the place, the food, the suppliers and THAT night when THE Larissa Dubecki came in for a review. I’m sure she is just as nervous about my review as she was Larissa’s. We are pretty much on the same level….Larissa has about a million readers….I have…my mum. See? The same.

It was time for the dessert tummies to do their thang. Sticky date pudding has a special place in my heart and so when I saw that on the al a carte menu, Michelle was lovely enough to trade the tasting menu dessert (which AT had) with their Sticky Date. Salivating again.

SO the tasting menu dessert was a dream for dark chocolate lovers, so it was a big deal for me to swap it out for the sticky date. Dark Chocolate ganache to be exact.

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Dark Chocolate Ganache, Bergamot orange, kumquat, rice pudding sorbet.

I have no idea how I got in to take a photo of this before AT came in, guns blazing. This was gone at lightening speed and he had this ridiculously satisfied look on his face the whole time. Just look at it. It’s so perty.

My sticky date was by far the best I’ve ever had. That’s saying a lot. A 70 year old family friend named Betty used to hold that title and unfortunately she’s been superseded by Altair. As I said to Michelle, it is great to seeee the dates in the sticky DATE. Take note other restaurants, we like to SEE the ingredients.

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Sticky date pudding, dulce de leche, spiced ginger icecream, pecan and butterscotch.

I’m now wondering whether Altair is open right now and whether they will give me this. right now. It was incredible. Beautiful rich flavours with a great balance of every foodie word I can think of. Didn’t think I’d be a fan of the spiced ginger ice-cream but it went with everything so well. There was not a morsel left on that plate. Luckily surrounding diners had left by this point as I was scraping the bowl trying to get to the very last morsels of the b’scotch sauce. YUUUUUM.

Because we clearly had not eaten enough, the lovely Michelle brought over a special treat from the kitchen and when you see it, you’re going to want to go there. right now. I warned you.

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Cinnamon and Ricotta donuts with a Kiwi jelly

These little babies were off the chizang. I don’t even know if that makes sense but the brain goes numb thinking about these delicious balls of goodness. Perfect example of #cleaneating #naaaat. Try to look at that photo for more than 2 seconds without salivating. I’m tempted to go into the herb cupboard and just eat cinnamon….sadly I don’t think that will be the same thing.

Overall. A fantastic experience and we will definitely be back asap. Thank you to the team at Altair for such a brilliant night and they well and truly went above and beyond our expectations.

11/10.

Go there. now. Eat. ALOT.

 

Altair on Urbanspoon

 

79%?? Fellow voters. You cray cray.

 

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Down the rabbit hole…into Docklands

Tuesday morning. Jack frost was nipping on our heels and I was off to the wind tunnel of Melbs. Aka the edge of Docklands. Why you ask? Well I was late, late, for a very important date. Ok no I was actually on time but I am trying to be hilarious and make as many links to Alice in Wonderland as possible. I’ll stop soon I promise.

I was invited by De Mad Hatter and Harvey PR to check out the brekky at the cafe. I was to join Melbs’ elite (food bloggers) and drink a hell of a lot of cawfee in a couple of hours. And I succeeded. I think I’m still buzzing from the two long blacks I had. Bravo on the coffee De Mad Hatter, that was chesire-iffic. (ha chesire…like the creepy cat? Oh JP, you hi-larious thing, you.)

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Oh yes. We had name tags. We ARE important.

Had a chat to a couple of bloggers. One of which I found bizarrely familiar and later it hit me that she was on The Mole! Didn’t disclose this knowledge at the time as I am quite sure I was one of the 5 people in Australia who watched the Mole for a total of about 5 minutes. She was lovely though! Do believe she’s a link to a fantastic blog Sharking for Chips & Drinks. So there you go. Bloggers ARE cool. They’re on the mole.

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Arty photo.

Everyone was taking photos so I thought I should too. Liked the tulips and the themes of the tables. Also, apparently the vase is known as a ‘bomb vase’ in the industry…not sure I’m ok with that. Anyhoo back to the cafe. After everyone had taken random arty or not so arty photos of the caf, our starter was served with a spiel from De Mad Hatter Manager. They are linked to Jack and the Beanstalk (see the theme??) and the low ceilings were a link to the reason why the Alice in Wonderland theme stuck. SO beware tall people. That ceiling looked solid and probably not a nice surprise for the forehead.

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Berrylicious Bircher.

Our starter was definitely the highlight of the meal. A well balanced berry bircher. Yoghurt wasn’t too sweet and balanced well with the coulis and fresh berries. Good portion size too. I know I like my portions…large….but this was juuuust right for bircher. Oh yes she just through in a Goldilocks reference for good measure.

Everyone loves breakfast. So when it’s a two course breakfast that is even better. There were three choices being – breakfast bruschetta, ricotta pancakes, the DMH Special and the corn fritters….with bacon. Safe to say I went with the one that included bacon…so I didn’t have to ask for it to be added to the other dishes. Gah bacon, why you so damn tasty. Now I am thinking of Bertie’s butcher bacon and I’m drooling. The dog is looking at me doing that side tilt with his head….probably wondering why mummy is drooling over her computer. Ahem, back to the rabbit hole.

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Corn Fritters, Tomato chutney, Avo & Bacon. mmm bacon.

I have had some awesome corn fritters around Melbs and must admit this wasn’t up there with the best. With the chutney/sauce on top of the fritters, they had become a touch soggy and maybe needed a bit more corn. Hope that doesn’t sound corny. Ha. oh that was bad. The bacon was fine as well. Just needed a bit more time on the pan. sizzle sizzle. Overall, a decent brekky and will def go back to give those ricotta pancakes a crack.

A lovely way to start the working day and so good to meet other people who embarrass their friends by moving the items on the table to create  a good photo. Sort of like those girls that take so long to get ready to look like they didn’t even try. We move stuff on the table so much to take a relaxed photo to make it look like it was all there by accident. Get my drift?

So if you are STILL reading this ramble. 1. I thank you. 2. Check out De Matter for their great coffee and their lunch time salads are deeeelicious. Fair prices too!

Overall a lovely morning, with a few niggly bits.

7.898/10

De Mad Hatter on Urbanspoon

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It’s Grand and it’s good.

A couple of weeks ago I was one lucky lady and was taken to see the boob himself. Mr B. Suave, Mr Michael Buble. I was excited and probably annoyed AT all day…ok all week prior giving him my renditions of various buble songs.

Prior to heading off to watch my future husband with my boyfriend (awkward), we headed to The Grand for a couple of bevvies and a feed.

I admittedly wanted to go there as they stocked my new fave drink, Trumpeters Iced Tea, and I knew the cibo was a bit of alright as well.

Ahh delicious is more like it.

The service at the Grand is always pretty friendly and laid back and that’s why the locals like it. I assume. The dining room looks a tad more fancy schmancy though, so hopefully the friendly service continues on in there. Will have to try it soon.

In case you’ve missed my previous ramblings about my new fave bevvie, it’s alcoholic iced tea using Sri Lankan tea leaves. And it is da bomb. That just reminded me that when I was young my email address was pipisdabomb@yahoo.com….yup it rhymed. I look upon those years now and shake my head in dismay…but I am still impressed a young JPizzle came up with a rhyming email address.

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Latest fave. Trumpeters. Get on it. 

Back to the alcohol. It’s lightly fizzy with a noice flavour between a beer and a cider. Just the way I like it. (So pleeeease, catch my diseeease. Ah good old Ben Lee. Whatever happened to him….)

So we have a couple of Trumpeters, and perused the menu. Ok I admit I’d already looked at it on my phone on the way there, but I still like to make the menu feel special, so I looked at it nevertheless.

AT went with the pork cutlet and after umming and aahing, I chose the calamari, plum & radicchio salad. And because of my severe portion control issues, I also ordered the ‘semolina gnocchi’ chip…things. Essentially polenta chips given a different name to confuse.

So. The pork cutlet. Came out crumbed which was completely fine by AT but would suggest throwing those words onto the menu to make the next diner aware. But it did look ridiculously delicious. Pork Cotoletta style. And this thing was massive. Wilbur must have been a big, big boy.

 IMG_6787Crispy, oh so large, pork cutlet

My salad was delicious and exactly what I felt like. (Warning: wanky statement coming up)….the flavours were great together and never would have thought to combine calamari, radicchio and plum but will def be attempting to do a recreation at home.

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Practically perfect in every way.

The semolina gnocchi (chips) were great and the chili style chutney that came with it was a highlight. Chippies weren’t as good as those at City Wine Shop though. Bit tooo soft for me. But still yum. And I still of course ate more than my share of those.

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NB. Dipping sauce was delish. Chippies were crispy. Done deal. 

Overall a good vibe and perfect intro to a fab evening with Mr Buble.. And yes he was amazing, no he unfortunately didn’t ask me to marry him and yes he looked at me at least 4.5 times.

IMG_6827Oh, hey there Mr B. 

The Grand. 8.3/10

Grand Hotel Dining Room on Urbanspoon

 

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JP & PD

Ok, so yes, you’re right, I am sposed to focus on all things and everything Melbs but when holidays call to me, that means eat, sleep, eat, repeat. My recent trip to Port Douglas with a gaggle of mates was no exception.

So for those of you reading this in Victoria and sitting there freezing yo’ butts off in this early cold snap, this is a kind reminder that it is warm somewhere in this country.

We were to spend a week in good old PD and unfortunately the weather didn’t exactly come to the party, with a bit of cloud and rain each day, but hey, with a water temperature of 27 degrees, you can’t complain! And of course the whole ‘not being at work’ thing was pretty schweet too.

AT & I stayed at Shantara resort which was perfecto for what we needed. Great rooms overlooking the pool, lovely staff, and the resort is within walking distance of the beautiful 4 mile beach and the ‘town’. The biggest plus about this place – kid freeee. Ooo yeh. So I only had to worry about my red headed companion bombing into the pool and wanting to ‘race’ on the noodle floaties….so it really wasn’t much different to having kids there now I think about it.

Being a ridiculous food obsessed individual, months before venturing to the far north, I was checking out the different food options and (occasionally overpriced) options that Port Douglas has on offer. My father dearest highly recommended the acclaimed Nautilus so this was booked in for Easter Sunday. And it did not disappoint.

Even from my initial emails re the reservation and changing numbers from 2…to 4…to 8, were greeted with an (electronic) smile and from there onwards, the service was impeccable.

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Awesome throne chairs. Don’t need no Iron Throne when you have these.

Nautilus is set in canopy behind the main strip in Port Douglas and so you are completely immersed in the palm trees, plants and creature noises when you sip on cocktails in their Canopy Bar. The Pimms cocktail seemed to be the drink of choice, however I went with a Limoncello Martini (oo yes recreation will definitely be happening soon) and then a lychee cocktail which were both delish.

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Pimms & Limoncello

Our group was then moved to the main area of the restaurant, and as it wasn’t raining (woo!) the large sail over the seating had been pulled back and you are completely immersed in the rainforest once more. An incredible experience, so if you are in Port Douglas, please oh please go there.

As I had studied the menu on numerous occasions prior to our visit I had locked in my choices until I heard the special was Barra with Mussels and a broth that’s description escapes me now but yes I chose that.

For entrée I went with the Tuna & Crab Nicoise….which wasn’t very Nicoise-y but ermagherd, twas one of the best dishes I’ve had since moving to Melbs. Raw Tuna, perfectly cooked crab, tempura’d whitebait, soft boiled eggie….ah I’m salivating just thinking about it. Although there was no real food envy as everyone’s dishes looked fantastic.

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Amaaaaze. Tuna Nicoise all cray cray. Ha get it? Coz there was crab…crayfish…cray cray

Entrée’s were demolished, in a very civilised manner, and the vinos were ordered and the night was turning into a cracker. The fact the weather had remained calm was an added bonus. Oh yes and everyone sits on a throne. It’s all a very regal affair….aside from the fact all the male companions in our group were wearing Hawaiian shirts….doubt you’d see Prince Will or Harry rocking one of those.

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Pork belly…yep it’s under Mr Yabby….looked fantastic

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Steamed daffy dumplings

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Bread lookin’ good

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Mr Miyagi would be so impressed. Sashimi galore

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Steak tartare….personal fave

Mains arrived and they all looked incredible once again, with a special mention to CN’s massive Coral Trout. The big fella looked amazing and she took him on, and won. So props to her.

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THE Coral Trout. Spec-freakin’-tacular

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Top view of the trout to make you drool a little more

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Ridiculously tender lamby lamb

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Fancy smancy surf n’ turf.

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AT’s Amazing seafood platter. He hated sitting next to me…nibble nibble

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My sexy main – barramundi done right.

It was soon time for the 2nd stomach to once again kick into gear. Due to the fact I was going to have to wear a cozzie/swimmers/bathers/togs in coming days I thought I’d just get an Affogato….that was until I saw Chocolate XX and well….I’m female….so that was ordered in ADDITION to the Affogato. Sooo rich and probably only needed a 3rd of it, but gah it was goooood.

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Always a winner. My Affogato w Frangelico.

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Droool. Chocolate Molten cake. My 2nd dessert…

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AT’s Creme Brûlée. Oooyeh I cracked it before he got there.

The lovely staff were so attentive throughout the night without being too fussy and were available whenever we needed assistance with anything. An amazing experience, and one I will not forget. Brilliant company, food, bevvies and the venue itself is really stunning.

Even though you aren’t situated in the best city in Aus, Nautilus I give you a double high five.

10/10. Plus 1. How is this not above 90% on Urbanspoon!?

 

Nautilus on Urbanspoon

We of course had to embrace our inner tourists and head out to the Outer reef for some snorkelling action. To save you a bit of energy, and not force you to pick up 1104 brochures advertising various tours, I def recommend Poseidon. A relatively small boat (takes about 60-70) passengers, great crew and a good feed of prawns, meat and salad for lunch. 3 different reef stops as well which is always nice. I am not a fan of the boats that look like they’re herding people like cattle on and off, so if you’re looking for a bit more of a relaxed, smaller approach, definitely check out Poseidon. And no, you don’t receive any form of sea trident when booking unfortunately.

Other touristy things I’d def recommend doing would be driving up to the Daintree, Cape Tribulation and Mossman gorge for a dip in the rather cold water. Ps. Hung around in the Daintree for a couple of hours looking for a cassowary and ended up seeing a couple cross the road in front of the car. So stop looking, and then you’ll find it. Ha, other people use that line about true love, and I just used it about a bird that looks like it has a rock on its head….

 

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Charlotte’s Corner. Not Web. With pig though…in bacon form.

Err’body loves brekky. It’s a fact. Those people who don’t eat breakfast are…stupid. Yehhh. There’s that expensive education being put to good use. What a vocab.

A couple of weekends ago, a few mates and I ventured to Charlotte’s Corner in Blackburn. Great little set up and we scored a big table out the back with the sun shining.

Ma boyf and I were running a tad late so we quickly ordered caffeine and food when we got there. My eyes went straight to the corn fritters and of course I requested a side of baaaccon. It was a Sunday. Bacon is required. He went with the big brekkie along with a couple of the others, and the rest of the crew made up their own meals. Safe to say, everyone’s meal, bar one, involved bacon. That’s why we are friends.

The rest of the crew already had cawfee when we got there. AT and I waited…and waited…and waited for our coffee. Eventually mine came out. In a massive take away cup. When we had just ordered food…why would I want my cawfee in a takeaway cup? I decided it would take a while for them to move the coffee into a mug so I just settled with my takeaway cup. AT’s cawfee was still coming….and didn’t arrive until the waitress was asked about it…twice. It’s a latte. No tweaks or fancy stuff. A straight up latte. Ahh dear. Mr waiter clearly wasn’t listening when we ordered.

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Ridic corn fritters. Sooo delicious

That was evident when my corny corn fritters arrived sans bacon. Yep they forgot the bacon. This is unfortunate for the average eater, but for me, the emotions were running as high as when they have to put Marley down in Marley & me. When I enquired about the whereabouts of my bacon, the girl was accommodating enough, but I do believe between then and when the bacon arrived, they had gone to farm the pig. Aka it took a while.

Admittedly all the food looked super yum and my corn fritters were def the best I’ve had in Melbs. The bacon, when it arrived, was super underwhelming though. Definitely will be back for the corn fritters again. Will just ask the waiter to repeat the order back to me and make sure they know that people like coffee in mugs.

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Surprised I got to take a photo before AT stabbed me with a fork.

The big brekkie was devoured by the boys and the made up meals were enjoyed as well. Seems the chef knows what he’s doing. He could teach the wait staff a few things.

The company was fab and the conversation was, as always, entertaining. Solid effort Charlotte’s corner. Just learn to listen. And maybe smile. People like happy people.

7/10.

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Sbrrrrrriga. Super fun to say.

Good coffee seems pretty hard to come by in my little pocket of Melbs’ CBD but never fear, I sniffed it out. And it’s gooood.

Sbriga, is a lil’ shop on lil’ Lonsdale with a small kitchen and rather large possibilities. I’ve grabbed a couple of cawfees here recently and am loving the taste. The beans are Allpress but I do believe it’s the barrista (not the barrister…remember that one. Could sting you) and the machine that makes this coffee stand out from the other 1.676 million coffee places in Melbs CBD.

I am kind of obsessed with anything Italian, so with the tag line ‘Roman Espresso bar with a Melbourne soul’…well they’ve won me over already.

The other morning I caught the early train (urgh), didn’t want to go to the office yet and so settled into spriga for a Long Mac and hopefully some avo on toast. The lovely waitstaff were super accommodating when I requested the avo and I had a seat.

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Long Mac. Not black. MMMac. :)

A few minutes later, the waiter came over to me and told me the avo was a ‘tad woody’ and I wouldn’t enjoy it. THANKYOU SIR. I have ventured to a ridiculous amount of cafes and the like, and been served avo that was far from ripe and it was still served to me. I wanted to give him a hug for the honesty. He probably thought my reacon to the sad news was incredibly odd as I think I smiled and said “THANKYOU. That’s fine, I’ll leave it.”
I would go back to Sbriga on that event alone. Honesty. What a change in the café scene.

So def head to Sbriga and be reassured you’ll only get avo if it’s worth eating. And in this avocado crazed city, this is a breath of fresh air.

The sweets cabinet also looks ridonkulous and takes me back to the many espressi bars I frequented in Florence.

Delicioso Sbriga. A domani.

9/10.

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