Greener pastures in Green Park

St Ali has moved on and Green Park has rolled on in to the concrete jungle.

Welcome, new friend. Welcome.

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Jesse Gerner (Bombaaaa, Anadaaaa) has taken ownership of this spiffy space. Sort of like superman. Café by day, swanky bar and restaurant by night. Ps. Dinner menu looks superb. So def heading there for some sneaky cocktails and many plates of food soon.

There’s some heavy weight influences from Le Bon Ton, MoVIda, Circa, Cutler & Co and my fave City Wine Shop, who have joined forces to create Green Park Dining.

On my favourite day of the week, known as the RDO, I ventures here for a bit of lunch and people watching. When I first moved to Melbs, I had never eaten a meal out by myself but now I’ve done it plenty and love it! (Sorry fiancé, I do love dining with you too). You can people watch, eat as much as you like and take a million photos and no one is there to judge you. Muahaha.

Was seated at a perfect people watching table and immediately started eavesdropping on a mother-daughter duo discussing the most horrid first world problems. Chanel v Lagerfeld options and where to go over Christmas, Italy or New York. I tell ya, they had it tough. When I laughed at one of their jokes, I think I was sprung and it got awkward.

Felt like a millennium before I was approached for my order. Not sure if that was because the waitress took a while or because of the awkward tension between me and mother-daughter duo.

I started off with the daily detox juice of carrot, orange and grapefruit. Delicious. Wanted more.  Perfect balance and oh so orange. Maybe a tad small for ze price but hey, it was yummy, probs didn’t need any more than that.

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Detoxifying….whilst eavesdropping

After detoxing with the juice, the natural thing to do was to obviously order the oh so healthy hunk of cider braised pork and silver beet.

Yes I realize I created a food oxymoron by ordering this combo, but hey I do what I want! Food-oxymoron. OR, a foxymoron. Kinda like Kim Kardashian but sans Kanye. Ohhh snap.

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Cider braised pork with silver beet

As you can see with my amazing photography above, the pork looked pretty spectacular. I could smell it before it even came within eyesight. So amazing. Admittedly, the skin was pretty chewy and lacked a little somethin’ somethin’, but the meat was fantastic and the vegies hit the spot. Although, the dish was packed with a LOT of oil which was a tad overpowering.

All the treaties looked super tempting, but as I had just demolished half of Wilbur, decided against it and pulled myself away from the cabinet

Definitely going to check out the set menu dinner options on Friday and Saturday nights. Oh yes and will have to add a charcuterie to that. Because, it’s charcuterie. Definitely worth a go.

7.8/10

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Rubiki. Like Rafiki. But not.

Rubiki. Like Rafiki. But not a monkey from the Lion King. It’s a café. Ok so now we have that sorted out, moving on.

I like eating. Fact. Ok. Fine. I love eating. So when new cafés open in my local ‘burbs. Well, it’s a very exciting moment. (Cue whoop whoop)

Rubiki café in Ringwood has opened recently and it’s bringing the good stuff with it. Quaint little place with minimal outdoor seating so fiancé and I grabbed a little table out the front on the fantastic Sunday morning mother natured served us last weekend.

First up, Padre coffee. Tick. Big fan. Delicious Long Mac for me and cappuccino for fiancé. He had finished his before I’d even sipped. Not an uncommon occurrence.

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Sunday mornings with Padre.

Fantastic service from the get go, which as my ‘fans’ (ok, my mum) would know, is a big deal for me. Lovely young lass explaining the menu and then giving me ample time to choose several options and then choose something else and finally make a decision. My decision was so amazing in fact, that fiancé had the exact same. Boring for foodie photos but gives the dish a good wrap.

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Smashed, poached and toasted. New movie. Out soon.

We went with the smashed avo with grains and goats cheese on the best sourdough I’ve had in a long time. Crispy crust, come at me. Also added a poached egg and some chorizo. Because. It’s chorizo. In the morning.

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Oh yes. Come to mumma.

Now when I say ‘some chorizo’. We are talking a JP size portion of chorizo. Bravo Rubiki. Number 1, the side gets its own dish which I’m not usually a fan of as it hasn’t been ‘incorporated into the dish’ as you’d hope (i.e. like adding bacon to the wonderful asparagus and kale dish at Tall Timber). BUT when your size is enough chorizo to feed a small army/one JP, I’ll make an exception. Portion control issues were very present with this breakfast. It didn’t disappoint. Good, simple food done so well and great coffee. Can’t ask for much more on a bright sunny morning.

To make us feel better about the mass amount of chorizo, we ordered the fruit salad (yummy yummy) to cleanse the palate/pretend we didn’t just eat several chorizo….chorizi….a gaggle/flock/group/gander/few sausage things.

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There’s like 12 blueberries! Winning.

Even the damn fruit salad was delicious. Good fruit selection here. None of this ‘we’ll fill it with rock hard honeydew melon and add half a strawb on top. Blueberries, watermelon, PASSSIONFRUIT, rockmelon, and the aforementioned honeydew, ‘cept even that was tasty. Accompanied by some lovely Greek yoghurt, it was a great brekky dessert. Yep it’s a thing. Look it up. Create a hashtag if you like.

Battling with our forks to spear the last blueberry was also entertaining. Until it missed both of our forks and landed on the ground and slowly rolled away. Bye bye Bleub’s. That was his name.

Now I’ve got Bye Bye Bye in my head. You know it. (don’t wanna be a fool for you, just another player in your game for two)…aw those lyrics kinda work in this situation.
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You can thank me later.

Oh dear I need a coffee.

Will definitely be back and hey Rubiki, you might be my new local. Get some more chairs out the front and we will have some serious group brekkys in the sunshine.

9/10

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JP & Juice. I heart food.

NOTE. I have not consumed any solids today so this blog may not make sense at all. Although most of them don’t make much sense, so please continue. But I warned you.

So today I embarked on my first juice cleanse. This was the first day I haven’t ‘eaten’ …since I was born. As soon as I could I started eating, and well, haven’t stopped since. Hence the portion control issues. Put it this way, I had major jaw surgery and managed to cut up spag bol into teeny tiny pieces so I could just throw it down. Nothing was going to stop me from doing my favourite thing. Until Finn Cold Press came along and with some very convincing marketing, I decided to give the colourful bottles a crack.

Working from home and no exercise on the agenda seemed to be the best time for me to do it as I had no idea how my bod would react with no foodies! And yes, looking at everyone’s food photos on insty all day did not help! The cooking shows that were on in the background at home also did not assist. Damn you Matt Moran and your braised brisket.

It’s now the end of the day and I’ve consumed my last juice. Admittedly, at not one point throughout the day was I hungry. Very surprising. Those juicy juices sure did fill me up. It was more the need for solids that got to me! So below you can read my ramblings throughout the day of my first juice cleanse.

8.30am

Woke up about half an hour ago. Pretty sure I dreamt about bacon, surprise surprise. My body was just reminding me that I wouldn’t be allowed any porky goodness all day. Or any animal for that matter!

Just had the warm lemon water as recommended by the Finn team. Although I really wanted to squeeze that lemon on avo and feta toast….I resisted.

product-rainbowBLUEBERRY, MANGO, BASIL, AVOCADO, MAQUI BERRY, ACTIVATED CASHEWS, COCONUT BUTTER, LEMON, CHIA, HIMALAYAN SEA SALT, ALKALINE WATER

9am

Just sipping on the first drink of the day. Pretty damn good! Just like a berry smoothie, with a light consistency, not too thick which was good. Rainbow is the first of 7 juices I am to consume today. I’m pretty skeptical about this whole thing but hey, my tummy needs a break. Really craving breakfast. Working from home usually means awesome Shakshuka or poached eggies and avo on sourdough….today – juice. Bring it on.

Lots of ingredients in that smoothie and surprisingly I could taste banana….but there was no banana in it….but I did get my morning serve of Avo which was good….’cept it was pulverised with ten other things into a juice. Ah well, I got myself into this!

10am

Finished Rainbow probably too quickly. Checked Insty and saw everyone’s yummy breakfasts. Bad move. There should be a disclaimer on all the juice cleanses – avoid social media – it will make you want food. If anything, this cleanse is making me realise how many mini-meals I have. If this were a regular JP day, I would have had breakfast, second breakfast and morning snack by now. Yehh I have issues.

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CARROT, BEETROOT, MINT, APPLE, LEMON

11am

Time to start the vegie stuff. Big hit on mint on the initial sip but you get used to that. Wasn’t a huge fan of this one, but finished it. Must admit, I thought I would have been uber hungry by now, but still alive! Woooo. (Speak to me later….)

You’re told to try and ‘eat’ the juice. I tried that and it almost came out my nose. Obviously doing that wrong. Will try different ‘chew’ method on next round….

MIDDAY

I made it half way through the day! OK kinda….not really but sort of. Bravo Jess. Pat on the back.

12.30

Benefits of working from home

  1. Working in your pj’s
  2. Being closer to snacks

See the issue here!? I buy way too many snacks at grocery time on Sundays and that is coming back to bite me today. I can almost smell the snackies in the fridge. Admittedly, still not hungry, but I am rarely hungry. Yeh that’s probably a bad thing. Wow this juice cleanse comes with free therapy. There there JP, it’ll be over soon.

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CARROT, TURMERIC, GINGER, ORANGE, LEMON

1.30pm

Really want a burger. Not hungry. Same thing as before. Just want FOOD. Don’t get me wrong, the juices are yummy but having a juice with a meal would be preferred. Throwing in some water and rooibos tea to break up the juiciness of the juices. Still want food.

Sipping on the Golden Sunrise drink at the mo. Pretty good! Probably my favourite so far. Primarily carrot, but nice orange tang. Been so surprised that I’m not hungry. Or hangry for that matter (angry hunger). Bit tired. Been to the bathroom about 12 times. Almost watched big brother for 2 whole minutes – ah! Luckily that moment passed.

2.31pm

First tummy rumble. I hear ya big fella.

product-goji-elixirGOJI BERRY, GINGER, LEMON, CHIA, COCONUT NECTAR, HIMALAYAN SEA SALT, ALKALINE WATER

 3.30

Ok new favourite. Stop. Goji Time. Do do do do do. Ok yep this lack of food thing is getting to me now.

I’m just a tad over the liquidity right about now. Even some toast! I just want some toast! With avocado, and goats cheese, and an egg. And bacon. Always add bacon. Oh lordy I am salivating.

4.15pm

Ok my tummy does not like this lack of food situation. Honestly, don’t feel hungry but I just want some fooood. A burger in particular. But I’ll manage. Geez this is hard. I have a sad obsession with food. I feel like I am going through the 7 stages of grief. Been content with the fact I have no food, then disappointed I have to wait until tomorrow for bacon…and the list goes on. I’ll make it.

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KALE, NETTLE, CUCUMBER, SPINACH, APPLE, LEMON, GINGER

6pm

Greeeeeen time. Never been a huge fan of the totes hipster green smoothie, but today was the exception! Would definitely have the Botanica again. Very aromatic on the first taste, but after that, awesome. That was the 5th of the 6 drinks for today. All I can think about is what I am going to have for breakfast tomorrow. Hopeless. I am Jessica and I am a foodaholic.

Let’s just face it. I want food. The juices have been great but gah, I want something elseeee. Anyone would have thought I have been doing this cleanse for a week. And I am currently making Spag Bol for my fiance. Yep. What a catch I am. I really want to put my face straight into the sauce.

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ACTIVATED ALMONDS & CASHEWS, RAW CACAO, COCONUT BUTTER, VANILLA, SLIPPERY ELM, COCONUT NECTAR, HIMALAYAN SEA SALT, ALKALINE WATER 

8.45pm

Final juice gone. Last one was super disappointing! I shook it and shook it and shook it like a polaroid picture (yeh i’m going loopy) and in the end it still tasted very watery. Probably because its main ‘ingredient’ was alkalised water. Oh yes, not regular water. I was secretly hoping it would taste like the salted caramel Connoisseur icecream….but sadly it didn’t. Booo.

AND THAT’S IT.

Done and dusted. I have been to the bathroom about 232150820 times today and I think I do feel ‘better’ BUT at the moment, whilst fiance sits next to me eating spag bol, all I want is a big feast of fooood!!

Worth checking out Finn Cold Press though.

wwww.finncoldpress.com

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Amsterdamage in Melbs.

Cmac and I ventured to Nieuw Amsterdam a while back for a quick work lunch. As soon as we walked in, we were planning when we were going to come back for dinner. The whole place is just damn cool. The music, the decor, the bar thats open till all hours. It wants you there. All day every day. Hyundaiii (couldn’t help myself).

Ventured here on Friday night with fiance, Cmac, Whitney & MonMon. Yep everyone gets an odd name. It’s a thing now. Look it up. It’s trending.

Being one of the only good places in Melbs that you can book is definitely a bonus but if you aren’t super organised and obsessed with foodles like myself, you can easily wait in the bar downstairs and make your way through their award winning drinks list. Did someone say Negroni menu? Ooh yeh.

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Dranks.

I was on menu duty, so did what any food lovin’ kid would do. Order pretty much everything. With Fitzroy Iced Tea in hand (Yep, see what they did there?)

Ok I admit it. I had almost memorised the menu from drooling over it for days before our reservation. Anything on there just looks so good. All I can say is, go now. Right now. They’re open and they’re freakin delicious.

First up was the pork trotter and ham hock nuggets. I didn’t even get a photo of these, they went that fast. And fiance is usually so well behaved in no touching foodies until foodie takes a photo. That’s how good these little babies were. So crispy, juicy meat, so much love for these little pieces of heaven. I want to go back and order them and them alone. But then I think about everything else we ate and I want that too. Drool drool drool. Burnt onion jam too. Drool again. Next!

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Broccoli & Cheese Profiteroles with Broccoli Sauce

Now I will try everything once, but broccoli has never been one of my favourite things (when the dog bites…when the bee stings…..sorry got distracted). Ahem. Until now. No idea why I even ordered these crispy profiteroles but oh so glad I did. The filling was fantastic and the shell was fantastic. We were all just sitting there raving about everything. Even the chairs were awesome! Bravo Nieuw.

In case you haven’t worked out how this ends, SPOILER! It is easily one of the best meals I’ve had in Melbs. Fantastic food. Every little morsel.

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BBQ Scallops, Mango Gazpacho, Avocado & Chili

I want you to read those ingredients and tell me that wouldn’t taste good. Go on, I dare you. I order scallops whenever I see them. Coz. They’re awesome. This dish was great! Def have to say it was trumped by the nuggets but the scallops were incredible. Cooked to perfectttttion. Mhm. Masterchef words. I’m sorry.

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Grits Fritters, variety of sweet corn & heirloom beeties.

I had been advised on numerous occasions, “If you go to Nieuw, have the grits”. When I was looking at the menu, must admit they didn’t reallllly appeal to me, but hey all those food lovers can’t be wrong! And they weren’t. They were oh.so.right. They were like baby clouds for the soil. I am pretty sure I ate most of these. Could be due to the fact I hid the plate from the others. Ma bad. You gotta do what you gotta do!

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Dutch potato fries with Sriracha mayo. 

I’m just going to let that phrase sink in and you can enjoy the photo. First up. We ordered two of these. Luckily. This bowl disappeared in record time. This chippies are chockers full of potato goodness. The sriracha mayo. Well it’s Sriracha with Mayo. Freakin amazeballs.

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Smokey Beef Brisket with carrot remoulade

Another cracker of a dish. Must admit the remoulade didn’t resonate but the beef brisket was just melt in the mouth ridiculousness. Amazing meat. The boys def rated this as their favourite of favourites.

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Pork Belly Chops, Sauerkraut, Apple Sauce and crackling

If you read that and said, nah not for me….well i’m sorry we can’t be friends. It’s pork belly. As a chop. With sauerkraut. Mhm. Very rich flavour but hey, it’s pork belly. Deal with it!

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Slow Braised Lamb Neck, hand rolled spaghetti, turnips and manchego.

Even reading the menu makes me drool over this little fella. I’d seen this dish do the rounds on Insty so it was a no brainer to order it. Another melt in your mouth meat, a favourite with the team and the spaghetti was cooked al dente, al dente, al dente. Phew. Bit of a pasta snob (like to pretend I’m italian) so was happy to see that. Brilliant food. Ermagherd.

Then it was obviously time for the important stuff. Dessert. We were so full but still went for 3 desserts to share. Yep. It’s what you have to do when the choices look like these.

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LEMON MESS
Ginger crumble,
cream cheese sorbet,
lemonade granita

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PEANUT BUTTER WAFFLE
Salted Peanut Caramel,
Raspberry Sorbet

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PUMPKIN DONUTS
Kentucky bourbon cream

All of the above were freakin delicious. The lemon was super fresh and just what we needed after the heavy meaty dishes. But in saying that, the rich Peanut Butter Waffles were just what the doctor ordered. But only in moderation! ….Ok I’d eat half of it. Or maybe the whole thing if you forced me.

But the crowning dish were the pumpkin donuts. I’d been waiting forever to try these babies. I had had a pumpkin donut at Circa which had disappointed but luckily this was flew sky high. The bourbon cream was a great addition too.

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Close up of those mighty fine donuts. Ahhh. Want it again. and again.

Overall, a brilliant night, with great peeps, fantastic service from the top bun clad gentlemen and I can’t wait to go back and have plates of nuggets, donuts and chips. Yep balanced diet right there.

A million out of 10.

Drool. Go. Now

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20 and still punching on.

Ok I tried with the title. Can’t you tell?

Recently one of my faves in Melbs has turned 20! The big 2-0. A big congrats to Punch Lane. Located near…Punch Lane. NO way, I know. Martin and his team create a fantastic vibe and the atmosphere is perfecto for that winter night. Or Summer night. Or Spring or Autumn for that matter.

When everywhere else is trying to be uber hipster, different, or just plain cray cray (oh yeh I said it)….Punch Lane do what they love, and do it oh so well. I feel like I need Ron Burgundy to describe the rich mahogany furnishings, and the wallll of wiiiiine. (cue angel music)

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Oh that’s not even a 50th of it. So many wines and for a red wine lover like me, it’s rather freakin’ awesome. The wine ‘bible’ is available to peruse or you can just try in the brilliant Punch Sommelier and that’s exactly what we did. I ventured here with ma Fiance and my parentals for yet another engagement celebration. I mean why not! It only happens once!

So whilst we sipped on some vino (with another bottle in a decanter, I should add) the menu was consulted….numerous times. Yeh, I’m hopeless with decisions. Gah. And, as menu perusal is such a difficult task, we decided we needed a charcuterie board to get us through. And omg. It was so amazing. Among the best I’ve had. So much goodness. I could have just had that for dinner. Ha that’s a lie.

 

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Look at that baby. Pate, popped corn, a million different meats, cornichons….drool! In case you were wondering, this was demolished. Ahh yuuuum. I wish I could get this take away all day everyday (hyundai….ahh brain fart…)

So the meals came a rollin’ in and it was some of the best food I’ve had in aaaages. No fancy smoke and mirrors, just brilliant produce cooked oh so well. Bravo Punch Laners.

 

IMG_1615Golden Confit Chicken, Carrot Escabeche and Coriander.

This was mine. Excuse the blurry photo. I had to rush because prying forks were trying to get a sneaky taste. Delicious meal. Light enough for an entree but packed alot of flavour. I always avoided ordering chicken, because hey, anyone can cook good chicken. Nope, that’s a lie too. Anyone can cook chicken, but it takes an art like this to cook it so you want to make angel noises whilst eating.

 

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Roast Baby Snapper, Chorizo, Fennel and pickled Rhubarb.

My main man. Sorry Fiance, you were second to the food for a few minutes…This dish was superb. Ah sorry for the lame masterchef words but geez it was so good. The fennel was a great match with the snapper and hey, all dishes are improved when chorizo is involved.

 

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Pumpkin, Sage and Hazelnut Risotto

Fiance’s main of the evening was the risotto. His choice surprised me as he’s usually goes for the biggest, meatiest thing on the menu so he turned all dainty for a while and ordered the vegetarian risotto! And he was so, so glad he did. He probably could have eaten a tub full of it. Beautiful pumpkin flavour with the right texture from the hazelnuts. Hazelnuts. Chocolate. Mmm Nutella. Ok not related. But how good is Nutella.

 

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Baby Flounder with Lemon.

My mother dearest is hopeless at stealing food from my dad’s plate (probably where I get it from)…so he breathed a sigh of relief when they both ordered the same thing. Not gonna lie, as great as mine was, I had a littttle bit of food envy. But I wouldn’t have swapped my snapper, I would have just eaten them both. Mhm. Portion control issues.

 

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Chips worthy of a chippy slap.

These chippies definitely deserve a mention. They were ACTUAL potato. Always a good start. Perfectly fried (prob had a second sesh in the fryer). Oh so good. Definitely returning for the chips alone! There were alot of chippie slaps going on as the bowl dwindled.

Due to the ridiculous amount of food, we didn’t have dessert. I know! No dessert. My 2nd and 3rd stomachs were even full. Fantastic evening with brilliant service to boot.

When most people turn 20, they are still getting their shit together and wondering hmm what am I going to be when I grow up?? But Punch Lane have got it going on and on and on.

Martin, I will be back oh so soon.

Cheers to you Punchers! Can’t fault you.

10/10

Punch Lane on Urbanspoon 

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Circa. Cheer-kah. Yep you got it. Kinda.

As if I needed another reason to eat more food. Well when hunting for reception venues, and with food as a priority (derrr), that had to happen. So sounding like a spoilt brat, I wanted the best of the best when it came to food. Ridic produce, melt in your mouth satisfaction. Mhm. I knew where to go. Circa, St Kilda.

Whilst inspecting The Deck at Circa, we of course decided to stay for lunch and eat more food than any human needs to consume. But hey, this is my version of the wedding diet. Fiance and myself ventured there with my parentals and his parentals for an afternoon of brilliant food, delish wine and oh so much cheese.

The service was fantastic and he even put up with my “hmmm….what’s better X or Y?” questions for each course. Yep, I’m one of those people. But hey, they know the food, so why not ask! I would eat a piece of cardboard so it’s a pretty safe bet that  I will finish whatever is put in front of me.

First up was entree. Oh yes, I had to say entree came first in case you got confused for some reason and though entree came last. Wow it’s only Tuesday and my brain is having a moment. Ignore that ramble on focus on the food, JP.

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Smoked quail w. parsnip, vanilla + barberries 

Papabear and I went with the same quail dish and I would have had massive food envy if I hadn’t ordered it! Quail was cooked to perfection. Ha sorry really bad Masterchef call there. Wasn’t sure about the vanilla flavour initially, but it worked really well and definitely could have eaten the rest of the flock.

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Spanner crab w. black barley + crayfish emulsion

Fiance umm’d and ahh’d and finally went with the spanner crab with black barley. When it first hit the table, he seemed to think he’d ordered the wrong thing. But the dish that disappeared in about 30 seconds said otherwise! And in case you were wondering, the spanner crab is buried under the black barley. This dish also looked incredible on the black plate. Totally want black crockery now, but then I think I would have to put squid ink on everything to make it look perty….imagine.

Papabear was in charge of the wine bible and he did oh so, so well. Beautiful red throughout the meal. Bravo sir.

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BBQ King Prawns with…hmm…I can’t remember

Very sorry but I can’t remember what accompanied the King prawns on this dish as it was a special for the day and not on the usual menu. Mumma, Mumma-in-law and Papa-in-law all chose this dish and what a cracker it was. I had a teeny taste and yep, somehow it had that fantastic BBQ flavour with the light accompaniments. Mhhhm. Those prawnies had it goin’ on.

The conversation was flowing through all the wedding talk and I’m sure Fiance and the other gentlemen at the table were super enthralled in the flower colour discussion and the secret talk about the dress that will all be revealed next year. Woop woop!

Mains came rolling through and I had been promised one of the “best steaks you’ve ever eaten”, so the bar was high. Like Aaron Sandilands high. Ha bringing in the footy ref to food. Oh yeh, that just happened.

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Robbins Island short rib w. celeriac + lovage 

And there she is. What a beauty. Salivating and I have just finished dinner. Duah. Second dinner, ahoy! Papabear and I ended up choosing the same main as well and boy did that pay off. Absolutely amazing. Ermagherd. Just had to push the knife on it and it you could slice through. Bloody beautiful. And yes, we had no idea what lovage was either. Fun to say though.

In case you were wondering, it’s a herb. Lovage Levisticum officinale, is a tall perennial plant, the sole species in the genus Levisticum in the family Apiaceae, subfamily Apioideae, tribe Apieae. You get that? Ok to translate…

The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soups or season broths, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Its flavor and smell is somewhat similar to celery.

Now I am one of those people that only thinks celery takes good when you have a bit of celery with your Peanut Butter….mmm….but it was a great compliment to the rich steak and celeriac puree.

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Wagyu hanger w. burnt onions + truffle mustard

Mumma bear was super impressed with her hanger too. I think she had a bit of food envy about our melty short rib, but her burnt onions lifted the steak so nicely. mmmm. steak. *drool*

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Roasted duck w. pear, chestnut + red endive 

Circa seemed to like hiding their protein, oooh peak-a-boo its a ducky! The roast duck dish that Papa-in-law ordered looked like it was going to be packed full of flavour and it game through with the goods. Big fan of endive or radicchio in everything as well, so that got bonus points from me.

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Murray Cod w. pine mushrooms + jerusalem artichokes 

You don’t often see Murray Cod on a menu, so Mama-in-law jumped on this delish dish. And although it wasn’t the most visually appealing dish initially, the flavour was fantastic and she was raving about it. Listening to everyone rave about their food just makes my foodie choices for ze wedding so much harder! gah. NO CLUE. 1 of everything? yehhh.

So once again, it was time for the 2nd tummy to kick in and one word had caught my eye from the beginning of the meal. Doughnut. Mmmm. Homer Simpson tendency is apparently hidden in my belly.

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Pumpkin doughnut w. buttermilk, pepitas + chestnut 

When it came to the table, I was the luckiest girl in St Kilda. It looked spectacular and definitely deserved the 20 or so photos I took with my camera…and then the extra 20 I took with my phone. Pfft, yes, this was definitely Insty worthy.

UNFORTUNATELY, the flavour didn’t live up to the appearance. The pumpkin puree inside was delicious and well seasoned but the doughnut itself lacked a lot of flavour and was a little too heavy. Very disappointing. But then again, lucky as I probably would have put it on the wedding menu, and it won’t be going on there now.

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Chocolate mousse w. strawberry + toasted meringue 

Fiance and his mother dearest both went with the chocolate mousse dish and it looked and tasted oh so, so good. Had major food envy after my doughnut that didn’t taste like a doughnut. Mm I want that chocolate mousse right nowwww.

So…because we hadn’t had enough to eat already (pfft), we had to choose some cheese from the ridiculously beautiful cheese display. Just take a look at it. It was sooo good. Except I didn’t really like the little oat cakes. Not my bag.

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Cheesus. 

Overall a brilliant long, long lunch and although the doughnut didn’t stack up, the rest of the food was oh so amazing. I cannot wait to have our wedding there. I might just have my dress made bigger so I can fit more food in. Yep, that’s my style.

Circa. You awesome.

9.5/10.

 

Circa, the Prince on Urbanspoon

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Uniting at Union Dining

So when you pack up your life and move interstate, it’s always a reason to celebrate with the fam comes to visit. A few weeks back, two of my sisters decided to venture to the land of the flu and indulge in their body weight in food. Plus more.

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One of our stops was Union Dining in Richmond. I’d ventured here once before and had high hopes. Firstly, amazing service. Our lovely waiter looked like the perfect grandma. Not commenting on her age! But I could definitely see her bringing fresh baked cookies to your place. And when you’re eye height with someone when you’re sitting down, and she’s standing up, you can’t help but say ‘nawww’.

‘Twas a very busy night in the restaurant and the place was buzzing which is always a great sign. With the brilliant Nicky Reimer at the helm, we knew we were in good hands. Well, I did anyway. The other 3 had no idea who that was and I just looked like a sad, sad foodie when I tried to see her by peeking through the pass…..awkward. moving on.

Bread. delicious. Obsessed with bread. Ate too much bread.

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Look at that crispy/fluffy goodness. mmmm.

First up, I ordered Cobia. A kingfish-like fishy that I hadn’t tried previously so thought I would give it a crack. Unfortunately the taste of the fish wasn’t my bag, but the accompanying radishes and celeriac remoulade was delish.

IMG_1589Cured North Queensland Cobia, celeriac remoulade, radishes & grissini.

Not sure what it was about the Cobia that didn’t take my fancy, but unfortunately it did deter me from the dish.

Ma fiance/AT, being the crazy seafood lover, went with the King Prawns that made your mouth water as soon as they hit the table.

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Sauteed Mooloolaba King Prawns, Roast Vegie deliciousness.

Visiting sister numero uno, BP, had been waiting to have fresh pasta for a couple of days and so she couldn’t go past the pappardelle. My have type of pasta. As long as it’s done well and cooked to perfection. And yep, they did it oh so well.

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Pappardelle, Flinders Lamb shoulder ragu, olives, ricotta salata.

Had definite food envy over that dish. Looove italian food. Ok I know, I love all food. But italian food, spesh good pasta has it’s own special plate in my heart. Ha good one, JP.

AP, the youngest of the diners, not sure why that’s important, but hey, let’s go with it, had never had steak tartare so that was her pick. And it did indeed look like a good one.

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Steak tartare, watercress, pickled cauliflower, capers, potato gaufrettes.

Aside from the Cobia, all meals were demolished in record time so that’s a pretty good indication that something was working! Our lovely pretend-relative of a waiter was brilliant all night and she was a great help when choosing mains.

Unfortunately a little kitchen glitch left us waiting….and waiting….and waiting for mains, and when another waiter accidentally gave our wine to another table, it did create a bit of a speed bump. But once mains arrived, we were all back on track. and hungry.

At relative-waiter’s recommendation, I went with the snapper and it was delicious. AP totes copied me. So we were the food envy of the table. High five. Crispy skin, delicious flesh and clammy clams that I could have eaten a bucketload of.

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Bay caught snapper, diamond clams and pearl barley with an escabeche vinaigrette.

Fiancé/AT went with the duck, roast leg and breast and I think he was wanting to eat the entire flock after demolishing his main. Only negative would probably be the portion size. But then again, I have ridiculous portion control issues and so it’s a safe bet that my fiancé suffers from the same issue.

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Roast duck leg and breast, picked Medjool date, juice, glazed turnips.

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Fancy photo with backward writing. ooooh.

Unfortunately have no snaps of the BP’s main meal. Assume that is because she ate it too fast. That is a likely outcome. She’s related to me. It could happen.

As a “sorry we made you wait for ages” pressie, we each got a blackberry sorbet. Which was…well….super sweet. So sweet in fact that not one of us finished. Oh wait, fiancé finished his. And mine as well.

Dessert time. Yep. Once again that different stomach had it’s role to play.

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Cheesus. Twas ridic. Ah yum. Drooling.

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The. Apple. Frangipane Tart. With butterscotch sure. Get ready to drool.

So the sisters and I managed to convince Fiancé that he wanted dessert, specifically the apple frangipane tart. Thus letting us look like the three who would just have a bit of cheese, but secretly wanting to demolish the tart instead. I’m sure he got at least one bite of his dessert. Maybe. Fantastic way to finish.

Overall a great night with the fam and fiancé. Few hiccups with the wine mixup and the longgg wait for mains. So, Nicky & Union, I’ll give you a 7.5.

Apparently the sunday lunch is the deal of the century so I will def be back to give that a crack.

Nice work Union.

7.5/10

Union Dining on Urbanspoon

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