Oooh. Barra-Coda.

So, yes. I’m married now. JP turned to JT. And my blog titles are still as corny/hopeless as ever. Wife life is treating me well. As I benefit of going from P to T, red head husband and I had a brilliant celebration with our nearest and dearest and received many a lovely gift. One of which was a spectacular voucher for an evening of deliciousness at a restaurant of our choice from my work buddies. Oh yes, they know me well.

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Dranks. Beer. Sparkling. Oh the choices.

There we so many choices, but for the vibe we wanted and the food we craved, enter Adam D’Sylva’s Coda. This funky, moody, electric restaurant is nestled next to the big boy of Flinders Lane, Chin Chin and definitely holds its own. As one of Melbourne’s finest, it is very hard to score a table at this fantastic location, but never fear, unlike it’s asian fusion neighbour, it’s book-able. Mhm. Call them. now. You’ll be drooling soon.

We were welcomed by one of the numerous friendly staff and given the cosy corner seat which was awesome for both people watching and food lighting. Bravo, Coda. The restaurant was packed on this buzzing Friday night and we were loving watching the clientele and their random interactions. Oh yes, we can’t help it.

Ok. I will admit I had a post it in my bag with my menu decisions. I can’t help it! I did still peruse the menu and let Husband pretend he had some input into menu choices. But really, I knew what we would be eating before we even walked in. Sorry, husband. You married this.

I rattled off my post it notes to the waiter, who had to stop me 3/4 way through to let me know we “mayybe” had enough food. I was sceptical but trusted him. Probably wise considering I intended on being able to walk and not roll out of the restaurant at the end.

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Oyster love.

First up were a delicious sample of Barilla Bay oysters from that little island down south, good old Tassie. I love a delicious natural oyster, and the finger lime dressing was a great accompaniment. Mm I want some now. They were so fresh and yes, I could have ordered several dozen, but my portion control issues were controlled. For a moment.

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Crispy Hà Nôi style rice paper roll with pork, taro and nuoc mam dipping sauce

I was ready for a food parade. Like the Easter Parade but without the hats. Oh dear JP, that’s the best you could come up with? Clearly need something to eat. Those cripsy pork rice paper rolls would go down a treat right now. I’ve never had fried RPRs but they were great. Moist meat with that crunchy texture and freakin’ yum Nuoc Mam dipping sauce. mmmhm. They’re onto a winner there.

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Spanner crab, galangal, roasted chilli and lime betel leaf

These bad boys deserved two photos because they were twice as good. And there’s two of them so I thought I should let them both have a moment in the limelight. I haven’t had many betel leaf combos and before trying these, the favourites were found at Longrain. BUT. These were delicious. So fresh. Husband wanted to me include that he thought these were “Fresh like the Prince of Belair”….yup we deserve eachother. He’s not a huge fan of spice so these were juuuust right for him and I thought the little bit of spice just let the crab dance in your mouth. Sorry for the Masterchef language, but it’s true. They were one of my favourites for the evening.

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Blurry goodness – Calamari, green papaya and cucumber salad, with nahm jim, peanuts and crispy anchovies

Apologies for the not so crisp photo. I was in a hurry to eat this one as it looked so good, and the aromas ahh the aromas. I had heard alot about this dish in particular and it didn’t let us down. Terrific textures, flavours, the whole shebang. Definitely order this dish when you visit. I know you’re going. You know you want to. Loved the anchovies in this in particular.

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Blackened quail, daikon and shiso salad

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Master stock wagyu brisket, chilli vinegar, spring onion, peanuts and sesame salt 

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Roasted yellow duck curry

The dishes kept rolling on in and they were each as good as the last. This fine establishment deserves it’s title as one of Melbourne’s finest. From the sommelier to the food to the freakin’ bathrooms. Everything has been thought through and everything is damn perfect.

I’ve never had a blackened bird and the quail was so tender. Loooove me so tender quail. Yes it doesn’t look very appealing, but the daikon and shiso side salad lifted the initial ‘look’. The meat just fell from the bone and this teeny tiny bird gave a huge impression.

Oh the brisket. We liked this so much we ordered it again after we’d finished the savouries. Yep, we both have portion control issues. Once again, made for eachother. SO tender to the touch. Just had to place the fork on the meat and it melted. I’m drooling again. So much flavour in this little piece of heaven. Loved the chili vinegar as well. I think I need this on every dish I eat ever again.

The yellow duck curry was packed with flavour and although a tad pricey ($40), the flavours were brilliant and the duck was cooked to perfeeection. Sorry, more Masterchef talk. But it’s true! This was Husband’s favourite alongside that brisket.

The vibe of the restaurant was fantastic and although I tried to ‘accidentally’ walk into the kitchen to see if Mr D’Sylva was in there a few times, the staff were still so hospitable and just lovely! Ah I sound like a little old lady but they were!

The beer & vino selections by our sommelier were fantastic as well and I always appreciate a sommelier that speaks in ‘people language’ not just about tannins and fancy french words. Thankyou, sir!

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Toasted meringue, vanilla sponge, coconut, granny smith apple and yuzu

I really don’t know why waiters bother asking “would you like to see the dessert menu?”…there is only one obvious response that should apply to this question. Unless you’re in a first date type situation where the female or male for that matter, might do the old trick of hesitating, pretend they’re watching their figure and then order 4 desserts anyway. Husband knew from the first date that I was pretty straight down the line when it came to seeing the dessert menu. Yes I want to see it. And yes we are ordering different dishes so I a) don’t have to share mine and b) can eat some of yours. It’s just science.

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Dark chocolate dèlice, mandarin, cocoa nib, pearl barley and malt

We decided on the rather spectacular duo of the Toasted Meringue with vanilla sponge as well as THE chocolate delice. Oh the richness. These really complimented eachother as the delice was oh so rich and delicious and the meringue was so light and tangy with the apple and yuzu. They both looked like Da Vinci portraits on the plate as well. So impressed. Yet again. It would be worth going to Coda just for that delice. But then I would have to order the quail, the brisket…the betel leaves…ok just go for all the food.

Overall a freakin’ brilliant evening with the best company I could ask for (nawww) and fantastic service, vino and fare. Kudos, Coda. You got it going on. One of the best in Melbourne for so many reasons.

10/10.

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Boy of the Lady variety. Richmond. G Rated.

She’s all you’d ever want,
She’s the kind they’d like to flaunt and take to dinner.
Well she always knows her place.
She’s got style, she’s got grace, she’s a winner.
She’s a Lady(boy).

Whoa whoa whoa, she’s a Lady(boy).

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Just in case you didn’t realise what the post was about.

No I don’t know what that song was in my head on a recent dinner with the besties, but it happened, so just go with it ok. Yep I know, now it’s in your head too isn’t it. Whoa whoa whoa….Ha. Mission accomplished.

So, yes. Ladyboy. Because Bridge Rd was in need of something that wasn’t another breakfast spot or pub. And they are doing a fine, fine job. The four of us ventured to the boy of the lady variety a few months back, without knowing much about it, aside from its entertaining name. And we were in love with the pork hock (it’s coming) and their delicious, inventive cocktails. With ridiculous names like trans-gin-der, Adam’s apple, man-go Ladyboy, you know you want them all. I think we had several of them all that first visit.

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Ha. I see what you did there.

Ladyboy is headed up by Fran Leaper and Mitch Townrow who hails from the halls of Longrain. They’re now well established on the Bridge Rd scene and there’s often a wait for a table on a busy Friday/Saturday/Sunday…any day night. But don’t let that stop you. There’s an uber awesome courtyard out the back and a bar to lure you into those cocktails. A range of nibbles are available out the back too. So you can just have a party out the back until your tables ready to continue the festivities!

Back to our recent evening! Our buddies have decided to leave us to go gallivanting around Europe, to cycle, eat, and cycle some more (@aus_velo….check them out and live vicariously through them with me!) So we of course decided to go eat all the food at Ladyboy before they depart.

Banquet locked in. At $45/pp still not convinced it’s the best value for money, but I’d probably pay top dollar for that pork hock (it’s coming) so no complaints here. Yes, I do usually like to choose what’s coming. But I trusted the waiter. And I was tired from sitting at a desk all day and wanted someone else to make the decisions whilst I sipped Prosecco. Is that ok!? Ah…breathe, JP. Think you need some pork hock to calm you down. (It’s coming).

So the conversation rolled from upcoming holidays to house hunting (ah we are totes growed up now) to random tangents of ridiculous topics that make no sense to anyone else (not so growed up).

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fish cakes + crispy thai basil + sweet chilli

First up was a dish we hadn’t tried before, being the fish cakes with crispy thai basil and sweet chili. The cakes had a great consistency but the sweet chili was (shock) a little too sweet for me. Enjoyed by the rest of the group though so that’s always a good thing. I prob would have preferred a bit more heat in there, but I did notice most of their dishes pull back on the hot stuff.

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crispy pork hock + black vinegar caramel + fried shallots

Feast your eyes on my main man. (I say that a lot) The crispy pork hock (drool) with black vinegar caramel and fried shallots. We requested this be part of the banquet so ended up with two bowls of it instead of a different dish (not complaining. I repeat, not complaining. At all). When I first had this dish, I thought it might be too sweet for me but the rich meat balances the caramel and you have a match made in freakin heaven. Ah I could live on this. Ok, I probably couldn’t, but I assure you, one day, I will try.

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son in law egg + sweet fish + crispy shallots

Son in law eggs were next up. I was pleasantly surprised as I didn’t enjoy them on our previous visit but today they were cooked well and were damn tasty. Still not my favourite thing in the whole wide world, but still enjoyable. EP isn’t an egg fan so splitting an egg three ways was pretty entertaining. Yes we split the spare egg 3 ways. I told you we all have portion control issues.

The vino choice of the evening was a super noice blend and complimented the food really well. EP and I have a love for red wine and good food. Hence why we became friends. Ok I’m sure there were other reasons too, but the food and wine is the gel of our friendship. She also likes donuts and bacon. So we are SUPER good friends.

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All the food. Kudos to the char-grilled roti + satay sauce

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yellow curry + beef + snake beans + baby corn

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stir fried asian greens + oyster sauce

More dishes rolled out and soon came a (future) favourite of mine. The yellow curry was packed with flavour and delicious falling-apart beef. Once again, would have loved a bit of heat in there, but hey, that’s not a yellow curry so that was a-o-k. Rich sauce. Good vegies. Yum yum yum. That’s super technical gastronomy language there. Yum with a capital Y.

Just thought about that old Sesame street skit where there was a letter Y in a western showdown saying “You wanna know whhhyyy (Y. get it)…..” Ha. Brilliant. Sorry. Surprise surprise. Distracted.

Can never go wrong with satay and a good peanut-y peanut sauce and the stir-fried Asian greens are always a winner for me.

As had occurred on past visits, the service was great. Friendly but not overbearing and although they were busy, there was no rushing to get us out (*Cough* Lupino….). Bravo, Ladies and Boys.

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Coconut sorbet

EP’s top priority, aside from MP, is ice-cream. She. Loves. Ice-cream. As do most people, I hear you say. But her love for the frozen goodness goes beyond that of a regular human. She loves ice-cream almost as much as I love bacon. That’s a lot of love. So when she says the coconut sorbet at Ladyboy is good. It’s freakin spectacular.

And it is.

Super refreshing coconut sorbet is the perfect way to wrap up the banquet at Ladyboy. And at $3 a pop, you could probably just order 10 of them and have that for dinner! But then you’d miss out on the pork hock, so maybe don’t do that.

Another super enjoyable evening at Ladyboy with the crew. Super sad we couldn’t convince the buds that Europe isn’t that great (lie) and that they should stay in Melbs with us…but we still had a great night with finger-licking good food and a buzzing atmosphere.

I like you, Ladyboy. 8.5/10

(11/10 for the pork hock)

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The Day JP turned to JT.

Wifey. Wife. Lady of the house. Went from a Fiancé Beyoncé to a ….hmm no cool things rhyme with wife. JP has turned into a JT. Oh yes, it’s exciting. Justin Timberlake, move over my friend, there’s a new JT in town. And she can eat more than you. Mhhhhm. *Finger snap*

So, yes. If you follow me on insty (shameless plug @jpandmelbs_ ) you would have noticed my rambles about the build up to wedding…the wedding…and post wedding blues. However, post wedding blues also meant an increase in donut allowance. Ok let’s be honest, there was no wedding diet. I can’t diet. I was born with the ability to want food at all times. Even after eating a double cheese whopper thingy from Grand Trailer Park. Watch me.

Where were we? Ah yes, the wedding of the century. Obviously the food would be the most important part of my big day, oh yes, and husband/joining two people together for the rest of their lives was up there too, I spose.

Reception venues are popping up everywhere and we knew we weren’t the ‘reception centre’ type of people so the idea of an open restaurant type space was very appealing. Enter my love, Circa. This incredible restaurant, a part of the Prince Hotel, has long been a favourite of mine because of its damn incredible food, the impeccable service and the way they can even make bread look awesome. Sorry bread, I know you’re awesome any old way. Mmm cheese toasties. Focus JP..ah JT. Ah I’m getting confused.

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Amazing flower work by the awesome Zaraflower.

Above Circa, is the Deck. The Prince’s brilliant open event space, complete with a pool if you wanna do laps mid wedding. Just in case you thought we did, we didn’t. But it is a great space to put fancy floating candles and flowers. So pretty. I admittedly fell in love with the space when we first visited. It was really exactly what we were after with it’s minimal, modern detail and of course, space for an epic dance floor outside on the deck itself.

Side note: If you are in fact looking to have your wedding at The Deck. Hire a dance floor for outside under the marquee. Do it. Amazing space, but the additional cost of a floor is well worth it. Gives the guests, and yourselves of course, a big space to boogie the night away without the ladies worrying about their heels getting caught and sending them flying. Or maybe that’s the single-girl-at-the-wedding-tactic…’accidentally’ fall over into a handsome gent. Aha I’m onto you ladies.

Back to the important stuff. The food. The menu choices with Circa are fantastic and I am still in awe of how they made each dish look so immaculate for 130 people. All brought out at the same time, all perfect temperature. All. So. Tasty. And yes, as you can probably assume, I was definitely a bride who ate all the food.

Our ceremony was at the beautiful St Peter & St Paul Catholic Church in South Melbourne. Lovely Fr Dean was so patient with the emotional yo yo of a bride that was me. The high ceiling blue stone church was so fantastic. Especially because we somehow scored a ridiculous good weather day (in late April) and had stunning photos taken out the front of the building with our awesome Rolls. Mhm. We were playaaas that day. Ok not really because we had just got married in a Catholic Church and were in the car from South Melbourne to St Kilda (about 5 mins). But hey, we can pretend.

Photos were snapped by my new best friend, Sarah Churcher. An absolute whiz behind the camera and she also kinda doubled as our wedding planner which was soo appreciated. Any photo any occasion. Please get in contact with her. Can’t recommend her enough. All supplier deets for our big day are at the bottom of this post, so get on it!

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17 photos. stitched together. she is THAT good. it’s like the tree is coming at you. ooooh

My serious wedding advice for today. Listen. There were sunsets, there were beautiful big trees, there were overpasses, there were a ridiculous amount of laughs and we enjoyed every minute of it, so make sure you have a photographer that ‘gets you’.

After the snappings, the bridal party headed to our incredible suite at the Prince to have a celebratory champagne, some canapés, because the madness ensued at the reception. Ok, I admit it, I only wanted it so I could get some canapés. You would understand if you were there. They were sooo goooood.

Canapés. First up. That first morsel for guests to think, “yeh JP chose right….and husband listened”. First choice was the Coffin Bay Oysters with a shiso vinaigrette. Because they’re oysters. No more explanation needed. Our little balls of happiness also definitely had to be involved, so the next choice was zucchini and mozzarella arancini with black olive mayonnaise.

You know it must have been a damn good arancini ball when you’re the bride and you remember it tasted freakin’ awesome. So gooey with the cheese and the black olive mayonnaise, ahhh I could have eaten a litre of it. But I was in the wedding dress so I had to act like a lady. kinda. The final canapé that was available was a deliciously tender BBQ Wagyu beef w charred cucumber + soy. Once again, needs no explanation. Amazing canapés all around and I am still getting compliments on how much all the friends and fam enjoyed the food. So that’s always a good sign!

Our night was truly one we will never forget and easily the best night of our lives. Surrounded by our nearest and dearest, we were blessed with the greatest bridal party and the night was complete with hilarious, wonderful, tear-jerking speeches from all involved. Ah I’m sitting here getting emotional. Let’s do it all again!

The night was capped off with some freakin’ delicious food and so let’s look at the pretty pictures that my (now) cousin Chlo Chlo snapped for me on the night because she is an amazing ladae who knew I’d want photos!

Husband and I both chose an entrée and both chose a main…no buts! I really did let him choose some food! What a nice wife I am.

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JT Choice – Queensland Spanner Crab w. avocado + yuzu

IMG_5091Husband Choice – Smoked quail w vanilla, parsnip + cherries

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Husband Choice – Salt grass lamb loin w. fennel puree, black olive + salt bush

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JT Choice – Snapper w Jerusalem artichokes, wild mushrooms + cime di rapa

The entrees and mains all looked fantastic when they were brought out and Husband I were lucky enough to somehow score 3 plates between us. Winning. Well of course that day we were winning at life (nawww)

We were smitten with these dishes (ha you thought I was going to say smitten with eachother weren’t you, nawww) when we tried them at the tasting and they were just as good when multiplied 70 odd times each. Ashley Hicks, chef man, take a bow.

Our deliciousness continued even with the sides of (drool time) roast potatoes w confit garlic & sea salt and BBQ brocollini w salted ricotta & espellette. I had a bowl of potatoes in front of me for the majority of the evening and I can safely say, I ate my fair share. Plus my new husbands share. But hey, what’s his is mine now. That includes the potatoes. And the bacon. Of course.

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Now for a wedding, it’s always the dessert that gets the tongues wagging in my opinion. To complement the dishes we had had for entrée and main, we decided on a caramelised apple w. fennel, pain d’epice + pollen.  It was to die for. So much apple-goodness and the flavours were just amazing. One of the best desserts I’ve had.

We of course, being a celebration of this style, had to have cake. But being me, I thought, we can’t just have cake. I wanted something else that would cause a ca-razy sugar high amongst the guess. Enter Mr Zumbo. Masterchef ex contestants are quivering in their boots, the crowd goes wild, enter, croquembouche.

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Sound the angels.

I remember walking into The Deck to make our entrance (yay us!) and the croquembouche was just shining like a beacon. I knew that we would meet later in the night. I was lucky enough to steal the very top choux/profiterole/ball of custard goodness from that croquembouche later but poor husband didn’t get one! I made sure to tell him numerous times how good they were. As did most of the guests. Mmmmmmmhm.

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Now I wasn’t going to stop at a croquembouche. I wanted a cake. And a brilliant, tasty, rich one at that. So I called the best, most amazing cake maker/decorator/goddess I know, Baked by Sunshine. Ellie was one of the easiest people to work with throughout the process and nothing was too much trouble. Even when we requested two little penguins on top of our deliciousness. The penguins are a long story. But they’re also damn cute! They are currently residing in our freezer. Coz that’s where penguins belong.

This creation was three tiers of brilliantly rich flourless chocolate mud cake with layers of buttercream and milk chocolate ganache. I’m salivating even writing about it. We were lucky enough to get awesome cupcake-version tasters leading up to the big day and they were perfection as well. Can’t recommend her enough. Between Baked by Sunshine and Sarah Churcher photography, we had a super wedding combo.

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Ellie was also in charge of making our brilliant bonbonniere for our guests. Delicious A&J cookies with yummy yummy icing with the finest detail on the letters. Still in awe of how she made so many so perfectly. Guests were absolutely raving about these cookies. I’m going to put it out there and say they were the favourite food of the night. Bravo Sunshine, bravo!

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So that’s it, folks. A snap shot of the greatest day of the 27 years I’ve been on this fine planet. What a day. The service we received from all involved was fantastic and we can’t thank them enough. Thanks also to husband for wanting to marry me, poor guy. Full marks plus a gazillion for our big day. woop woop!

I’m off to find some cake.

Lurrrve, the Mrs.

Sarah Churcher Photography – http://www.sarahchurcher.com

Baked by Sunshine – http://cakesdecor.com/BakedbySunshine

Zaraflower – http://www.zaraflower.tumblr.com

Circa, The Prince – http://www.circa.com.au

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Life of Mars. Uninhabitable.

Lots of vowels in uninhabitable. Not alot of people (ha) but many, many vowels. Getting distracted. Focus, JP. You need to help the public here. Now. I hate complaining about any food. Or any cafe. Or anything to do with food, really. Yes, it’s a first world problem, but if you’re going to be a good cafe in Melbourne, especially on Glenferrie Rd with so much competition, you gotta be good. And Life on Mars…you ain’t.

I used to be a Kew resident and would frequent Life on Mars most weekends. I loved the lively atmosphere, the creative menu and the ever friendly staff. Take the opposite of all that, and that’s what I got on a recent visit to the ‘new’ Life on Mars. I’m not sure when they changed hands, but they are definitely poorer for it. Reow, indeed. Yes, I’m gonna be bitchy coz I get c-ranky when I get a bad b-rekky. Especially when it’s accompanied by bad service.

I really should have taken the hint when I visited at 9am on a weekday and there was only two other patrons. I mean, I was on Glenferrie road and it was the ‘before’ version of Life on Mars, then it would have been buzzing.

There were two staff members just chilling behind the bench, so I thought, I’ll just sit down and they’ll come over eventually.

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*Twiddling thumbs*

So as you can see from my very artistic shot above, they didn’t come. They saw me, they chatted. They ate their breakfast. Yep. They ate their breakfast, and I waited. and waited. A couple of people came in and got take away coffees. I made that awkward eye contact with the waitress. Still nothing. I would have sat there and seen how long it took one of them to approach, but my tummy was growling like my little Puggle so I got up and wandered over and asked for a menu. She didn’t seem to care that I’d done that, so hey, maybe that’s their style. We stand here and eat and you manage without us. Cool. New concept….

After a while, she had finished picking at her breakfast and came over to see if I wanted a coffee. Yes. Yes I did. I ordered a Long black, and after repeating it a few times after her asking me if I wanted a “Long black latte” (?), I got my cawfee. Hooray! It oddly came with a mint sugar lolly. But hey, I’ll let that slide. Everyone has their little quirks, and maybe that was theirs.

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Artistic coffee shot. I took a million. I had time.

To be honest, the menu really wasn’t exciting and nothing jumped out at me. I was used to their previous offerings of ten types of mushrooms and various fritters and funky smoothies etc. Nope. I saw baked beans and chorizo with poached eggies so went with that. It was hearty. I’d been waiting a long time already. I needed a good feed.

I waited. And waited. I was thiiiis close to cancelling the order. With noone else left in the cafe aside from me, I knew it wasn’t looking good. And my bad food radar was buzzing. Yep it happens. Not often in wonderful Melbourne, but it happens.

After taking a few more million snaps of my coffee cup and realising they probably had Coles cinnamon donuts in their front cabinet, my food came to the table.

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Got bread?

Yes it definitely looked hearty. A massive white bowl full of four bean mix, passata and i’ll admit some tasty chorizo. Then there was two types of bread. The cheese baguette shattered when I tried to break it in half, so that was given a little home on the side of the plate. The thick white bread was tasty but definitely didn’t need such a big serve. The dish was super bland, the eggs were over-poached (is that a thing?) and I left half of it behind. I. left. half. of. it. behind. That never happens to me. Especially when I’ve been waiting an hour since I arrived. And that hour note is important. Because, as a side note, I went back to my little Golf after my long, underwhelming breakfast and found a lovely little parking ticket on my car. What a way to cap off my morning. Cheers, mr parking inspector. I’d recommend you, and only you, visit Life on Mars for breakfast.

Overall. Poor form, Life on Mars. Yes that was ‘JP the nasty’, but when you’re paying top dollar for a breakfast, service, of any kind is often appreciated. I could have gone to Hawthorn Common. Hawthorn ‘amazing everything’ Common. Or Crabapple ‘give me all the treaties’ Kitchen. But nope. I didn’t. I went to Life on Mars. And will never go again.

I don’t wanna be mean. Pick up yo’ game, Mars. No score required.

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MagazineMan. Aka. Paperboy.

Once again, another shockingly bad title, JP.

P-boy. Ma boy. My main man. Don’t tell my husband.

If you follow me on Instagram, (shameless plug to @Jpandmelbs_) you would have probably noticed I frequent Paperboy kitchen. A lot. I often think I might as well move in. save me walking to and from every other day. They’ve featured on ze blog once before in passing but I thought they deserved their very own post. Yes, they should feel oh so special.

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My home away from home is tucked into the up and coming foodie haven of Little Lonsdale street. Right near the café that I just can’t understand the hype over, Hardware Societe. Skip the line and head to Paperboy. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Paperboy have definitely cemented themselves as a go to lunch destination for those of us in the lower end of the city. But hey, even if you work in the Paris end of Collins Street or even the backstreets of the Dandenongs, you should still make the trip one day to get some bowlin’/rollin’ goodness at Paperboy Kitchen.

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Anyone who visits me during the week knows that there will be a visit to Pboy involved. And I will get a Spicy Pork bowl with a tempura egg if I’m feelin’ fancy. I swear these guys can do no wrong. Ever since my first visit, they’ve known what to do and stuck to their strengths. None of this skimping on sizes or sauces. They know what the people want and they give it to the people.

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Paperboy is also a haven for us Sriracha lovers. There’s those shining beacons of heaven on all tables and you can sriracha it up until your heart is content. They’ve also got the hot stuff (see above. it’s hot) available for those hard core kids. The bowls are brilliant as they come, but if you want to add that new frontier, add that sriracha. You know you want to. I just like saying it srrriracha. If you say it with an accent, you could almost pretend you’re not at work and on holidays. Kind of. Ok not really. Srrriracha.

There are options for all tastes, and yes, all the bowls (aside from the panko fish) are gluten free. So rejoice, glutards, rejoice. As mentioned, my personal fave is the Spicy Pork however I have tried them all and I can assure you, they’re all freakin’ amazeballs. Geez, haven’t said that in a while. Maybe it’ll make a comeback. Let’s hope not. There’s also the roll option for those preferring the hands as a serving tool of choice. Crispy banh mi ready for your tastebuds. You salivating yet?

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For those who need that extra tasty treat to ensure you enter complete food coma once back in the office, they’ve also got some fine sweet potato chippies, and (Drumroll) crispy, fried, chicken ribs. I’m just going to let you stare at that shot for a while while I run to Paperboy and order some. These bad boys are a whopper of a serving for the price and come with that schweet sriracha mayo goodness. I tackled a Spicy pork bowl and these fellas a couple of weeks back and I warn you, don’t try this at home. I was in epic food coma that arvo. But hey, I’ll probably do exactly the same thing on my next visit.

Takeaway is also an option for the whole menu so if you want to go sit in the sunshine, when the sun decides to shine, go grab your bowl/roll and lay in the grass of flagstaff gardens and laugh at the weird backpackers who feel they need to sunbake in swimmers at every opportunity.

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But wait. There’s more. Yes I have expressed my praise for the boy of paper, and as my parting words, I say. Leave room for that chili popcorn. It’ll rock your socks off. If I could somehow order a subscription to Paperboy popcorn I would. Maybe there’s a new venture for you guys.

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Paperboy kitchen. Go eat some ribs. And some rolls and then roll back to the office. Awful pun, JP. Just awful. I don’t even know if that would be considered a pun it was so bad.

Ignore my rambles. Get to Paperboy. Before I eat it all.

Full marks to the P-man.

www.paperboy.com.au 

(insert thumbs up emoji here)

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Dancing high on no.35.

Do do do do do do, love is in the airrrrr…..ah I still can’t get it out of my head. I ventured to see Baz Lurhmann’s Strictly Ballroom last weekend and freakin’ loved it. I must admit, I didn’t really know what to expect and it blew those unknown expectations out of the water. Oh Baz, those costumes, that set, those songs, bravo. What a production.

 

So, you probably didn’t come here to hear my review of that now, did you? Of course after such strenuous activities as theatre visits, one must be parched and hungry and in need of a good feed. That’s where we find the Sofitel’s No.35 comes into the picture.

 

Situated on level 35 of the Sofitel (wow. The name does not give that away), this beautifully appointed restaurant has always been a favourite of mine. Spectacular views of my beloved city, delicious food and a fantastic array of wines and champagnes. What more could you want? Service. Yes. And they have that in spades. I never really understood that expression. So I’m going to say they have that in diamonds as I like diamonds better. (diaaaamonds are a girl’s best friend. Oh dear JP, please stop singing.)

 

I ventured to floor no.35 with my new mother-in-law, and two sisters-in-law, one of whom I now share the same name with. Yep. First and last name. Oh yes, we know there are many jokes to be had. And yes we will make it very difficult for everyone involved. Fun times ahead.

 

We were still dancing around the lift when we arrived at the Sofitel after our musical extravaganza and stopped at the lovely Atrium bar for a pre dinner champagne and charcuterie plate. This serve was fantastic and exactly what we needed. Several different salumi and pepperoni accompanied by cornichons and pickled onions. Mhm. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself, but thought I should probably share it with my new 2nd family.

 

We soon moved into No.35, greeted by delightful staff, and these lovely individuals were incredibly accommodating throughout the evening. Kudos to you, Sofitel.

 

Everyone was keen for a main/dessert combo after our charcuterie plate but after seeing the entrees, I knew I needed to go the full monty…of food, people…of food. For entree, after umming and ahhing I went with the char-grilled octopus with kimchi pineapple , miso mayonnaise, dried chorizo and lemon pudding. Yes, it sounded weird so I thought, why not!

 

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I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine, and he shall be my squishy. (jellyfish/octopus – same thing)

 

I am definitely a hater of pineapple on a pizza and usually warm pineapple in general (gives me shivers urgh) but this was an exception to the rule. Just like the girls have exceptions in ‘he’s just not that into you’…you know you’ve seen it, don’t lie. The kimchi pineapple added a great sweetness to the octopus and the different textures mixed so well. I know that sounded wanky but it’s true. It was a damn good dish. I heart seafood and this was some meaty, delicious octopus.

The conversation was flowing just as the wine was and we were having a fantastic night. I had convinced JT to try something different for main and so I took my own advice and went with pork, which I wouldn’t usually order.

 

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Quack-ilicious

JT’s seared duck came with Beetroot quinoa, confit duck, mandarin, pickled baby turnips and a plum wine glaze. The duck was cooked so well and just looked so gooood. JT did mention the rest of the flavours were overpowered a little by the very beety beetroot risotto but she still enjoyed it.

 

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This got snapp’d up. (haha brilliant, JP, brilliant)

The foodblogger’s nightmare…when two people order the same dish so you can’t take two different photos. Devastating. But this dish was worth it. The snapper looked incredible and I had major food envy. Snapper is definitely one of my favourites and the combination of the fish with fregola, chimichurri, lime, eggplant caviar, roasted onion pearls and herb mayonnaise was ridiculously good. There were two very clean plates at the end of the meal.

 

Due to my inability to hold myself back from food, I unfortunately don’t have a photo of my delicious choice. But I can assure you it was sen-freakin-sational. This was definitely a dish I wouldn’t usually go for, especially when snapper, duck and dry aged ribeye are the other options. My main was confit pork scotch fillet with baby spinach, master stock broth, Diamond Bay clams, chilli and ginger. I could have had litres of the master stock broth. The depth of flavour in it was delicious and I just sat there wondering just how do they do it?!

 

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Pee with a view.

Side note. Make sure you drink enough water to need to go the bathroom whilst at the no.35. The female bathrooms provide the greatest view out over the city towards gods country, aka the ‘G. On this particular evening, my might Swannies were taking on the Hawks and I think I went to the bathroom about 15 times to try and see what was going on! (Yes my boys won. Because we are awesome. Yep. Awesome.)

Everyone was very happy and very content but we were four females having dinner, so dessert was obviously a necessity. Did I want cheese, or chocolate, or sour or schweet. I could have had one of each of the desserts, ok I could have had 2 or 3 of each of the desserts. You’ll understand when you see the menu.

 

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All fluffy like a cloud. An apple cloud.

 

The apple cloud sounding sooo tempting. Green apple sorbet, blueberries, basil tuile, shortbread crumble. Made into about 4534987 different textures. A party for your mouth. JT thought it was great but wasn’t a big fan of what we ended up calling the yoghurt foam. Not too sure what it was to be honest. It was refreshing and cleansed the palette but there was probably too much of it compared to the rest of the textures on the dish.

 

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All the citrus goodness.

Now this was definitely my second choice. And probably what I should have ordered. Look at the prettiness. Ain’t it lovely. Lemon fizzy meringue, lime curd, blood orange gel, orange sherbet and lemon parfait. These are a few of my favourite things (do do do do do do). This looked and tasted scrumptious and the fresh raspberries were fantastic. Tarty, sour, creamy. Horrible description JP. But there are no words. Definitely the pick of the desserts.

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Wibble wobble wibble wobble.

ET (phone home) was umming and ahhing, just like a true female, and decided on the creme caramel with vanilla soaked raisins and orange cream. She was a tad hesitant as she wasn’t sure if the orange cream would be too overpowering, but I think she liked the cream better than the creme caramel in the end! Great texture in the creme caramel and she demolished it. Yes for those who know ET, she is now EI and has been for a while, but ET let me do the ET joke. And let’s face it, I’m running out of good material here.

I do apologise for the poor quality photos. These were a combination of iPhone photography and very low light. That romantic, intimate ambience is lovely, but not so great for ze photo.

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Chocolate, on chocolate, on pumpkin on avo.

I am an awful decision maker. Especially with menus. Husband knows that I need a solid hour to peruse a menu before deciding on a dish. Hence why I need to study a menu hours before entering a restaurant. I made the fatal error of not looking at the menu of no.35 prior to our visit and so had to make a quick decision. The idea of pumpkin icecream, avocado and multiple textures of chocolate made me uber curious so I had to go with that. After thought – probably too rich for what I felt like, but I still finished it off. Of course.

Chocolate, pumpkin ice cream, Sweet avocado, chocolate cake and torn raspberry. Bizarre combination but it worked so well. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the chocolate cake. I think the chefs had gone for the ‘dehydrated’ cake or something to that effect which still just tastes like stale cake to moi. Just make a good chocolate cake. That’s what the people want!

The chocolate ribbon down the middle of the dish was an incredibly rich fudge that was just so good and that pumpkin icecream. Oh lordy, gimme gimme gimme. Definitely a new favourite.

 

Overall a fantastic night and, as I mentioned, such attentive service without being overbearing. Although a couple of the dishes weren’t completely to our liking, it was brilliant produce with impressive techniques and we will definitely be back. That buffet breakfast is calling my name.

 

no.35. 8.5/10. Peace out. Jpizzle.

 

 

 

No35 on Urbanspoon

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Zomato + Locanda

I love tomatoes. I’ll eat them all day err’ day. So when a company that sounds like Tomato asked me to head along to Locanda for a bit of a ‘hey, how are you’ shindig, I of course accepted. So you don’t think I went to dinner with some form of super salad, I’ll clarify. Zomato are the new creative kids on the Urbanspoon block. Tackling the foodie site and giving us more info about our favourite topic, eating! Check out Urbanspoon and Zomato on the Google machine for more info.

The kids of Zomato around the world are catching up and calling it #zomatomeetup. This one was here in little ol’ Melbs at Exhibition St’s Locanda. With an option of bar, restaurant or private dining, these guys have the trifecta, and to be honest, the food was a lot more tasty than I was expecting. I’m one of those people who are always a bit skeptical about the restaurants connected to hotels….except for no.28…and Melba….ok so maybe there’s a few that have changed my mind.

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Let’s cut to the good stuff. The food. But! First. The people! Must say, a damn cracking good group were in attendance at this fine meetup. Great team working for Zomato as well as some lovely bloggers where you of course have to do the awkward “Yes that’s your actual name, but what’s your blog name?” and then you realise that you are pretty much besties on Insty. Good times.

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I’m on the 3 bean diet.

The Locanda staff greeted us with a tray of espresso martinis. My usual choice for a ‘dessert’ drink, and not pre-dinner, but hey, it was goooood.

The conversations were flowing about all of our first world issues, mostly revolving around food (sur-prise sur-prise), and we were soon shown to the adjoining room, with a beaaautiful marble table covered in food.

There was oysters, salt and pepper squid, crostini, poached duck and freakin amazing spicy pepperoni and prosciutto. Yes to everything, please.

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My plate was piled high and my portion control issues were in over drive. Pretty sure I had half the oysters…and the duck….and post of the plate of that prosciutto. I know, i’m a sucker for anything close to bacon. Fantastic spread by Locanda.

We were all having a brilliant time over Mumm Champagne and then I realised, hooray they’re all like me! The chefs walked through with a little bebeh roast pig and two huge racks of beef and the room went silent. Husband always says I stare at food instead of listening to the conversation at the table, and here were a table of people just. like. me. Yay. Friends.

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Hey, Wilbur.

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Watching the chef carve these babies was like watching Picasso or Michelangelo. Eyes wide. Cameras poised. We were ready to eat. Again. Fantastic. Crispy pork crackling to top it off? Yes. Yes. And yes again.

When scrolling through my photos, I must have had a brain fart when I was distracted by the pig and didn’t get a snap of my other favourite dish of the night. Fries. Truffle. Parmesan. Truffle Fries. *The crowd goes wild!*

I had seconds. And thirds. ok and a few more fries. Because they were truffle fries. Noone leaves truffle fries behind.

The Cab Sav was now flowing and this merry bunch was having a brilliant night. Especially now we were all chock full of meat and truffle goodness. No better way to be on a cold Melbourne night.

But of course it was soon time for that stomach to kick in. Dessert time.

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Yes I had both cheese and sweets. Don’t question it. Just go with it. Amazing chewy pistachio macaron. And the blue vein cheese. Ohhh the cheese.

Overall a great night out with a great crowd, definitely check out @edgeofmyplate and @olivesundays on Insty and in the blogosphere.

Locanda, good times.

8/10

Locanda Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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