Show & Tell at Shantell.

Shantell….kinda sounds like Show and Tell, in like ‘ermagherd’ speak. Get it? Sha-n-tell. Show n’ tell. Show and tell. HA brilliant JP, brilliant.

So, to the food. I have already instagrammed a ridiculous amount of photos from our delicious meal at Shantell winery, but thought I’d tell you a bit about it anyway. Instagram is @jpandmelbs_ in case you were wondering. Shameless plug. I know.

After a 12.5 hour engagement party the day/night before, yep we like to party, we like, we like to party…the Vengabus is comin’, and everybody’s jumpin…you know you were thinking it! Anyhoo, sorry Vengaboys, this ain’t about you.

SO, as I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by my ability to become distracted by everything, after fiancé and I had our second engagement party, we were keen for a good meal, so decided to venture to Dixons Creek with our parentals to sample their fare. And what a fare it was.

My new buddies Shan and Turid, own the winery and have managed the winery since it opened in 1987. Shan is like superman, essentially. Doctor by week, Winemaker by weekend. Crazy man. But he does it oh so well. Shantell Winery produces some fantastic wines from Semillon through to Cab Savs. After sampling them all (of course), I’d have to say I was a fan of the Semillon and the Pinot Noir, although the Shiraz deserves a mention too. Yes I just named half the wines…shh..

The Shantell chef, Philip Oliver, is a freakin’ miracle worker. From my spying efforts, I am pretty sure he was almost the only one in the kitchen, and as you can see below each dish looked incredible and the taste, well, wow.

Even the seating area of the restaurant is brilliant. So full of natural light with fantastic views of the vineyard. Great space. I don’t know how people haven’t raved about Shantell already as it deserves some epic cheers. You also get a sense of intimacy, oooooh, as the place only seats about 30-40 people. That’s a guess. I was hopeless at maths so you better go check it out for yourself to see if I’m right.

Just saw Urbanspoon only has Shantell sitting at 76%. Please do not go by this rating. Go by mine! Gah delicious. Avoid the crowds at the bigger places, such as those that rhyme with Mandon and head down to Shantell.

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Yes peas.

Ok so finally, I will get to the food after all my ramblings. We were given a small amuse bouche of pea soup to start and that set the day off oh so well. It was delicious. Everyone was silent. Simple pea soup with a foam consistency with a few chives on top. Mhm.

As my parents have portion control issues too, we of course had to get some share plates prior to making the big main meal decisions. Between the 6 of us we shared a Seafood share plate and an Antipasti share plate of sorts. Perfect start. I probably could have demolished both plates by myself, but I am not a regular human when it comes to eating.

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Shantell Grazing Plate for 2…or 1 if its me.

This ‘grazing plate’ was once again faultless. Lots of nerdy foodie words coming at you today, it was just too good and I’m salivating writing this blog! There was cured beef, melt in ze mouth trout, marinated mushies, smoked chicken….the list goes on. Spec-freakin-tacular. Even the bread looked good….

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Fantastic fresh bread, and still don’t know what the crazy crackers were!

The bread was fresh baked and oh so tasty. Most of it was gone before the share plates at the table. Bit of that fresh bread with the brie and I was in food heaven. We sat there with the brown bark-like crackers for ages trying to pick was it was but still don’t know and completely forgot to ask as I was in awe of all the other food on the table. Bad blogger, bad blogger.

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Seafood Share plate…yep that’s tempura oysters.

Although it didn’t look as impressive as the grazing plate, the quality of the produce on this plate was amazing. As the ‘blogger’ I am also entitled to try more than everyone else in order to ‘capture the essence of the place properly’….yes it is a fantastic excuse to eat the last of everything. You should try it. Blogging. A perfect way to gain a truckload of weight. Should be our slogan.

The crab mousse was epic, so full of flavour, tempura oysters were fab, and even the herb mayonnaise packed a punch. Yep totally ate some of that by itself.

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Standard glass shot

The conversation was brilliant of course and was accompanied by some fantastic Semillon and then Pinot Noir. Most of the chatter was about the various engagement attendees, who was with who, getting excited about awesome presents (marble cheese board say wahhhh) and of course who ate the most cake. Yep I think I came 2nd. But do leftovers the next day count?

Mains soon arrived and it was just a sea of “oooh” and “yuuuum” as the dishes came out. So many benefits of having 6 people at lunch. Main one of course being the potential for 6 different meals aka lots of photos.

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Fiancé’s other love, Lamb.

 

First up was fiancé Beyoncé and his beloved lamb. Although he perused the menu for a while, the lamb was where his heart was. Hopefully I have a bit of that heart, considering I’m his fiancé….but I do believe most of it belongs to lamb. And our Puggle.

The Lamb Baron was served with a bean medley, diced potatoes, pea puree, confit garlic (A LOT of confit garlic) and rosemary jus. The standard “So yum” was received so that means it was delicious. And it only lasted about 5 minutes which also confirms the “so yum” standard. Mother dearest also chose the lamb and she wasn’t disappointed! Being a glutard, fine, a coeliac, she was a tad nervous about the choices initially, but with fantastic produce being served, the only dishes she couldn’t have was the pasta. Shows quality. Bravo Shantell. Again.

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How do you like them scallops?

 

Poppa always manages to choose the dish that gets the eyes staring and this was no exception. The dill linguine with scallops, pippis, urchin, and a Semillon emulsion. Would you like some linguine with that seafood? And mark my words, I don’t mean that in a bad way!

How many times have you ordered the seafood pasta and had a couple of chunks of white fish and that’s it? This gives new meaning to the term ‘seafood linguine’. Those scallops were huge. I mean wow. The smell of the delicious fresh seafood was so incredible. I had to turn away otherwise I was going to eat it straight off his plate. Pasta was al dente to boot. No complaints down that end of the table at all.

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Pork & Carrot Cake. It happened. It was goooood.

My future-mum-in-law, wow what a title, went out on a limb with this one and went with the Pork Loin that was accompanied by some pretty impressive dehydrated carrot cake, a kimchi croquette, caramelised pear, carrot and thyme puree and a grain mustard jus. So many flavours and it all went together like bacon with more bacon. She was very impressed. Wilbur was cooked perfectly as well. How that chef managed to get all our meals out hot, fresh and perfectly cooked is incredible with little to no help. Maybe there are kitchen elves. Yep that’s definitely it.

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Wagyu. Need I say more?

Although it definitely wasn’t presented as well as the other dishes, that meant nothing when that boeuf hit the table. Future-dad-in-law was onto a winner with this delicious wagyu rump with crispy-as shallots, bacon (BACON) potato and cheese gratin with a Shiraz Jus. It was gone in record time. A clear sign of a delicious dish.

Finally it was my dish. Hooray me!

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Confit Quail. I needed a flock of quails.

Of course it took me the longest to decide on which dish to choose. The Semolina Gnocchi sounded awesome as did the cured salmon with poached scampi but as I rarely choose it, I went with the confit quail and seared breast that was served with sautéed shitake mushies and a quail egg. Fantastic. I could just push the meat of the tiny bones. The shitake mushrooms were a great add in and gave that extra texture to the dish. I did my balancing skills oh so well and lifted the little egg onto the meat and then broke it which was delicious. I could have demolished the rest of the quail clan but, as we all know, I have major #portioncontrolissues, some may also say I have hashtag issues.

Everyone kept raving about how their dish was definitely the best and we were gobsmacked as to why, on a brilliant Sunday afternoon, the place wasn’t overflowing. Being one of the 2.5/1000000 places in Melbourne that you can make a reservation, I say book, and book quickly! Fantastic venue for the warmer months and there’s also a large fireplace to snuggle up next to with a glass of Cab Sav when Jack Frost visits us again. Which could be in the middle of January in Melbourne. Who knows what you’re thinking, Mother Nature.

I soon tuned out of the conversation as other tables were ordering desserts and my eyes were darting around to what everyone had chosen and what each dish looked like. Fiancé can attest to the fact that there is no point in trying to hold a conversation with me when meals are being served. I have the attention span of …something that has very little attention span when plates are arriving on tables.

As desserts were looking incredible, it would have been rude of us not to order them.

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Pecan Pie. With Bacon. Ice-cream. Bacon.

Dad was tossing up on whether to order this one based on the fact it had maple bacon ice-cream. This made me think, maybe I am somehow not related to my own father. Who would reject a dish that had bacon in it? This made me concerned. Until he ordered it. Then I knew he was definitely my dad. The Pecan Pie was served with Vanilla Mascarpone and Maple BACON ice-cream. Dad was in hog heaven and powered through the pie in record time. It smelt soo goood. Little bacon bits throughout the ice-cream to boot. Bravo. Again Shantell.

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Stop. Crumble Time. Do do do do do do.

Future-dad-in-law went with the Apple and Blackberry crumble which I do believe ended up being an apple and blueberry crumble….the blueberries gave it away. I was wondering whether one of them was my friend Blueb who rolled away from me at Rubiki a few weeks back. Check out that blog post if you are uber confused. The Dulce du Leche ice-cream was a great side too.

 

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Take a breath. In and out. Now embrace the Salted Caramel.

If 2013/2014 could be summed up in two words for dessert, I do believe it would be Salted Caramel. And what a marvellous couple of words it is. Fiancé and his mother dearest both chose this after I was raving about how good it looked on someone else’s table. See my food spying ability helps everybody.

This was Salted Caramel mousse, with chocolate gel encasing it. Like Ice Magic for grownups. If that wasn’t enough drool-worthy dessert, it also came with chocolate caramel popcorn and malted milk ice-cream. So many delicious words in there, I think I’ll let it speak for itself. Let’s just say they were very quiet, and rather protective of their dessert until the plates were wiped clean.

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Goats Curd. In dessert. Need I say more?

I was umming and ahhing for a longggg time over the dessert choice. They also have the option of a selection of the desserts, one option being a selection of ALL the desserts. I was tempted but this one kept jumping out at me and I am so glad it got my attention. This is definitely a dessert I’d never had the honour of demolishing prior and I will be searching for it on menus for years to come.

I present to you, the Goats Curd Parfait, with Yuzu Panna Cotta, with passionfruit curd and coriander soil. Want me to repeat? Goats Curd Parfait, with Yuzu Panna Cotta, with passionfruit curd and coriander soil. It was incredible. Like a fancy pants deconstructed cheesecake of amazingness. Both the Panna Cotta and the Parfait were to die for and I was scraping the plate by the end of it. Very rich and regular eaters should probably share it with their other half. But my other half and I eat like sumos so there was no chance of that happening!

Overall, a spectacular feast and I was even too full to visit the Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory on the way home. That’s saying something!

Lovely service, where nothing was a problem, coeliac accommodation is fantastic (top marks from my mother dearest) and what incredible food. Not only presented so well, but the flavour combination were off the chizang. Oh yes, that’s a word.

I kinda don’t want to tell you to go there, coz I don’t want to share Shantell. But hey, it’s ma job.

10/10.

Shantell Vineyard Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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FriYay.

I had to share my spectacular start to my Friday. As, with like a lot of things with me, it definitely did not go as planned.

I did NOT have a good start.

Well I kinda did. Any morning involving free stuff is a good day. Especially when that day is a Friday.

I was hungry coz I didn’t have yucky cereal. NB. Coles ditched my fave muesli and replaced it with their brand equivalent. Not cool Coles, not cool.

Trained into city for workies. Train ride was uneventful. No people watching stories unfortunately.

Got to city. Went to buy a coffee at Spriga. Yeahhh Spriga. Got to try their muesli square. Delicious muesli, in a square. Yum yum.

Then went into the building and they were giving out yoghurts and gave me 4! Yay.

Greek style with Blueberry. Not sure how much greek was in the greek style, but hey I liked it. NB. I did not eat 4 in one go.

I came into the office with my coffee and 4 yoghurts.

I put one of the yoghurts on my desk with my coffee and went to go upstairs to put the others in the fridge. (NB. I now have 3 yoghurts in my hand)

I went into the fire stairs to walk up to the kitchen and I realised I didn’t have my pass. Security pass. Required to get in and out of levels.

SO. I had to walk down the 8 flights to the ground floor with my 3 yoghurts, to get into the lift, go back to level 8 and wait for someone to let me in.

And of course, the only person I saw in the lift was our CEO. Lovely guy, but hey, not the person you want to see when your traipsing around your office with 3 yoghurts.

“You’re travelling light today!” …he exclaimed. (sounds like I am reading a kids book)

Oh, mr CEO. You don’t realise what I’ve been through to get these yoghurts into their cold fridgey home.

Caught the lift back up, retrieved the evil security pass, got to the kitchen, put the yoghurt in the fridge and they were finally happy. Yay for the yoghurts.

Now I have cold coffee and a warm yoghurt on my desk.

Oh what a day. And its only 8.05.

Bravo JP, bravo.

THE END.

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

Green Park on Urbanspoon

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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

Rubiki Eat & Drink on Urbanspoon

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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

Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

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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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